“Why have the name only of what you call the ‘man of the house’ on the nameplate, Mumma?”
Tono was a bright little girl. She was very curious about things. She asked her parents a lot of questions.
One day, Tono asked her mother: “Mumma, how come the nameplate at the entrance to our house has only Papa’s name? Other people also live in the house, not just Papa. So, shouldn’t their names be there too?”
Tono’s mother was taken aback. She did not know what to say. What Tono had pointed out was true. The nameplate mentioned only Tono’s father’s name: “Dr. E. Pearly”.
“Tono dear, it’s a custom that’s come down over the generations to have just the name of the man of the house on the nameplate,” Tono’s mother explained, after a while. “It would be very difficult to have everyone’s name included, don’t you think? There wouldn’t be enough space for that!”
“Mumma, I don’t agree with you,” Tono replied. “Papa isn’t the only person in the house. But if a stranger saw the nameplate, that’s what he might think!”
“Well…” mumbled Tono’s mother. “I don’t know what to say.”
“Why have the name only of what you call the ‘man of the house’ on the nameplate, Mumma?” Tono continued. “I mean, why not also the name of the woman of the house”that’s you”and of the children of the house? We also live in the house, don’t we? It’s our home, too, isn’t it?”
Tono’s mother kept silent.
When Tono’s father returned from work that evening, Tono’s mother spoke with him about her discussion with Tono earlier that day.
“Well, Tono’s right!” exclaimed Tono’s father when he learnt about Tono’s questions. “It’s not just my house”it belongs to all of us. So, really, we ought to change our nameplate to indicate that!”
Tono’s mother agreed with her husband. “It’s taken our clever little Tono to teach us this! We should have thought of it before!” she said.
The next day, when Tono was at school, her parents replaced the old nameplate with a brand new one. “THE PEARLY FAMILY” it announced, in big, bold letters.
And above the nameplate, Tono’s parents out up a framed photograph that included every member of the family: Tono, her sister Dino and her brother Babi, Tono’s mother and father, and the youngest of them all, Kyooti, the family’s little pet tortoise!
When Tono returned from school later that day she was, as you can imagine, in for a really wonderful surprise!