It was a pleasant evening when Prakriti went shopping with her mother.  Her birthday was almost here and she was excited about the new dress she would be getting from her mother. Today was Friday and the coming Wednesday was her birthday. Her mother had brought her along to buy things for the party. She had invited all her friends from elementary school, after all she was about to turn five! She would be a grown up.

Prakriti had been yearning for a new pink dress, which she had seen at a big store the month before. She was sure that she would look like a princess when she wore it. She wanted her mother to buy her that dress so that she could wear it during her birthday party and show it to all her friends. So after having finished shopping for the party, she dragged her mother towards the store with the purpose of buying that pink princess dress. Oh how excited she was!

She almost skipped into the store with her mother behind her and went straight for the pink dress. She pointed towards it and said “I want this dress, Ma” Her mother smiled. She went forward and took the dress off the rack and turned to look at its price tag.  Instantly, her mother’s smile dropped and she looked sad. She turned back to her daughter and said that she didn’t have enough money to get the dress Prakriti wanted.

With so much money already being spent on the party, it would be impossible for them to afford this expensive dress.

Prakriti was devastated. She didn’t know what to do. Now what would she tell her friends? She had already told them that this was the dress she would buy for her birthday and her friends had seemed so excited! Even though her mother bought her a dress, it was nowhere near as beautiful as the princess dress. Dejected she returned home quietly and didn’t say a word to her parents. Both her mother and father were heartbroken that they couldn’t make Prakriti’s wish come true, but couldn’t do anything to fix it.

Next morning Prakriti left for school. The entire way she thought of various things she could tell her friends, about why she couldn’t buy the dress, but she came up with nothing. That is the reason why, when her friends asked her about the dress she lied to them. She said that she would be buying it today and that she would most definitely wear it on her birthday. Her friends seemed to be satisfied with that information but Prakriti felt uneasy. She had lied for the first time in her life and she hated the feeling.  She decided that she would have to convince her parents to get that dress for her somehow. She just had two days.

For the next two days, Prakriti tried various ways to convince her parents to get her that dress, but they simply couldn’t. They didn’t have the extra money to. Finally Prakriti’s birthday arrived and she had no other choice than to wear the other dress during her birthday party.  When her friends arrived with gifts Prakriti was momentarily distracted from her sadness. But suddenly her best friend Ayesha said “Prakriti, where is your princess dress? You promised to wear it. Why aren’t you? “

At this Prakriti’s mother gave her a questioning look. Prakriti hung her head and replied “I don’t have it.” Her friends immediately started shooting more questions about the dress. It was then that her mother realized that Prakriti had lied to her friends. She gave her daughter a disapproving glare and left the room. Prakriti immediately excused herself and ran after her mother. She couldn’t bear to see her mother so disappointed.

She tugged on her mother’s arm. “I am Sorry Ma. I shouldn’t have lied to my friends. I should have told them the truth. I understand now. I do love this dress too!” she said pointing at the dress she was wearing.

Her mother dropped to her needs and hugged her daughter. She wiped Prakriti’s tears and said “I promise to get you that dress next month. But don’t ever lie again? Understood? You end up hurting yourself in the end.” Prakriti nodded her head vigorously and gave her mother a kiss on the check. She went back to her friends and told them the truth. Her friends didn’t seem very angry though. They hugged her and asked her to forget about the princess dress. They complimented her on the dress she was wearing and Prakriti glowed with happiness.

On her fifth birthday, Prakriti learnt two important things about life. The first thing was that gifts when given from the heart meant more than anything else in the world. The money didn’t matter. The other thing that she learnt was that lying was a sin. It would never give her happiness. So she vowed to be on the side of truth for the rest of her life.