It was a sunny afternoon in one of the most populous metropolitans of India. We, a group of about 4 friends, being new to the city, had set out fully determined to explore this city. To start with, nothing would have been more handy than a map of this city. For obvious reasons, we chose to make this purchase from a road-side vendor. The vendor, a woman seemingly in her forties, offered a colourful-guide of the city for Rs. 35 (Rs.=Indian Rupees). As my friend was about to hand over the crispy notes to her, I stopped him and began bargaining for a better price.
"We cannot pay you more than Rs. 20", I asserted.
"But sir, I make no profit if I sell it for anything less than Rs. 35", she counter-argued.
"Well, then I am afraid we shall have to buy it elsewhere", I said, gesturing to move over to the vendor sitting next, who was eager to make this his deal. Accepting defeat, "At least pay me Rs. 25", she mumbled with a sigh, handing back the 10-rupee note that was thereby due. With a sense of great victory and accomplishment, I handed back the note to the friend.
After a couple of hours of wandering in the city, hungry and famished, we decided to munch a quick lunch at a famous Pizza-joint. After a sumptuous meal, we went over to the cash counter to pay the bill and handed out the exact amount. "Would you like to contribute?", he questioned, pointing at a box labelled 'Charity Fund'. My friend readily grabbed a 10-rupee note from his pocket and put into the box. No sooner had he done it than we realised that it was the same ten-rupee note that we had saved earlier that morning. What an irony! We had crossed the limit of hypocrisy! We had mercilessly deprived a poor vendor from getting what she totally deserved only to 'donate' it to this so called Charity fund. We had made a mockery of charity! Our letting the woman keep her 10 Rupees, would definitely have entitled her children to a slightly better meal that day, or lessened the burden of their education on her to a small extent. Falling for the common notion that charity can be done only by donating money to organisations that claim to work towards charity, and without, for even a moment, realising that charity could be exercised at the grass-root level in our normal every-day lives, we looted the already-looted and trampled the already-trampled in the name of 'Charity'. Thoughtful, and heads hung in shame, we silently walked out of the restaurant, wiser!