Monday, July 29, 2013


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!


Anonymous said...

very well put up post ajay.. the words u said, that part of amount would have certainly served her a better meal was really touching.. We end up paying more than what it is intended to when it comes to parties and bargain on lesser amounts with street vendors which would have certainly mattered to them.. hypocrisy..

ajaypaip said...

Thanks Shiva...