By N.K.A. Ballal, Retd. Sr. Vice-President, ITDC
A Gaur Gopal Das story which moved me: A man was ready to go to his office. His wife asked him to wait and told him to put some laundry clothes into the machine. However, she told him not to put too many clothes in the machine. The husband perplexed asked the reason. She explained that her maid had taken leave and was going to her home town to attend a festival with her daughter and grand child. So she won’t be coming for another two days. So let us wash as much as needed only.
The husband agreed and the wife further added: “The maid is going for a festival and to be with her family. Why don’t we give Rs. 500 as a festival bonus.”
The husband did not agree and said: “Another festival is coming next month. Let us give her then.”
The wife persisted: “Why are you making an issue of this ? Everything has become so expensive these days. Rs. 500 would not make any difference to our budget. But let her celebrate the festival with her near and dear with joy. In case you do not agree, let us not have the pizza which you want to have for dinner. The cost of the pizza is 500 and I will give that money to her. Why blow away 500 rupees on 8 slices of bread.”
The husband realised that his wife had made up her mind on giving the money and any further arguments meant that his pizza would be cut off from the dinner menu. So reluctantly he agreed and paid the money to the maid.
The domestic help came back after two days and was busy cleaning the house. The husband out of curiosity asked her: “How was your visit to the village and how was the festival?”
The maid replied: “Sir, it was very nice. Met my daughter, grand-daughter and my son-in- law after several months. Also madam had given me an extra 500 rupees as festival bonus. I am so grateful to both of you for that money.”
Curious the man asked: “How did you spend the 500 rupees?”
With great joy, the woman answered: “I bought a beautiful dress worth Rs. 150 and a 40 rupees doll for my grand-daughter. I bought sweets worth Rs. 50. Nearly 60 rupees was spent on the bus fare. A belt worth 70 rupees for my son-in-law. The balance money I handed over to my daughter to buy bangles of her choice and a note-book for my grand-daughter.”
When the man heard this, he thought to himself. So much joy in just 500 rupees ? Totally surprised, he started thinking about the 8 slices of pizza. Each slice appeared in front of his eyes. He started comparing the expense incurred in buying one pizza for himself and the expenses incurred by his domestic help in the festival. First slice of pizza, a dress for her grand-daughter. Second slice, a doll for her grand-daughter. Third slice, sweet for the family. Fourth slice, bangles for the daughter. Fifth slice, belt for the son-in-law. Sixth slice, bus fare for the journey. Seventh and eighth slice, the balance money given away to the daughter for note-book and pencils. For the first time the man observed the pizza wholly from all sides. His domestic help had shown him the other side of pizza. In an instant, he had learnt the difference between “Spending to Live and Living to Spend.”
Of course, this does not mean that one should not have their pizza or that we should not spend on luxury for ourselves. It only means that while doing so we should not forget to share and care and do something for others too. Let us balance our standard of living with a great standard of giving too.
An old saying: “What your right hand gives, even your left hand should not know.” But what is happening now in this COVID pandemic ? Every Tom, Dick and Harry are seen distributing masks, sanitisers or even food items and get themselves photographed. So many times these people are distributing items provided by somebody else and not spend from their own pockets too!
On the other hand there are hundreds of tireless people who are silently sharing whatever they have to mitigate the suffering of the have-nots. Sharing their pizza slice. In terms of value, a 500 rupees donation given by a daily wager is more than one crore given by an industrialist, duly photographed !
To conclude, share a little piece of pizza with the have-nots. You enjoy and let them enjoy a little too. Do you agree ?