13/09/2007 by Siddiqui Fayesal
It was 9 o’ clock at night and Rehan was trying to find a cheap eatery in the dense city of Delhi. With only a limited amount per day at his disposal he was careful not to overspend so that he could send a good amount back home to his ailing parents
At last he found a cheap restaurant catering to his need for the night and he went in to satiate his hunger. He saw the menu stuck on the wall and fumed.
“60 bucks for a Butter Chicken”, he muttered. Thinking it over he finally settled for a Veg. Thali costing Rs. 25.
He noticed a young boy, younger than him, sitting and staring at his plate of untouched food. Rehan thought that he was waiting for someone to arrive so he continued with his dinner. But 10 minutes passed and he was just sitting like an extra goal post staring at his food. Rehan had a doubt what the problem might be and it was confirmed by the waiter.
“Don’t you know how much the food costs or what? Why did you come if you dint know”
“I don’t have so much money, sir. I had no clue that it would be more than Rs 20. I cannot eat this. I will not be able to pay so much”
When the waiter heard it he flung himself at the boy and was dragging him outside and was about to slap him when Rehan interfered.
“You don’t know these vermin’s. They ought to be treated like one. Can’t pay and comes to eat. Paahh ,”said the waiter almost spitting on the young boys face.
“Why don’t you do me a favour and do your job. Go and get him hot rotis.”, Rehan said pointing at the boys uneaten food and gave the waiter a dirty look.
The waiter gave him a look which said “stupid moronic ass” but went and got him a hot buttered roti nonetheless. Rehan enjoyed his meal and so did the boy next to him.
After the boy finished Rehan asked him whether he wanted some more. The boy denied vehemently and asked Rehan the question that he himself was wondering since he stopped the boy from being slapped.
“Why did you do this for me, sir. You don’t even know me. How can I ever thank you for this?”
“If I wanted something in return buddy don’t you think I would be the one helping the waiter kick your butt. Don’t ask me why I did what I did, please. There are times when you aint guided by your mind but your heart. And always remember to listen to your heart. If you don’t then one day it’ll stop talking to you completely and therein lies man’s greatest weakness ”
Rehan asked the guy his name and gave him a smile before the guy left with his head dropped in shame and tears in his eyes. Rehan gave a sigh and finished his food with high spirits. He left the place after paying Rs 60. Yeah he did leave with his pocket lighter but compared to the lightness he felt in his conscience that was nothing.
A seemingly dry and dark day suddenly seemed bright and gay to Rehan. He had no more money with him now but what he gained was the kind of feeling that people get only when they themselves delve into it. It was not an act but an experience in itself.
What was this thing that made him feel so glad. He had money. He didn’t want to spend on something lavish because he wanted to send it home. He eat something that he didn’t want to because of the price. But to top it all up he ended up paying exactly the amount he gave up for his butter chicken and he knew that it couldn’t have given him so many smiles in a single day let alone a single hour. He laughed out loud thinking about it.
“Man, I paid for him more than I spent on myself”.
It amused him when he thought about his next days work. He needed money for his lunch and dinner and that meant another hard days work at the construction site……
“Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.”
_____ Benjamin Franklin
“You have not lived a perfect day, even though you have earned your money, unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”
_____ Ruth Smeltzer
“Money will buy you a fine dog, but only love can make it wag its tail”