Give and take and give
The downside of living in a cocooned world is we tend to accept the idiosyncrasies as normal. They are so out there and so much in vogue that we are left with no choice but to inherit them. One of the most common aspects being the practice of gift; an act originally supposed to be the epitome of altruism is now a stepchild of tokenism. It’s quite frankly taken the form of acceptable charity. More often than not, the notion behind gift is to get even with the said person. He gave you one and you return the favour. You received something worth ABC, you’ll try to outmatch by handing something worth XYZ. This twisted concept is bare naked during festivals when you gift those who don’t need it in the first place. Instead of directing the channel towards those who actually need it, we keep the gifts among ourselves. An equilibrium that best explains the reason why we ask “Khaana ho gaya?” only to those we don’t have to feed.
Speaking of food, i once came across a story of a biker who was passing through a village on a solo trip. I’m not sure about the details but he was passing through a rustic place one morning and stopped at a roadside stall run by a man and his wife. He asked for tea and was sipping the hot cuppa when a little boy (presumably their son) showed up and handed him a plate of idlis and chutney. Our biker promptly took it and ate. When he was asked them how much he should pay, they mentioned the price of the tea.
Naturally, he was a bit confused.
So this is what happened: The couple thought he must have been hungry, riding on his bike, all on his own, and offered him free food as a complimentary meal. By their appearance, it was clear that they were in no position to take the high road but humanity comes in all size. It doesn’t always have to do with money. In fact, it doesn’t even always have to do with charity. The reason why charity is fast running out of fashion is because of the way it’s presented. If sharing is caring, there would be no place for charity. Well, we are so self-centered that we’d rather choose charity over common sense. Besides, why should charity be what overflows from your barrel? It can very well flow from a half-empty jar which is already struggling. Spending your time on someone is the greatest thing you can do for others. Second on the list could be anything that requires a little bit of heart without expecting anything in return.
The moral of the aforementioned story is that the couple knew the meaning of gift better than a lot of us will ever do.