Epitome of values

47

It was lunch time, but had to remain busy in files due to urgency. I left for a much delayed lunch after completion of the work. In a designated area within our office complex, a needy woman on the threshold of senior citizenship serves her home-made food. Every official day, she comes from a suburb several kilometres away in crowded bus carrying two heavy bags loaded with food items.
As I reached her stall, apologetically she declared that though she still has breads, but have run short of vegetables. Still I asked her to serve it. Now the amount of curry was indeed too inadequate in comparison to the number of breads which I religiously eat. However by drawing inspiration from “at least I have something to eat” in this ocean of hunger in the society, I succeeded in having my lunch with much pleasure.
As I took my first step to return after paying exactly the usual amount to her, she called back. And got astonished to see her stretching hand with a 5-rupee coin in it which she desires to return! Why? To quote her “Because I could not serve you adequate vegetables”! I did not accept it, but got absolutely stunned by her supreme sense of accountability.
It was me who insisted on having whatever she could offer as lunch, still her conscience was asking the poor woman to return few coins as she could not serve adequate vegetables! With a lump in my throat, I was wondering how beautiful this society could have grown up to if all “educated” people and “glamorous” sector would have also believed in such unique values, work ethics and accountability!,
KAJAL CHATTERJEE
Kolkata, India

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