A stock broker was expecting huge losses in his business, because of the stock market conditions. The Market Index was falling by the minute. The man was sweating with tension. Instantaneously he said, “Oh God! If I can come out of this mess without making a loss, I shall donate a lakh of rupees to the temple being constructed in our locality.”

His heart beat went up and down with the stock market, which was very shaky today. By the end of the day, his net profit was ten thousand and eight rupees. Winding up his office, he was reminded of the promise he had made to God. A profit of ten thousand and eight rupees was a pittance compared to a lakh of rupees. But a promise is a promise. And profit is profit, as opposed to loss.

So the man went to the Mandir. There was a queue of people, making donations, so he had to wait. As he watched the construction work-in-progress, he thought, “This is a project that will take up at least a crore of rupees. What difference will my one lakh make? Shouldn’t fifty thousand be enough?”

A few steps ahead in the queue and he thought, “Actually, fifty thousand rupees is a lot of money. I think it should be fine to give twenty five thousand.”

A minute or two later he thought, “I think twenty one is a more auspicious number. So let it be twenty one thousand.” He was getting closer to the cashier. He saw that the man paying at that time gave eleven thousand rupees. He looked at the man’s clothes. He was very expensively dressed. He said to himself, “If such a rich man is giving eleven thousand rupees, why am I being so naive and giving twenty one thousand? Why am I being such a fool?”

So he decided to make it eleven thousand. But even that rich guy was giving eleven thousand … And he was not even as affluent … So, it was only fair that he gave lesser. He decided that five thousand and one hundred should be a good amount to give. He was almost there now. There was just one person ahead of him.

As he drew out the currency notes from his wallet, he saw his boss there. He was holding a receipt for two thousand one hundred. Oh! The boss is giving just two thousand one hundred! Why should I fritter away my hard earned money? I think I should also give two thousand one hundred. And, it’s not like I didn’t work hard to save my situation in the volatility of the stock market situation. Come to think of it, wouldn’t it be enough to donate ten percent of the profit I earned. In that case a thousand rupees is all that is due. But actually, a thousand is not really and auspicious number. Should I make it eleven hundred? A thousand? Eleven hundred?”

By then he stood facing the cashier. “Yes sir! How much would you like to donate?” The man was so confused by now that he said, “Excuse me, I will just be back. I need to go to the washroom urgently.”

He moved out of the queue. He thought, “What is the point of giving a thousand rupees? Who would even notice it? It would be a drop in the ocean. Actually if I have to give something, it should be lakh only. But I can’t afford it today. So it is better I do it another time.” So the man left without shelling out a paisa.

If you feel like doing a good deed, or like donating something or helping somebody, just do it right away. Who knows when you would change your mind? And then it would be an opportunity lost.