One evening a man was on his way home. He stopped by to buy fruit from a way side fruit seller. He picked up a bunch of grapes and asked the price. The boy said, “Eighty rupees a kg.” Next to the grape bunches, were lying a small heap of grapes that looked like they had been plucked off the bunch.
As the man looked across the fruit stall, his eyed spotted a little boy wearing a shabby looking shirt looking at the grapes with craving eyes. The boy offered a crumpled five rupee note to the fruit seller and pointed at the loose grapes. The seller gave him a handful. The man thought that what he had given to the boy must weigh at least a hundred grams. He asked the fruit seller, “What is the rate of those?” The seller said, “Those are forty rupees a kilo.” “What is the difference between the two?” enquired the man. “Nothing sir, except that these have fallen off from the bunch so I am selling them at half price.”
Just then the boy who had already started eating the grapes from the little packet said, “Uncle, these grapes are sour. Don’t buy them.” The grape seller looked at the boy with a frown. The man picked up one grape from the heap and put it into his mouth. It was quite sweet. He looked at the boy and asked, “This is quite nice. Why did you say that these grapes are sour?”
The boy said sheepishly, “Sir, if you buy these, what will we buy?”
The man was dumb founded. He realised that the poor boy could only afford the grapes because they were cheaper now. Had they been at the original price, he could not have afforded to buy them.
Sometimes, we tend to overlook these small things.
The government arranges food grain, oil, sugar, cooking gas, etc. at subsidised prices for the poor. Sometimes these benefits are misused by the rich. In the state of Punjab the government gave free electricity to poor farmers. Effectively, all the rich landlords who were farmers by vocation were using that electricity and thereby swindling the government.
Sometimes subsidies are provided for a purpose. If they are not meant for us, let us not try to grab them and take undue advantage. Let us not be selfish.
Pause a moment to think about this- Despite the striking progress in the fields of science and technology, there has been deterioration in morals and social behaviour because of the growth of selfishness. Self-interest is predominant in every action. If one’s entire life is governed by selfishness, what happens to society? Every individual has a responsibility to society, from which he derives so many benefits. Society is based on the principle of mutual give and take.
A man without the basic human values of love, duty, empathy, sympathy etc. is verily an animal. He is not fit to be called a man. If the haves do not empathise with the have-nots, it is a very sorry state of affairs!