Indulged in useless thinking, I was sipping coffee in that hotel. My attention was drawn towards the counter. Some exchange of words is taking place there. The owner at the counter is laughing and waving his hand. A woman stood in front of him. She held a glass in her hands. She is talking with a loud and confident tone. It took some time for me to understand what actually is happening there.
The woman who stood there wants coffee. But she will pay the money later. She is of fair complexion. Her forehead is wrinkled. Her face and dress are revealing her poverty. She might be forty years old. She is asking for coffee with an authoritative tone. Of course, request is also mixed with it. “Why are you so much hesitating to give me a cup of coffee? I will give the money in the evening. I won’t run away. I will keep my word. My child is suffering from fever. The doctor suggested to take the tablet with the coffee. Please give me a cup of coffee” she requested.
The hotel owner is irritated. He said with a stern voice “We do not know who you are. How can we give you coffee when you do not pay money? This is not a charity-home. Bring money. You will get coffee. We cannot run the hotel if we give like this to every one”.
She did not move despite his stern refusal. Her appeal has intensified. She started addressing everyone coming to pay the bill and is asking them to recommend. Some listened silently. Some did not bother to listen to her. Some laughed at her. A few minutes passed like this. I and others there understood the situation. The woman is not having any money. But coffee is needed for her sick child. She is trying to hide her helplessness behind her loud talk.
I was moved by her pitiable state. I felt like giving the money and help her to have a cup of coffee. It took two minutes to convert my thought into action. Meanwhile a young man of twenty-five years, who is also observing all this gave money to the owner asking him to arrange coffee for the woman, paid his bill and left. I observed gratitude in her eyes. The hotel owner is talking gently now and made arrangements for the coffee.
The hoteliers cannot oblige all such requests for charity, else their business suffers. Also we cannot find fault with the poor woman. She set her self-respect aside and pleaded like this. Both the owner and the woman behaved according to their necessities. People like me though can help are either lazy or indifferent to the sufferings and needs of fellow human beings. I am very much impressed with the young man’s action and his readiness and promptness in helping the needy without expecting any return. It touched me. My heart filled with admiration for him.
The daily speeches and promises of our politicians, the capabilities of computers and robots and the news of space travel never cheered me as the compassionate action of this youth did. The advancement of technology mostly helps us to boast ourselves of our achievements and does pretty little to alleviate poverty from our planet. Our politicians enjoy power and become rich exploiting our sufferings. Our concern for fellow beings is the only comforting assurance to us and with the help of such concern alone we can face life with hope and courage. Our mutual love and help is the only cheering medicine for our heart-aches.
Let compassion be our prime possession. I paid my bill and came out assured and feeling calmness in me, silently revering the young man.
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Dr. Varanasi Ramabrahmam
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