The Investment5 mins 165 5 mins 165
"Sunita, have you done the investment this month?"
"Yes Rahul, how could I forget?"
"How about the donation to relief fund?"
"We still have time before the tax season is over. Besides are you sure it will provide the tax saving certificate?"
"Yes it will! Of course! Let me go for some marketing, will be back soon!"
Rahul and Sunita have been married for over 20 years now. Their only son joined college this year and stays in a hostel in a far away city. Both of them have a decent income.
On the way to the market, Rahul met his teacher from school suddenly after a gap of 10 years. While his teacher did not recognize him, Rahul did so immediately. He stopped his teacher and suddenly bent down to seek his blessings.
"Oh! Sorry I don't recognize you!", said a visibly surprised Mr Ghosh.
"Sir, I am Rahul Bakshi. I had been a student of yours many years back. I am from the 1993 batch of RKCMS. Do you remember now? We met once a few years back when you were traveling to Darjeeling, remember?"
"Oh! Yes, yes. I do remember now! Where are you these days?"
"Sir I am working as an investment consultant with a reputed bank."
"So, sir, where are you going? You already look stressed!"
"Oh, I am actually going to drop this cheque towards the relief fund of the club next door."
"Oh! That's a great gesture!"
"Here, can you check if everything is okay? I am an octogenarian now! Tend to mess up things I had been comfortable doing all these years!"
"Sure sir, let me see! Looks okay. Wow quite a large sum! But does this organization have a proper license and all? I don't intend to be critical, but sir, there are many people who pretend to be doing things they do not actually do! Some intend to cash in during these troubled times."
"Oh! I never thought of that. Since your madam left for her heavenly abode, I stay alone. I have a bit of savings which I invested towards monthly income scheme. Inflation is high. Sometimes it is difficult to make ends meet. But when I heard about this terrible calamity, all I could think of, was how could I be of service to my motherland? How could I help those people in need? Really I never thought of anything else!"
The old man's voice nearly choked as he uttered those words.
Rahul could not help but wonder how he is yet to donate a single penny towards the relief fund and even then he is scrutinizing if he would receive a tax savings certificate etc.
But this old man, with a meager income, was spending a major part of his savings donating towards a lesser known NGO, without any thought of whether or not he would be getting any recognition or a tax benefit.
"Rahul, why are you silent? Well, I don't know really if those boys have a license and all, but I have seen first hand how they cook food and distribute among the poor every Sunday. I wish I could do that along with them, but at this age, I keep suffering from various kinds of ailments."
"Sir, well, I understand your point. It's just that I find it so difficult to trust people these days!"
The old man looked at him and smiled.
"Can I say something Rahul. You have grown old too. I see tufts of grey hair poking out here and there. But you still call me 'sir'. Thank you. But then I guess, I can still give you some advice."
"Yes sir, tell me!"
"You know, in our country, the gap between haves and have-nots is increasing every single day. If all of us helped one another, it could have been a different story. But we have all become very selfish. We keep investing for our own betterment, for our own future. I am not saying that is wrong, all of us should do that. But what I am trying to say is, in this zeal to save and become rich, we tend to ignore all those unfortunate people who feed us or help us daily in our life. Those people are the first to bear the brunt of any calamity, you and I will probably survive."
He continued, " The people who help us succeed every day, tell me 'beta', can we let them fail?"
"So all these inhibitions regarding where fund is going, if people are being benefited etc, sane thoughts, yes! But are you able to help any of them directly? Have you helped?"
"So you won't help anyone directly and you would look for excuses so that you don't have to invest in someone else's betterment, by looking for license and tax certificate and this and that?"
Rahul was silent now.
"Invest in smiles. Invest in happiness. Don't think about the money. Don't think just about monetary returns!
Do you know what Swami Vivekananda had said?"
"He said, 'Where can we find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being.' He further said, 'If money help a man to do good to others, it is of some value, but if not, it is simply a mass of evil, and the sooner it is got rid of, the better!'"
"So, what I am worried about is my intention of doing good to others. If my donation is misused, that is not my misdeed, that would be the misdeed of those who would break my trust and deny help to those who need! My work would be done anyway!"
Rahul didn't know what to say.
"Think about it, dear. I shall have to go now, they are waiting for me."
Saying this the old man got going.
Rahul was lost in a train of thoughts. Everything he had been thinking about since many years suddenly got a jolt.
There was an old man begging for food by the pavement. He had ignored him every day. But today, somehow he felt inclined to help. He bought a cake from a roadside shop and gave it to him. The old man hadn't expected at all. He had been denied help by Rahul probably a thousand times in last few years. But once his surprise was over, he gave Rahul a nice smile of gratitude, hungrily opening up the packet of cake.
Rahul watched with immense satisfaction. His ten rupees could not have found a better use, he thought.
That day he had invested in something, no share market in the world could match up to, in terms of returns. He had a smile on his lips and a drop of tear in the corner of his eyes...