We all like to get what we regard to be our true worth in all our dealings. Parents who put their children through an expensive education hope that they will end up with five figure salaries; actors and directors who work hard on their movies hope to reap rich profits as well as awards; sportsmen and artists look not only for worthy remuneration but also accolades from their peers and their governments. Young women get married in the hope that their husbands will treat them like queens and hold them as the apple of their eyes.
We look for value addition in everything we do. We question the worth and the price we pay for everything, including medical treatment and education. A man who undergoes knee replacement surgery asks his surgeon, “For how many years will this knee be good for me?” A student who joins the MBA programme demands to know whether her job will recover her fees in two months. “What am I going to get out of this?” is a constant refrain in business, investment and trade. In business circles, my friends tell me, this is known as ROI—return on investment.
A friend recently told me that he had an altercation with a beggar at the gates of a shrine he visited. He had dropped five rupee notes into the bowls of all the beggars who had been sitting outside the gates of the shrine to beg for alms. One of the beggars had loudly demanded whether five rupees was all he could afford to give away in charity. When the friend tried to remonstrate, the beggar is said to have remarked, “Come on, sir! We all know you are giving away your money only to wash off your sins and obtain God’s favours through charity. Nobody in your position gives away anything for nothing!”
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