This happened about 4 years back while I was buying fruits from a fruit vendor, while I was at it, I ordered for two glasses of fresh juice. One for myself and the other one for the cab driver.

Although I was a bit hesitant to have juice from this shop because of the lack of hygiene and sanitation with flies all around.

However, thanks to the scorching heat, I gave in to my hesitance and decided to have it. Once the juice was served, and both the driver and I were sitting on chairs lying in front of the shop and sipping our juice; there came two women probably in their late 30s along with 3 children. One of the children was a toddler and one of the ladies was holding the baby in her arms. The other two children were about 7-8 years old.

Both the ladies looked completely exhausted and sapped of all energy due to the heat. They were perspiring profusely and were very thirsty to the extent that they were gulping their saliva to quench their thirst.

I got up form the chair and offered them the seat.

It was very apparent that they were from a very humble background. They asked the vendor for the price of a glass of juice and when the vendor replied it was 50 bucks, they asked him if he could split the juice in two glasses – for Rs. 50. The vendor bluntly refused. I instinctively reacted and urged the vendor to offer them two half glasses. I asked him a little demandingly as to what difference does it make if they want to spilt the juice in two glasses as he was getting the full price for the juice. As soon as I finished these words I was a bit surprised at myself, I thought to myself what right do I have to demand the vendor to act according to what I feel is the right thing to do. It is his shop and he is free to run it the way he chooses to.

But what shocked me is that how can one human-being is so apathetic towards the other, or for that matter to any living creature.

How can he not see that the ladies wanted the juice not for themselves but for their children. I so wanted to offer them 5 glasses of juice from my side. But I could not, one because I could not muster up the courage to go up to them ask them if I could offer them the juice, and I also thought I might crush their self esteem or worse they might totally misunderstand me and may think I have some wrong motives.

But quite honestly, it was hard for me to hold back my tears; my eyes almost welled up. I could sense the women wanted the juice to quench the thirst of their children and not their own. However I just left from there and while walking away I looked back from a distance and saw that the vendor was at his machine preparing juice for them. Probably he agreed to spilt the juice in two glasses for 50.

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Gautam Om

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