“I have seen many persons coming and presenting you with boxes of mithai (sweets) to thank you for some work that you’ve done for them. Most of the time, you keep the box unopened. But, sometimes, you open the box immediately, have a small piece of mithai, and then keep it. Do you do this at random, or is there some logic behind this?” I asked the social worker.

The social worker replied, “If a box of mithai is presented by an affluent or a middle-class person, I don’t open it. However, if it’s presented by a poor person, I make it a point to open it and eat a piece. That’s because of two reasons. Firstly, while the cost of the mithai is no big deal for an affluent or a middle-class person, the poor person has probably spent a significant portion of his daily salary to buy the mithai, maybe he and his family have had to skip a meal or eat less food than usual, so I want him to have the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve eaten at least one piece of the mithai presented by him. Secondly, while affluent or middle-class persons buy the mithai from a premium confectioner, poor persons generally buy the mithai from a local shop. I do not want any poor person to feel that the mithai presented by him is not good enough for me.”


25 thoughts on “Thoughtfulness

  1. The sincere poor give it as a real token of their gratitude possibly skipping a meal in the bargain. The others more do it more routinely and impersonally as a bribe. More often than not the box contains hard cash gift wrapped as mithai!
    I remember my office assistant once placed one such box in the frig and when I took it home it turned out to be table clock!

    • Yes, Nagesh, the poor persons probably skip a meal to be able to buy that token of gratitude.

      In this particular person’s case, the mithai boxes contained mithai, irrespective of who presented it.

  2. Super post Pro, I’ll give you an example that humbled me for life. This happened about 25/30 years ago when I was a regular at Darukhana. Around lunch time I went to a chelia joint to have a bite along with a few others. There was a very poor & shabbily dressed man on the next table, he had ordered Dal fry & was ordering extra bread to increase the food qty. I called the waiter & told him to give the man a meat dish or whatever he wanted to eat & I’d pay for it. When the waiter told him he came upto me & thanked me but said he would not accept any meat or biryani or anything like that. He would be happy if I ordered for him another plate of Dal fry & extra bread. When I asked him why he did not want the meat or biryani ……his answer stunned me. He said thank you very much BUT if I take that special food from you today & get a taste for it then how will I be able to fulfill my urge to have it. Hence it is better I eat my Dal & bread. I am happy with it.

  3. That social worker is a good person at heart… I don’t want to comment on not taking the mithai from affluent people but intentionally making it a point to take when a poorer person presents is very nice of him.

  4. That is compassionate and truly sensitive. I will keep it in mind for the next time. Normally, I never open any gift in the giver’s presence. But this does make so much sense.

  5. what an inspiring post ! very well written, it does make a lot of sense, I have done it without thinking, next time I will do this in awareness. thank you for sharing !

  6. The social worker’s answer is such a sweet way to respond. I respect the sensitivity he’s displaying for the feelings of the poor people who bring him the sweets. No wonder he’s liked by all 🙂

  7. huh! I never thought of it like that! How thoughtful and considerate na?!
    The social worker must be doing a great job and must love what he/she is doing!

  8. I came here knowing that there would be something special about T 🙂 What a big heart that worker must have to think things through with such love and compassion. I believe ardently in the human spirit and this just reinforces it 🙂

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