He used to smile at me and I was prompt in returning that smile. Our relationship ended there. However, one day, I just watched him closely as he walked towards me. The trouser and shirt that he wore did not appear to be made for him. It seemed obvious that it was old clothes altered to fit his body. I noticed that sign of poverty and pondered over it. I never bothered to ask his name.
I wanted to buy him some new clothes that fit him. But had my own apprehensions: will he accept it, will he consider it as too much patronising? What if my judgment of his financial situation was wrong? Will it be taken as an insult? I didn't bother to find out more about him and thus put it all these questions to rest. A few months later he just moved away and I never saw him again.
A few months later I heard the story of a young man dying of cancer. I was told that his family is poor and they cannot afford the treatment. Some people started raising funds to help him. I also made my contribution to the fund. The community that he and me were part of were diligently praying for his healing.
Still a few months later, I was told that the sick young man passed away. They had a memorial for him. As they projected his recent photograph on to the screen I was shocked! That is the same person who used to smile at me wearing old clothes.
He was really poor, could not afford proper clothes and medical treatment. When he walked past me, I ignored him. I feel guilty. There are poor among us, but we just look through them. Never, try to find out anything more about them. It is not just the desire to do good but doing it is important.
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