The handsome young man, in his early thirties, well-dressed, cultured and apparently Western-educated, arrived at the theatre for the charity show. One could notice a tinge of sadness in his eyes.
Hailing from an aristocratic family, he had purchased the highest denomination ticket for one of the front rows. Checking the seat number, he took his place. Within a few minutes, a middle-aged couple, along with their two children, appeared on the scene. Thinking they wanted to pass him, the chivalrous young man got up to make way. The elder gentleman looked confused – checking his tickets against the seat number. Apparently, the same seat had been issued twice, to two different persons. Grasping the situation, the young man immediately vacated his seat and requested the other gentleman to occupy it.
A young lady, a volunteer form the organisation promoting the show, came over, apologised profusely for the mistake in issuing tickets and offered the young man a chair. When he politely declined, she offered to refund his money. Once again, the gallant young man refused, saying the money was afterall going to charity. When the elder gentleman tried to say something, he replied, “sir, you are here with your family, whereas I am alone. I would not like to spoil your family outing.” Saying this, he bowed to the gentleman, his wife and family, and the volunteer and turned away and left.
This set me thinking. What does ‘charity’ mean? Does one give readily and voluntarily to charity or does one expect something in return? Does not organising ‘charity shows’ amount to some kind of ‘inducement’ so that people may donate, almost akin to a ‘bribe’ to achieve a goal?