Tuesday, 7 August 2012


'Excuse me sir, can you help me?'

The woman asked me in English.  I was walking briskly along the sidewalk - having just passed Asha's school and heading through a posh residential area.

The lady was grasping at the branches of a shrub that hung over a wall.  I instantly knew what she wanted.

'I can't get that flower, are you tall enough to reach it?' she asked me.

The actual flower was even smaller than this
I looked and sure enough, a tiny hibiscus bud could be seen.  A bedraggled little thing - a slip of a flower that had yet to unfurl.

'Madame' I told her in Hindi.  'If you take this, then other people cannot see it.'

'But I want to give it to God' she replied.

We both grimaced - mutually embarassed - and I moved on.

As I continued my walk my mind filled with further follow up thoughts.  'Madame, if you want to give to your god - perhaps you can buy a flower instead of plucking it from others.' This and other similar mental dialogues went on in my mind, till I stopped short.

What was I saying?

As if I never did the same.

I remembered the many times when I visit a church where an offering is taken.  What do I do?  I look into the wallet to see what 'can be given.'  Then I take the note out and fold it carefully so others don't see what I am giving.  Piety is usually not what is driving this - it is sheer cheap-fistedness towards God.

God doesn't need my offerings.  He owns everything anyway.

But He delights it when I give cheerfully.  When I realise that everything, literally everything has been given to me in the first place.  This breath of air.  That hot dosa and chutney that Sheba made for me this morning.  The refreshing shower after the walk.  The joy of a new sun rise.  The steady beat of rain during the night. And on and on and on.

And yet, when it comes to giving back, I am so miserly.  Whenever the slightest bit of 'pain' comes - I flinch and usually hold back - of if I do - it is with the sense of duty - or even worse - of 'doing something great' for God.


Oh that my heart will be changed to the lavish giver that God wants me to be.

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