Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Joy of Giving!

It was 2nd October 2014, marking the start of the festival ("concept"), The Joy of Giving Week. It was a long weekend and I landed at Ahmedabad on that morning to visit my parents. For a change, we took an auto rickshaw from the airport to home; there was no Ola or Uber at that time in Ahmedabad and we wanted to try an auto instead of the taxi. When the auto rickshaw dropped us at our home, the bill was in some multiples of 50, we gave him the nearest multiple of 100 and when he was returning Rs. 50, I asked him to keep it. For a fraction of a second, he could not follow. Then he realized and the smile on his face was priceless! Earning Rs. 50 extra on a day is such a big increment in India, many of us don't realize. There is a large section of these who don't use that additional Rs. 50 constructively, but those also don't work religiously so you can make out.

The joy that you feel when you give something to someone cannot be explained or expressed. In today's situation and probably forever in India, money is & would be the most needed. Giving money is the best, the other things of course are fine but those are perishable. Since then, I decided I am going to tip for every service. I tip the home delivery guys, almost all of them go back with a smile on their face. There is a small South Indian restaurant that we regularly order food from, I realize this one guy probably comes to deliver each time only because he knows I tip him :)

My husband is very particular about tipping for any service we receive. When I started using Uber, I tipped almost every driver unless I didn't like the driver at all, which is thankfully rare with Uber at least. They are the most courteous drivers, a possible reason could be that they earn more than decently. Recently I have had many interesting experiences with Uber when the drivers refusing to accept the tip. This happened first time in Mumbai, I was taking a morning flight and took Uber from the guest house to the airport. The driver was a young Malayali boy, he was very decent. When I offered him the tip while getting down, he refused and said 'No ma'am, thank you'. He didn't smile, he was those serious kinds. That was the first experience for me when someone refused the tip. I asked him why, he politely replied again, 'No ma'am, not required, thank you'. I respected his decision and said fine if he was not comfortable with it. Incidentally, after that, I came across many drivers of Uber who refused to take the tip politely. India is a land of khuddaars too, I realized. After that experience, I started asking the driver whether he accepts tips, a few of them say no and I don't bother them. On one trip, I asked the driver if he accepts tip and he said very happily, 'why not, if the customer gives', I liked it and I gave him the tip. He said with a big smile on his face, 'give me 5 star rating also'. I asked him why, he said the company pays Rs. 50 for each 5-star rating that the driver gets. Ever since, I only give them 5-star unless the driver is too bad, of course in that case I put in a written feedback too.

Recently, we were on a vacation and while the vacation was about to end, my husband was telling me thousands of rupees go in tips for us :) Our biggest expense head is vacation, and small percentage of the expense is tips. Anyway, the receivers of those few thousand rupees (separately) are more need of them than us. Its fine I guess.

You feel a different kind of happiness and fulfillment when you give something to someone in need, and more if you are able to see the receiver's face and expressions while receiving it. Hope I live long, and remain able (physically and financially :)) to keep giving all my life.

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