Of money and resources
Aravinda has been to a number of weddings. But he did not see this
amount of waste. His friend’s daughter has served her three legs of
chicken, and so much of other roasted dishes. A thin child she is, the
friend’s daughter could not finish all what she had served herself.
“You should not have served yourself that much,” he said in a tone of
agony, “there are so many people without food.”
“There may be many people without food. But you cannot go out and
give what you have left to them. So don’t worry child. If you can’t eat,
just leave it alone.” Aravinda’s friend countered.
“Yes uncle, I can’t eat this much. And the amount I served won’t help
feed poor people.” The child too said, in a sarcastic tone.
Aravinda was not hurt, but felt all alone.
That’s when he remembered something he read in one of his emails. But
how can he trace it? It was sent quite a long time ago. He could have
recollected the story. But then it will be his own, not the original. He
thought further and further. Then he remembered the keywords: money
yours, resources belong to the society. He fished for his Blackberry and
googled the words.
Eureka! Aravinda was lucky. The first search gave him the story. And
he read the story:
‘Germany is a highly industrialised country. It produces top brands
like Benz, BMW and Siemens etc. The nuclear reactor pump is made in a
small town in this country. In such a country, many will think its
people lead a luxurious life. At least that was my impression before my
‘When I arrived at Hamburg, my colleagues who work in Hamburg
arranged a welcome party for me in a restaurant. As we walked into the
restaurant, we noticed that a lot of tables were empty. There was a
table where a young couple was having their meal. There were only two
dishes and two cans of drinks on the table. I wondered if such simple
meal could be romantic.
‘There were a few old ladies at another table. When a dish is served,
the waiter would distribute the food among them, and they would finish
every bit of the food on their plates.
‘We did not pay much attention to them, as we were looking forward to
the dishes we ordered. As we were hungry, our local colleague ordered
more food for us. As the restaurant was quiet, the food came quite fast.
Since there were other activities arranged for us, we did not spend much
time dining. When we left, there was still about one third of unconsumed
food on the table.
‘When we were leaving the restaurant, we heard someone calling us. We
noticed the old ladies in the restaurant were talking about us to the
restaurant owner. When they spoke to us in English, we understood that
they were unhappy about us wasting so much food. We immediately felt
that they were really being too busybody like.
“We paid for our food, it is none of your business how much food we
left behind,” my colleague Gui told the old ladies. The old ladies were
furious. One of them immediately took her hand phone out and made a call
After a while, a man in uniform claimed to be an officer from the
Social Security organization arrived. Upon knowing what the dispute was,
he issued us a 50 Euro fine. We all kept quiet. The local colleague took
out a 50 Euro note and repeatedly apologized to the officer.
‘The officer told us in a stern voice:
“Order what you can consume. Money is yours but resources belong to
society. There are many others in the world who are facing a shortage of
resources. You have no reason to waste resources.”
The wedding speech was commissioned for Aravinda. Anyway he was
thinking of a good subject for the speech. Now he got a subject, a good
one. After praising the couple for a few minutes, he brought up the
“I read this story just now, and think it’s worth sharing this with
When he narrated the story, he noticed pin-drop silence in the
audience. His eyes cruised through the audience to locate his friend and
his daughter, but they were not in sight.