Yesterday, there was someone at the door around 1.30 in the afternoon. Now, we were not expecting anyone. When I peeped through the window, someone was eagerly waiting with a file in his hands. A couple of times before, it has happened that the visitors for the house next to us would knock our door. Thinking of the same, I opened the door. The guy smiled at me and I didn’t know him. S was busy with some call and I was not sure if he was S’s friend. Within the next couple of minutes, he introduced himself and before I could decide whether I should call him in or not, he helped himself in (while still wearing his shoes!). He again introduced himself –
I am XXXXX.. I am coming for XXXXX organization. We are doing a noble task of volunteering for collecting funds for this organization that helps educate the girl child.
Again, before I could think through he pointed at our sofa and said “after you, ma’m”. My mind was too slow and I really couldn’t get him. As he kept repeating it, I couldn’t do nthing much but offer him to sit. Thankfully the husband came back from his call. After another round of introductions and a number of “after you, sir” statements, both of them were seated. He went on and on about the initiative, the benefits of the program for a good amount of time. And then, he dropped the bomb that we are free to pay any amount from their multiple choices (all in a few thousands).
The husband looked on to me and I was speechless. Ok, I did understand their noble effort and I would have really wanted to donate profusely if I could. I tried to explain him our current situation where in, it would be highly impossible to shell out some thousands, all of a sudden like this. At first he tried to listen. But soon, he was cutting me off and very animatedly explained the benefits of his organization.
First, I am very uncomfortable infront of total strangers. Both S and I are very bad at small talks. On top of it, this guy was not even giving me a minute to explain myself – I was a bit irritated. I again patiently tried to explain him, why it would be impossible for us right now. He turned towards me, raised his eyebrows and said – “Mam.. its just a matter of few hundreds every month.. why don’t you understand that?” His eyes were ready to shoot me at this point of time.
I suddenly felt very guilty. Yes, its only a few hundreds every month. But if I have to donate it all at once, its quite not possible – that too on such short notice. Even after I told him this, he kept on going about making us feel very guilty. I felt very bad, saying No everytime. And that was the fuel to his talk I guess. The husband said that though it might look like a small amount for him, believe us – with our current financial situation, it’s a big amount and its going to be tough for us. There is no shame accept or revealing our current situation.
As much as I would have loved to help the initiative, there really was no way! At one side was the guilt he was sowing in our hearts and on the other side was our own inability to convince this guy, even after 15-20mins. He finally agreed to accept the donation for six months instead of a year. While he was filling the forms, I brought out my cheque book. Guess what he says on getting my cheque – “Mam can I please put you for a year? Think of the smile on that child’s face when she get all the good things in her life.. “ I didn’t know how to react anymore. I looked totally helpless I guess, he accepted to write down only six months’ amount.
I am happy that I could donate this very little inspite of the many hardships going on, but the guilt has still not left me. I think that’s where he succeeded. I was so mad at him, for this entire process is not correct according to me. How can someone come to our house with no notice, take your money but make us feel terribly guilty?!
He has no right to judge me. Yes, I am staying in Bangalore as I have no choice. Yes, I am working in a reputed IT organization. But all these doesn’t mean I am well-off or I am lavishly spending my money. Every penny is spent after multiple calculations. How do I make someone who wouldnt listen at all, understand this? I really want to contribute more, but not because I feel guilty. Because I can and I should. May be now is not the time.