I have been out of sorts lately. I don't seem to be my usual self. Reason? I have suddenly realised that however generous one would like to be, pressure tactics employed by people are annoying. I don't know if I am right or wrong. But recent experiences have made me lose faith in those around me. Am I being used? I ask myself. I think I am. When this thought crosses my mind I do not feel like being considerate or kind to those in need. What then am I supposed to do? I tried being mean but ended up hurting myself more than the person I wished to hurt. It just does not work in my case. Let me explain.
I was always sympathetic towards my servants and my ex-maid Rajamma was no exception. She rang me up saying that her granddaughter was getting married and I gave her Rupees 10,000/- and asked her to get something for the granddaughter and keep the rest for her personal expenses. I normally give her some 500/- to 1000/- rupees when she goes out of town. She left for the south to attend the marriage. As luck would have it, she fractured her hip bone and had to spend around 80,000/- for an operation and expected me to help. I had my own needs to take care of. My house had to be repaired, my grandchildren were visiting me and I had to go without pay for two of the four months that I had spent in America since I was short of paid leave. My own brother in law was in hospital in Chennai and needed financial help for a major operation. I politely refused.
That started it. Unknown people claiming to be her son in law, nephew and what not started calling me explaining her predicament and my reply remained the same. 'Sorry'. She then sent a woman known to her, along with a granddaughter living in Jamshedpur asking for money. Teary eyed, the granddaughter pleaded that I give at least 20,000/- rupees as loan and she would ask her father to repay it. By now, my husband had become adamant saying that we were not moneylenders and if we had been in a position to help we would have done it after the first phone call. 'No' meant 'NO'. The girl left, disappointed.
That very night Rajamma called me asking me to ask one or the other of my friends to lend her money saying that her daughter had spent the money set aside for her daughter's marriage for her treatment and with the marriage scheduled in December there was little time to arrange for money at short notice.
I was in a dilemma. There was truth in what she was saying but with a daughter in law working in a Nationalised bank why could she not arrange for loan? I began to wonder if I was doing the wrong thing by refusing to help. I also realised that if I gave in there would be future occasions when I would be thus pressurised. I did give in and hand over 15,000/- rupees to her son who was attending the wedding and informed Rajamma about it but I haven't yet heard from Rajamma as to whether he gave it or not although 2 weeks have gone by. There were umpteen phone calls made before I gave the money not one after receiving it.
A day after I gave the money I told my husband about it and he had predicted that I would hear no more from her and how right he was! Tell me now if I am wrong in feeling upset and annoyed. This is just one incident. There are more. But I leave them for a later post.