I have just finished reading this remarkable book by Michael Sandel whose earlier book, Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do. was so interesting that as soon as I heard that another book has been written by the same author, I immediately bought What Money Can’t Buy; The Moral Limits Of Markets.
For all my readers who think that we live in a very funny world with all of us being hammered constantly with ideas about how everything now seems to be on sale, these two books are must reads.
Quite whether my recommendation results in the sale of a few more copies of these two books is not important for the purpose of this post, which is to relate somethings that money cannot buy.
My readers will know that I am currently father sitting a very sick man. One of his problems is to find a comfortable seat to rest on whenever he is not lying down. A number of local solutions have been tried and the quest continues. In the meanwhile, the patient decided that he will be comfortable if we could locate a pure rubber foam cushion instead of any other material used as stuffing, like cotton or polyurethane which are readily and locally available.
So, the ever willing sitter gets on the phone/internet and contacts manufacturers, dealers and interior decorators to find where such a cushion can be procured and discovers that it will be possible to get one custom made by a manufacturer located in Kerala in the southern most part of India, but one will have to pay for a full sheet. The problem however is that to place the order and get it couriered to me was a daunting task as none of the players in this game were willing to guarantee a time frame even if I paid upfront at the time of placing the order.
Enter an Angel disguised in human form. Firdosh one of my dear friends in a town close to Kerala, pitched in with an offer to send someone to Kerala and get it all done in double quick time, or in the alternative, get the cushions from any source if it could be done faster.
Money could not buy the local dealers commitment. Friendship and an understanding of the patient’s discomfort motivated a compassionate man to do what needed to be done. What more, Firdosh will felt insulted when I offered to reimburse the expenses incurred by him in this matter.
The story does not end there. The cushions duly arrived via courier and needed to be provided with cotton covers. Enter the ever ready Yakob who took them in the hottest part of the summer day to the nearest place where that could be arranged, some five kilometers away and got everything done in record time. Since it was an extraordinary feat, I passed on a gift to him to express my appreciation. He promptly returned it to me and said that it was too much. By mistake, I had given him a five hundred rupee note instead of a hundred rupee note! I called him an idiot for pointing that out to me and he grinned and said that his conscience would not permit him to sleep if he had not pointed out the error. What a character. Could that kind of character be bought for money?
On an average, I need to change diapers for the patient at four or five hour intervals. Adult diapers cost the earth at our nearby chemists.
Enters another Angel in the shape of Kunal, the grand son of the first ever lady to have made me her rakhi brother. Kunal is a very busy businessman and simply went to his friend who is an importer of adult diapers and set up a deal for me to get the diapers at less than half the price that I pay to retailers in my locality. Kunal not only fixed this arrangement, he insists on delivering carton lots at need at my home. If I offer to reimburse the delivery charges, Kunal would blow a gasket and so, I refrain from doing that.
Another cheerfully compassionate person in my life who cannot be bought with money.
And there is yet another thing that money cannot buy. Learn all about it from an authority here.