How rarely do we live the stuff that we preach! I am often amazed at how blase people can be when it comes to being ethical and honest when working with others. Surendran and I find ourselves today in a situation where old friends of ours are refusing to pay for work that has been done for them by another dear friend of the family! This work too was undertaken because we insisted that our friend provide his electrical expertise to our other friend who was in urgent need to renovate an old apartment into his office space. The saddest part of it all is that this friend who is now refusing to pay up the remaining pending payment is himself a self made man who has often faced similar attitudes in his own career, where people made him run around and feel humiliated to procure payments that were rightfully his. We have often talked together about our days of struggles as young professionals and yet today those memories seem blurred with his personal success, and like the proverbial evil mother-in-law, the same treatment that was once painful to receive is meted out to another without the blink of an eye.
I myself rejected financial support from my family since the age of 18, but then I have lived my life never ever owing anyone any money. This is my greatest pride. I am sure too that there are many situations where we may personally feel that the service of another is not worth the price that they quote. Also a painter if I deem the price I quote to be the value I deserve to the work that I am offering as a product, then I think I must equally honour that all others are entitled to define and decide their own value too. To later haggle after the work has been completed is in my pinion a criminal act, and one which no honourable person should ever do. It is therefore essential to be very clear on the actual budget we can afford when we start working, and what the actual costing of every item of work actually is when the implementation occurs, so that we do not later claim that the final bill does not co-relate to an initial estimate provided. For those of us familiar with building homes, studio's and office spaces, we are well aware that an estimate is only a guideline and will always change especially when the clients themselves choose to make umpteen changes from the original concept and to upgrade the quality of articles used. Style comes with a price and if we cannot afford it then we should have the courage to be content with simple things, because we are not judged for what we have as possessions but for the characters we possess. To make another person out of pocket for your expenses is shameful and a terrible lesson to teach our children who look towards us for example and directions in life.
I have attempted to personally request my friend on two occasions to please honour his commitment and complete the payment, but to no avail. Yesterday he flatly told our friend whose payment is owing that he has no intention to pay the remaining money!
It is indeed sad to know that such meanness can exist and such a betrayal of trust can occur. My fervent hope is that the conscience of this couple will kick in and better sense prevails. Baroda is such a small city and deeds of such a nature will only ferment the good will of a community of friends. If we do not value our interdependence it is truly a great pity. Also what goes around comes around too....so lets do unto others as we would like others to do to us please!