During the summer holidays, my sister and I are usually alone at home when our parents leave for work. It has become a routine when they would stop before the door and instruct us to keep the doors locked and be safe. Doting parents that they are, our mother and father never get tired of the monotony. We even lock the gates as an added precaution.

One day, the gates were only partially locked. An old and weak beggar came and stood at our door. He looked starved. My sister and I decided to give him some money, but he would not go and begged for something to eat. We remembered our parents’ instructions, but felt sorry for him and gave him a banana to eat. His eyes reflected gratitude.

In the evening, when our parents returned, I narrated the tale expecting them to praise us. Instead, they scolded me for behaving irresponsibly. I understood something from the look of concern in their eyes. In this day and age, we have to fear everyone. Even charity can be exploited. Misdeeds of a few can lead to fear which results in the decline of morality. We must stop making assumptions of this kind if we wish to live a better life.

Devika Jayadevan, X C, Amrita Vidyalayam, Pathanamthitta