Your problem is my problem

There were two friends who were dearer than the dearest to each other. Because of various circumstances, they had not seen each other for a long time. One day, quite unexpectedly, they met in the street. One friend said to the other, “I understand that you have become very, very rich. Is it true?”

The second friend said, “Yes, it is absolutely true. I have acquired a very large amount of money. But what can money alone do? I have been suffering from back pain for many months. I have spent so much money going from doctor to doctor, but no doctor can cure me. Money cannot cure my back pain, and I have been suffering unimaginably.”

The first friend said, “I tell you, I can make a very sacred and secret ointment. If you use it for three months on a regular basis, you will be completely cured. But the ingredients are extremely rare and very difficult to obtain. Plus, they are quite expensive. I have to go to so many places to get them. But if you are ready to give me the necessary money, I am ready to go to all this trouble. Your problem is my problem and my problem is your problem. If one of us can solve our problem, at least half of our problems will be over. I cannot guarantee that you will be cured completely, but I assure you that you will get considerable relief. I am happy to know that money is no object for you. If you send me one hundred rupees a month, I will send you the ointment. Then half our problems will be over.”

So the rich friend sent one hundred rupees every month, and in return he received the ointment. He had such faith in his friend. Alas, alas, three months passed and his back had not improved at all. He was very sad and mad. He asked himself, “What kind of deception is this?”

One day the two friends met again on the street. The rich man was very angry. He said, “You took money from me, but still I am suffering severely from back pain. Your ointment is useless.”

His friend said, “Did I not tell you that half our problems would be over?”

“What do you mean by half our problems? I do not understand,” said the rich friend.

His friend continued, “I needed money desperately, so this is how I was able to get it from you for three months. I told you that your problem is my problem and my problem is your problem. Now my problem is over, which means half your problems are over. To solve the other half of your problems, I advise you to go to a good doctor.”

The rich man was so shocked. He decided to punish his friend for being such a rogue. This rich man had various other ailments which were already being treated by an excellent doctor. Because of the doctor’s medicines, the rich man’s condition was improving very gradually. The rich man did not blame the doctor for his slow progress. He knew the doctor was trying his best and, besides, the doctor had never claimed that he would be able to cure the rich man completely.

The rich man went to this doctor and narrated the whole sad story to him.

The doctor said, “I know this fellow. He is also a patient of mine. He is such a rogue. Do not worry. I will teach him a lesson.”

In the course of time, the rogue-friend fell sick. Now that his financial problems were over, he did not hesitate to go and consult the excellent doctor. The doctor examined him and prescribed certain medicines. When the patient received the bill, he found that it was double the normal amount. On his next visit, he said to the doctor, “How can your bill be so high? All of a sudden you have raised your fee!”

The doctor said, “Everything nowadays is more expensive. Just look around you. Is anything the same price? Even at the market, everything costs more. I need more money to pay my bills. If you do not want to pay the fee, go to some other doctor. Everybody says that I am the best doctor. But if you do not believe it, then go to some other doctor. I do not care. I do not need you as a patient.”

Now it happened that the doctor’s medicines were working and the patient was getting a little better. Since he was getting better, he did not mind paying double the amount to the doctor. So the doctor was getting much more money than usual by charging this particular patient double.

When the doctor had collected three hundred rupees extra from this patient, he informed him, “From tomorrow my fee will be reduced. I will charge you half the amount.”

“Why?” asked the patient.

“You are such a rogue,” said the doctor. “You took three hundred rupees from your friend for some useless ointment and now I am returning the money to him.”

The doctor gave the money to the rich man and said, “Please take your money. You are sincere, but your friend is a real rogue.”

Those who are rogues will eventually be caught. Today they may fool us, but tomorrow they are bound to be caught.