"Where's Monica?" I asked this morning as I entered the physiotherapy department of the local hospital where my aching writers neck was being treated.

"She's gone on leave," said the new face and we walked to the place where she would use the ultra sound machine on my throbbing portion. A little lotion of some sort was always rubbed first so that the machine would run smoothly. I heard a spluttering noise this time and realized the new girl had decided to hold tin over my neck and press the contents of the canister over my neck. She did this a few times and I felt the oozy stuff trickling all over.

She did not deign to rub it off. A little later the machine started its job all over the back portion of the sore section, but there was a difference, I felt her apart from the supposedly healing process; I knew that the girl was not involved in her job, she was far away in her own thoughts and mindlessly worked my neck till the buzzer signaled the job was over.

I got up, there wasn't much difference, I missed Monica's touch. She was an old nurse with strands of grey, but every patient felt more than just the machine: They felt her involvement.

Some years ago a huge departmental store; part of a global chain opened its doors to the public, and some shoppers from the other little shops around started going to the huge store because things were cheaper. But many didn't.

Many people continued to frequent a little shop round the corner. They avoided the huge doors of the departmental store with its discounts and sales and marketing gimmicks and trudged down to the little shop, stood in line after buying their stuff and came out with a smile.

The marketing team was asked to find out what was being offered in the store that the huge departmental chain couldn't match.

"Why do you go to the store round the corner?" they asked an old lady.

"Because she puts the change into my hand," replied the lady.

"And what about you sir?"

"The same reason," said the gentleman.

The marketing man went into the store, bought a few bars of candy and laid a hundred dollar bill on the counter. The pleasant looking middle-aged lady at the counter smiled at him, counted the change and then wonder of all wonders held his hand like a child while she put the change into it. She then smiled at the person behind, and there were many people behind!

His boss at the department store put his hands up in frustration when he heard what the marketing man had to say, "That's one competition we can't beat!" he whispered.     

Hands that reach out and touch are worth more than those that sign checks for charity..!

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