The art of giving

The other day, my paternal cousin had called on me to hand over ‘marada-bagina’. This giving of marada-bagina, besides being in consonance with traditional values, is also a way of catalysing camaraderie and forging bonds among Brahmin female folk. And the manner this bagina is given bespeaks of umpteen things – the efforts involved, the time/money spent on stacking up several items, the importance affixed to a relationship et al. Most importantly, this gesture speaks great volumes about the giver’s persona.

So, as I cast my eyes on the things brought by my cousin, I noticed her ingenious mind had innovatively tried integrating some interesting tweaks to this South Indian tradition. So, in lieu of traditional ‘moras’ (winnow fans), she had got humongous luminescent-white plastic box, with candy-pink translucent lid. Ensconced inside was a potpourri of perfectly packed various pulses. Then nestled among pulses were packs of vermillion, turmeric, along with shimmering bangles, a stretch of ornate fabric (which under sartorial skills transmogrifies into a stunning sari-blouse), algae-green betel leaves and teeny pouch of areca nuts. There were a string of sunset-yellow chrysanthemum flowers, snuggly set in a square, see-through sealed cover. Along with them were also a miniature model of mirror, comb, kohl, etc – all symbolic of suhagan (sumangali) status. Each thing was presented with impeccable perfection.

No wonder it’s said, “In every small thing, one can find perfection, but perfection itself isn’t a small thing!” And this ‘perfection’ in presenting something shows itself, when there is genuine love, sincere feelings and oodles of alacrity behind this giving gesture. Shorn of these factors, ‘the giving’ would be then done perfunctorily, just for the sake of doing. Incidentally, we do see people giving different things to different persons on different occasions with different intents. Like, during mega social events such as weddings, etc, you find people giving away gorgeous gifts, purchased by profligate spending of big bucks. Of course, some do gift with true feelings, while to few others, gifting means a brazen display of their whacking wealth. And then there are folks who give things as part of tradition. Like the way money is given to sisters by brothers during raksha bandhan. And, there are seemingly Samaritan lots ostensibly giving things as part of philanthropy drive. Like the way some politicos with plastic smiles, prior to elections, proffer plethora of things to penury-stricken folks. Here, the shallow act is so clinical that the giving is just a gimmick to garner votes.

Finally, we should note that when a thing, if given with bountiful love, warmth and care, along with the giver, it makes recipients too immensely happy. Bereft of these elements, it’d be like gifting a swanky gold-nib pen, without smidgen of ink!

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