(Dis)pleasure of gifting

(Dis)pleasure of gifting

When I was young, gifts were given only on occasions like a wedding or house warming or such other major event, to our near and dear ones. These affairs would invigorate the discussion about the purchase of a suitable gift. Otherwise, occasions to give or receive gifts were rare.

The first ceremony I witnessed my fa­mily receiving gifts was during my eldest sister’s wedding. As a young girl, I was curious to see what the gifts were. As each gift was meticulously unwrapped by the elders, a note was made of the article gifted and its presenter! Of the variety of items received, I noticed multiple milk cookers, sandalwood idols of ‘Radha-Krishna’, flasks and wall clocks! I wondered what my sister would do with these articles in duplicate and triplicate.

An immediate suggestion was, “Could we re-circulate it?” Oh, no! The names of the persons who had gifted were inscribed boldly on each item, “Presented by ‘so and so’ and family! So the extras were hoarded “for future use”! Over time, gifting patterns have changed. Options are more and occasions for gifting are many, adding to the agony of choosing the appropriate gift! 

In an apartment complex, a senior lady had been taking regular singing classes to a group of women. While she had refused to accept any fees, she didn’t forget to mention that they could gift her something if they liked! At the end of a session, the ladies presented her with a “novel” gift they had bought after much thought. The lady’s disappointment, goaded by dissatisfaction, was evident on her face. She already had the same article! ‘Would the ladies kindly exchange it for something she didn’t possess?’ – was the request.

As gifting for any and every event became frequent and habitual, we accumulated a cupboard full of items, mostly unusable because of their availability in multiplicity! Taking clue from a well wisher, we started re-circulating the gifts, successfully for quite some time. We were stunned by the boomerang effect when, one fine day, we received a gift looking very familiar!

Racking our brains the whole day, we traced the original source of the article. It was my cousin’s gift for our house warming which we, without checking, gifted to her on her 50th birthday after two years. Now, she had gifted it back for our wedding anniversary! Was it unconscious or an act of “tit-for-tat”?

The ritual of giving and receiving gifts was getting awkward. To overcome it, we stopped the two-way-transfer of gifts for any occasion! Soon, there was a new trend everywhere. The invites came with a “No Gifts” request. We were relieved. Appreciating the note, I went to attend the wedding of my friend’s son guilt-free.

As we left the venue, every one, including myself, was thrust with a packet. Back home, I was shocked, nay, annoyed to see an expensive gift! When the joy of gifting loses its charm, a trend of “no gifts given or taken” should force it’s way.
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