JournalismPakistan.com November 6, 2014
And yet, presents when well-chosen and gracefully given can be one of the happiest ways of establishing bonds between people. They don’t have to be expensive, they just have to be thoughtful and appropriate.
I remember a friend once giving a tennis ball to his girl two days after proposing to her. All it said was the ball is now in your court. She aced it back with a yes and they are still making quite a match of it. They were pretty good at this sort of thing because she once gave him a new sports sock wrapped in ribbon the morning of his interview for the foreign service with the obvious legend, go on, sock it to them. He didn’t make it but that is another story… at least they had a warm laugh out of it.
Perhaps the nicest feeling comes when someone you care for gives you something he knows you have been wanting for a long time. Among couples an expressed but forgotten desire stored away for further reference and then acted upon makes for so much joy in a world where everything is now weighed in a rather cold and clinical balance.
Regrettably, too few of us ever consider the spontaneity of giving a gift as an important act, usually consigning it into the realm of oh heck do we have to, it’s the end of the month, let’s back off. Nothing’s worse than a gift given with bad grace, you can spot it a mile away which is why I thought it would be good idea if we had a little fun with the different sorts of presents one gets and also gives. See if you can spot yourself.
From the collection: Something lying in the house that needs a bit of spit and polish and who will know the difference, just wrap it nicely and fork it across. Usually given to you by someone with similar sentiment because they didn’t want it either. It just gets handed on and on. Not particularly conducive to warmth and happiness.
Flowers: The last minute rescue act by falling back on the painfully obvious.
The delayed gift: So sorry, wanted to get you something special but we couldn’t get to it on time, will have it sent to you as soon as we get our hands on it, you’ll love it. Certainly will if it fetches up but mostly it doesn’t materialise… ah the absentee pleasures of good intention.
The symbolic gift: Nice euphemism to use when you want to chisel someone with that it’s the thought that counts angle. So you cough up some silly trinket or self-made sortie in the arts and try to personalize the effort, anything to save expenditure. This way the recipient has to gush appreciation while wondering what to do with the bally thing. Given by aunts and other sundry relatives purely on the grounds of need rather than enjoyment. Shirts, ties and wallets fall into this category and are the direct cause of great friendships collapsing into nothingness. If I want a shirt I’ll buy it myself.
The redeemable gift voucher: Unimaginative and cold at one time, now thoroughly redeemable and perhaps the best idea.
The intellectual gift: A Shakespearian compendium, some non-fiction treatise by an obscure writer, a book of abstract poetry, some grotesque sculptor or twisted piece of metal called “Seasons” and other such esoteric nonsense you definitely do not want, no way, now you have to say thank you for nothing.
The travel leftover gift: So evidently foreign that it just has to be something someone bought as a souvenir on some trip and is now foisting upon you. I mean who would deliberately go out to Al Ghurair Mall and buy you a Naga bead necklace or a tapestry done by Inca tribesmen or an African lion’s tooth bracelet or something so way out?
The memory lapse: My goodness is it your anniversary, why didn’t you tell us we would have brought something for you, oh, we are feeling terrible naughty, naughty of you to keep it a secret (Of course, if you are feeling that bad you can trot out and pick up something and while we are on the subject you think we’d call 200 people over if it wasn’t our flipping anniversary).
The idiot gift: You don’t want to give something, fine, stay out, but there is this type that thinks it can clown its way out of things. It brings along stupid childish pranks as a cop out. A feeding bottle for a fortieth birthday, some little absurd toy for an adult and then expects hilarity in return.
You want to give something give it with style, however small it doesn’t matter, if it fits the personality and the preference and you have had the courtesy of working on it then even a gesture can be as grand as a diamond necklace.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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