Tuesday, March 25

The Pain of Gifting

Whoever called it the “JOY” of gifting skipped a step.

Prior to the joy (if at all), comes pain, immense discomfort and a lot of inconvenience, effort and thought. The next step could range from ecstasy and gratefulness to annoyance and indifference.

Which is why most people give the act of gifting a miss and either request no gifts on the receiving end or give cash rather than an object as a guest. Saves all the people concerned from a lot of heartache and embarrassment.

I understand, I entirely do. It is a much better option than running around from pillar to post and finally presenting or ending up with some trashy items being shifted around from hand to hand over the ages.

I am writing about this for a cause.

The cause of loving people who have done everything possible under the sun for their loved ones and who do not know what else to do for the sake of affection and originality. 
So basically, people like me. Lovers of revelries for reasons small or major, and adorers of their moms and spouses and uncles and aunts.

Let me brief you first on some important aspects.

One, my mother and my husband are, fortunately or weirdly, pretty alike. I mean of course they’re both pretty but it does not end there. They care for me beyond themselves and I love them both to bits. Their mannerisms and habits are also similar in more than a few ways. Plus, both of them don’t like presents in general and are very balanced (read predictable) when it comes to celebrations and gifts. 

Which means that I’ve been dealing with this agony for over two decades now, though I have been only married two years.  

My husband celebrates two birthdays in a year (as if one was not enough) and one of them, the fake one, falls close to the day of love – Valentine’s. Now imagine my plight, I need to think thrice about the things that he has and does not have, should have or wants or needs. Not counting, obviously, the monthly and yearly anniversaries of our wedding and courtship.   

A Herculean task, indeed!

A cake and flowers no longer count as something sensational; it’s too formal and extremely unimaginative. My husband has no patience or aptitude for cards, poetry and the like (contrary to my mom, she used to dig that stuff). This rules out one of my unique and greatest gifting ideas.

Clothes, electronics, wallets and travel – we have done all of that as well. I was so confused last year about what to give him on our wedding anniversary that I went around polling people and got some fairly random ideas like Bluetooth headset and biker helmet. I finally bought him the second, but it does not feel like a gift really, if you know what I mean. More like a security accessory, a must rather than a casual feel-good present. But since my husband is not the romantic, rose-tinted types, I guess it worked fine in his case. Had it been someone rosy-hearted and hare-brained, this would be a concern.

Worse still, if you ask these folks what they would like as a gift, they either say “anything” or “nothing”. Both these answers are annoying. Why wouldn’t you simply say what is it that you are lacking at the moment and ease matters for the poor enquiring soul? Not to mention, it should suit his/her budget. I  know of certain leeches, who when asked about their choices, state incredibly ridiculous demands that make you want to slap them and ask them to get lost. Why, why, why do I have to deal with such horribly unreasonable people?!!

Seeking help from online sources is useless as well, coz there is absolutely no logic in the list of items displayed on the web, and their preposterous prices may as well convince you to forget the entire idea of a celebration.

And, before I conclude, let me also place on record the awe I feel about some of the gifts given to me, ranging from the utterly silly to the amazingly generous. Give me a decent book, a holiday voucher, good clothes or accessories and I would be pleased as punch. Give me ugly, used or non-usable stuff and I shall refuse pleasantly. 

So, there stands my agony, confessed and out in the open. If you find a solution, do let me know.

If not, carry on with whatever it is that works for you! Some pains just never end, though you want the good times to carry on forever…


Monday, March 10

Women's Day 2014


Belated wishes to  all the naari's out there :-)

Feels good to be pampered (obviously), but as I said on FB, I have no special hang-ups with men. In fact, I have had more and better guy friends than girl friends. I think women tend to get insecure about a multitude of issues and that leads to their downfall. But since I have already spoken about a woman’s troubles in my recent post, I shall not dwell on this topic too much. Instead, I am going to tell you about the marvelous day we had at Hitachi Consulting on March 7th, in preparation for International Women’s Day on March 8 (Saturday). 

That's Nivedita Nair from the facilities team welcoming me to work on Friday with red roses - such a sweet gesture on the occasion of Women's Day!

So, the theme was orange and I walked in to the office to be welcomed with a smile... and a rose! What a beautiful way to start the day! We were photographed and cordially wished by all... This is how lovely mornings are made.

Scarcely had I unpacked my laptop and started work, than it was announced that there were free beauty services available for all the ladies at work. Foot spa, hand spa, face clean up, make up - take your pick and get gorgeous! I opted for the face clean with Jafra products, and while it was not an "Aaha" experience, the thought and experience sure was special. 

A few emails and lunch later, we had a cookery contest - Magic without Fire. There were 5 teams and they had prepared delicacies without using the burner. The best part about these chef competitions is the tasting, and I was right up front along with the other lasses! Veg Mayo Roll with a creamy dip (that won the first place), Date and Coconut Laddoos, Indian Triangles, Fruit Salad with Cream, Pofru (poha and fruit) Payasam, and a variety of Veg Sandwiches - it was a delectable spread! Hats and tastebuds off to you, women!!

Next on the list was a session on "Inspire Others" by Prameela Kalive from Zensar - quite an illustrious woman, I must say. She has worked at DRDO with the likes of Kalam and her experience and profile is highly impressive. She drew upon some observations from Sheryl Sandberg's book "Lean In" and discussed parallels in her life. The bits that most resounded with me were:

1. Put your hand up - Don't expect people to know your talents, interests, strengths and also advocate you for new opportunities. Nominate yourself for things that you wish to do. Even if others resent you for this. And when everything keeps falling on your willing shoulders, speak up and refuse chances as well for things that you do not wish to do. 
2. Make your partner your real partner - Don't get annoyed when your spouse does a lousy job in the kitchen or with the kids. Let him learn, he'll get it right someday. 
3. When you are asked to fly in a rocket, don't ask which seat - (Most) women are not comfortable with ambiguity; we need complete details before we commit to anything. Sometimes, when there is an ambitious plan in the making, participate even if you are not completely informed or aware. You will learn loads and pave the way for success!
4. Don't try to be superwoman - You cannot juggle ten things and all of them brilliantly. Learn to outsource what you find tough, seek help from family and hire a maid! Know what to put on the backburner and what to focus on. If you do multi-tasking, something will be better and something below average - accept it. 
5. Don't forget to pamper the little girl within - This, I never forget to do, and my husband co-operates whole-heartedly. My hero!

... and then it was time for some lip-smacking Pav Bhaji and Rasmalai! Yumm yummm... Boys, I feel so bad for you as I feast on these snacks, but then that feeling slowly fades... Hee hee!! And it is replaced with further excitement and respect for Hitachi when they pull out spa vouchers and gifts for all of us women.  

Marvelous day, indeed! So thankful to Hitachi Consulting for organizing this great day, never before have I been regaled thus in my entire career spanning close to 10 years. 

Hope you had a cool day as well enjoying or serenading the women in your life :-)

P.S - Men's day is there, too... and no, it's not on April 1, it is (supposedly) celebrated worldwide on November 19. There you go! I bet you won't remember... hahaha.


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