GIFT MEANS GIVE IN FULL
Gifts are given not only on important occasions but also on casual occasions. A friend may bring a gift when visting another friend to his home. On such occasions the friend and especially the lady of the house is likely to say, “Why, Francis, all this trouble. Your visit itself is a gift for us.” Many say such things are mere lip service. Sometimes, friends come from foreign countries where they have gone for work. It so happens that the person forgets to carry a gift or plans to take a gift the next time. The lady who is visited is likely to say as an epilogue to the friend’s visit, “The fellow never seems to have thought of bringing a gift. I don’t want any gift, baba, but the fellow could have put a few chocolates at least in the hands of the children.”
In the olden days there was a custom of giving gifts to holy men who taught religion and morality. It was called dakshine.
Nowadays there is a custom of giving gifts to people retiring after long service in an office. A gift given on such occasions is called a memento. Once a friend argued that the term should be spelled momento. But he was told that it is memento and not momento because it refers to memory of an important occasion. The retiring person also says something like what the woman said about chocolates. “What is the necessity for this? The love and affection showered on me by all of you itself is the greatest memento for me.”
I am not sure whether the retiring officer did enjoy so much love and cooperation from his colleagues while he was in service.
Sometimes boys play pranks with the so-called gifs. A boy gave a box to a young lady and said, “This is a gift for you.” When the girl opened the box eagerly a snake pounced out of the box. The girl was flabbergasted. It took a long time for her to find out that it was a rubber snake! I have a feeling that she started hating things made of rubber. What about her trust in boys like the chap who fooled her?
There is an adage: “Do not count the teeth of a gift horse.” The advice is to accept the gift gratefully and gracefully without looking at the monetary value. A gift is given out of love. Don’t try to place money value on it. It seems the teeth of a horse indicate its rough age.
On one occasion a very funny, rather an awkward situation arose. A friend of mine and I were going to a common friend’s house for a birthday party. Somehow my friend had not brought a present. Perhaps he wanted to give cash in a cover. Since, I had one or two thins to carry my friend offered to carry the gift packet (a bit large one) which was in my hand. When we reached the party house my friend handed over the gift (my gift) to the hosts. (Perhaps without realising that I had to present the gift.) Wonder what the hosts thought. They might have seen the actual fact when they opened the packet?
There is now an innovation in gift giving. People nowadays gift you with gift vouchers. You can go to the shop and get any item you like. This is no doubt a fine idea. But there is one small hitch. The recipient may sleep over the matter and forget to go to the shop to collect the gift. Would it be a helpful thing to indicate the last date for collecting the gift?
A recent development in the gamut of gifts is that gifts have become somewhat commercialised. Gifts are offered galore by producers of goods to their buyers. Buy one, take one free is the perennial slogan nowadays. Another type of hidden gifts is 10 per cent or 25 per cent increase in the quantity sold (for the same old price) in many cases like toothpaste, face creams and so on.
To conclude, I would like to mention that gifts need not be merely material things. When a person is an accomplished individual we say he is a gifted person. We also use the word gift in an idiom ‘gift of the gab’. Above all, this piece of writing is my gift to you, my esteemed readers.
A RECENT DEVELOPMENT IN THE GAMUT OF GIFTS IS THAT GIFTS HAVE BECOME SOMEWHAT COMMERCIALISED. GIFTS ARE OFFERED GALORE BY PRODUCERS OF GOODS TO THEIR BUYERS. BUY ONE, TAKE ONE FREE IS THE PERENNIAL SLOGAN NOWADAYS.
Laughter heals the body because, laughter is the portrait of life.