Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â To give or not to give on Deepavali, is almost as much a profound question as the one which the bard of Avon penned down in â€œHamlet.â€ No mortal in the country is ever spared this excruciating question which even the wisest and benevolent gods would have a difficult time deciding the answer.
Gifts are supposed to be tokens of love, meant for the ones we love and care about. We donâ€™t usually give presents to people we donâ€™t like, leave alone those whom we hate. They are neither bribes nor promotional items whom we give to every Tom, Dick, Hari and Nanda. Gifts are never meant to be taken lightly or dragged down into the slot of the ordinary or compulsory. It would be considered a sacrilege by many devout gift givers learned in the sacred traditions and rituals of gifting.
In a fair world, I would have been offered perhaps the same options as St. Nicholas who decides what or whom not to give depending upon the behavior of the children. But and traditional social protocols proclaims that my Diwali gifts should neither carry any bias nor should anyone be left out. It was obligatory to get presents for almost everyone in the family and other relations, when hardly it is true that I love every single one of them.
How do you even love such a boisterously arrogant uncle whose sole purpose in life is to eat tuna fish sandwich along with cream, and continually brag on the price of his new car?! And his son, the slob of a cousin with his double chin doesnâ€™t deserve any sympathy either or even a rest couch for that matter. In fact, what my cousin desperately required was long hours of deprivation from his video games, a regimen of heavy exercises and more restrictions to the refrigerator. And how I wish I was in the position to give him those, and with all wholeheartedness would I have done so! But lifeâ€™s not always a wish that comes along with tampered cards. Often times or most of the times, the play only delivers a flop instead of a house or full card that we wished for.
Now that the festival of Deepavali has opened all my cards and laid them bare on display I got no choice but to bite the bullet and get presents for my uncle and his family too. Getting a gift for my aunt was comparatively simple as she is the epitome of hypochondria with a featured set list of every imaginary diseases and sickness in her head and body. A gift hamper featuring an assortment of Ayurvedic and other natural tonics, which were sold expensively at show rooms, from TV channels and on the internet as natural cures for every type of ailments but in reality were harmless duds, so pathetic that they are non-reactive and neither effective nor harmful, did the magic cure and she is now the happiest woman in the world, this side of the planet. The difficult step was now for my uncle and his son but after much thought I finally got them a holiday hamper for two weeks to this exotic countryside where my uncle can have all the tunas he wanted and fresh cream direct from cows and the small farms there, and in the meantime providing me a memorable 14 days of relaxation and tranquillity without any interference. My aunt was also extremely relieved as she can now focus more quality time and happily brood on all her imaginary illnesses without any worries from the father and son.
As for my uncle, he was smitten by the tunas and the cows in the countryside that he extended the stay for another week and sought out a place to buy and spend summers there, much to the chagrin of my cousin who was ill suited for the country life devoid of auto-mobiles and fast foods or pizza delivery. But I guess those long walks and the deprivation from junk foods did him good as he looked rosy and much healthier on the return. The fact that he now hates the smell of fish and the sight of cattle, and that my uncle sold his expensive car is a different story altogether.