We’ve heard of looking a gift horse in the mouth but not actually putting the gift horse in the mouth.
But such an event has taken place and it involves French President François Hollande.
A camel given as a gift to him by leaders in Mali after French troops prevented Islamist groups from invading the south of the country was put in the care of a family as the French prez could not travel with the beast of burden.
The family mistaking this gesture ate the hapless animal which Hollande had joked he would use to get around the killer traffic in Paris. It now appears that a bigger and better camel will grace chez Hollande sometime in the future.
The art of gift giving is fraught with danger if past examples are anything to go by. A gift of a Bible signed by Ronald Reagan and a cake shaped like a key (to symbolise an opening of better relations between Iran and the US) were apparently once sent to Tehran.
On landing there, then national security advisor Robert McFarlane and his party were allegedly thrown in the clink, the cake gobbled up and the Bible presumably thrown away.
We Indians are very good in the gift taking department but a bit short in the gift giving one.
When we do hand one over to foreign dignitaries, it is normally some substandard item which is grossly overbilled. Or we recycle gifts.
That ghastly tea set you gave your cousin thrice removed could well end up back with you one fine day.
As you may have discerned from our early editorials, we writers are not on top of the list come gift-giving season.
However, we rejoice in watching other receive in the hope that one fine day, someone will make an address error and send us something.
Mind you, we set our sights pretty low so it won’t break anyone’s bank balance to toss a few odds and ends our way.
And be sure we’ll send you a return gift, a volume of our collected editorial works. Any givers?