A Calmer You: Diwali for some, Diwala for some!
No one loves this season more than I do. There’s festive spirit in the air, and of course, viruses of different kinds. Both bind the nation like nothing else does. Happily sneezing away to glory, we all put up status messages claiming to love the festivities all around.india Updated: Nov 02, 2013 17:23 IST
No one loves this season more than I do. There’s festive spirit in the air, and of course, viruses of different kinds. Both bind the nation like nothing else does. Happily sneezing away to glory, we all put up status messages claiming to love the festivities all around.
And when we bump into strangers at parties, there’s no risk of running out of conversation starters — “Terrible traffic, no?”, “This change of weather is awful”, “Have you noticed the smog?” and so on. And then the one question that everyone is seen asking everyone else — “Aapki Diwali gifting ho gayi?” For businessmen, the answer to this one question is more important than their annual balance sheet, for homemakers, this question could initiate non-stop verbal diarrhoea about the obligation of giving gifts to all rishtedaars, and for young boys and girls, it brings nerve- wracking visions of accompanying their parents to homes of near strangers, overloaded with gift boxes. And then being mock-scolded by mom who says, “Beta, yeh Dolly aunty hain. Namaste karo aur theek se milo” — whatever that “theek se milo” means. Strangely enough, when asked if they are done with gifting everyone in their universe, most people respond by saying they haven’t even begun yet. Even if it is 12 hours to go before Diwali. And these are the same people who were caught asking the building security guard to load gift boxes in their cars at seven in the morning the previous day, so that they beat the maddening evening traffic. Anyway, I totally love the concept of Diwali gifting. And when I tell you my crazy theory behind loving it, you may do so, too. I think this whole jingbang of exchanging gifts during the festival gives us some very important lessons in life. Lessons that we may know of, already, but don’t realise.
Here's what I mean...
2. Size matters: Ahem... and so does packaging. In Diwali too, just as in most other things in life. Just the other day, I got a gift packet the size of a center table. It was beautifully packaged with unidentifiable species of wild flowers painted in gold and silver stuck on the shining wrapping paper. Wow...it’s so big, collectively squealed my daughter and the maid, visibly impressed. Extremely suspicious of how an ex-colleague, who would cause anxious moments even before paying his two hundred bucks in contributory office parties, had become so generous, I started opening it. Please note that I’ve deliberately used the continuous tense instead of simply saying ‘opened it’...because opening it was quite a task in itself. There were layers on it — several. Discarding the wrapping sheets, and the newspaper sheets, and the cardboard, and another set of newspaper sheets (this time the one I work for!), and then enough dried straw to feed 250 cows in Bihar, we reached the gift — a rather nice wooden wall-clock, of the usual size. Still not sure why it was packed like a fragile Taj Mahal, I was pretty amused when I turned it around to see a Dinesh Verma’s card addressed to my colleague, sticking out of the battery compartment. It seemed like Mr Verma’s last ditch effort to ensure no one recycled his gift without it being exposed that it originated from him. Anyway, the sheer size and packaging of the gift has won hearts in my household, and my daughter has neatly saved all the gold and silver coloured beads and bushes for her school project. Point taken — Size matters.
3. Expectations cause stress: While growing up, I had a neighbour who was at an influential post in the income tax department. Every year around Diwali, it was a common sight to see a rush of people ringing his doorbell, carrying gifts of all shapes and sizes. As kids, we would envy them like hell, what with us having to mostly do with Bubbly aunty’s cups and saucers from Sadar Bazaar for excitement. His wife once confided in a neighbour that her husband had a list of ‘expected gift givers’ ready before every Diwali, and would get stressed if any of the expected people didn’t turn up to wish him. And then one day, he retired from service. Need I say more?
Sonal Kalra wants to start a part-time business of ‘gift packaging and recycling consultancy’. Aapki Diwali gifting ho gayi? Mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at facebook.com/sonalkalra13.
Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/sonalkalra