Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Anjali and the Pleasure of Receiving Gifts

One of the things that always makes me smile is the way Anjali receives her gifts. The eyes go wide as she comes running to you and she asks with a small nod of her head - 'For me?'. The pleasure of getting the gift is so evident as she hops around by your side until you hand it over to her. And once she gets it in her hand she announces to whoever is around, that so-and-so got her a gift, her eyes twinkling with joy. By now whoever got her the gift is floating in heaven at all the joy that he or she has brought to this child and reveling in the importance of the moment. Then the gift is opened, tried out instantly, with more of 'Wows' and 'You got it for me?' and other such happy exclamations, and in most occasions, ended with a hug and a kiss to the giver with a huge 'Thank you'.

The enthusiasm with which she receives the gifts is so infectious that one can see everyone around smiling at the sheer joy that the gift has brought. It is probably also one of the reasons why she gets gifts from all her indulging uncles and aunts who gift her all that she asks for - toys, dolls, books, chocolates, laddus, puzzles, clothes, crowns and what not. And there are endless discussions of how she reacted among themselves and among their other friends and relatives that you know how much the reaction means. It is something that made me think about how wonderful it makes the giver feel when the receiver actually appreciates the gesture, the trouble he or she has gone to buy that gift. And it is never about the value of the gift - it could be a small trinket, a hand kerchief even, but if it is given with good intent and received with enthusiasm - the process of giving becomes far more larger than someone gifting all the gold and wealth in the world without any feeling and the other person receiving it without any enthusiasm.

I have been guilty for so many years of not knowing how to receive a gift. I would mumble a thanks or even stare uncomfortably at this new burden that this person has given me. My entire demeanour was that of being under obligation now until I repaid the debt with another gift. It was never thought of as a simple act of appreciation. of someone just giving you a small material token of being the person you are what you mean to them. I also put that gift away, not opening it until later, as if it was some hidden animal. And the first thoughts with gifts were always to do with how expensive or something in terms of value - never in terms of the gesture. There were many gifts of course - books, toys, clothes, cards, all kinds of stuff - and I remember most people who gave me those. I probably never thanked them properly or even showed them how much I appreciated their gesture.

It was someplace later when I learnt the importance of accepting gifts graciously. Of accepting gifts with enthusiasm. Of accepting kind and loving gestures without judgment. And when I started doing it consciously I understood the joy with which they bought gifts for me.I opened the gifts right then and there and started to enjoy this little addition to my life. The giver would then have the pleasure of seeing my reaction as well - much as any person who creates anything wants to know the reaction of the person who is enjoying the fruits of his creation. And slowly, gifts were no longer seen as material things, were seen for the thought behind them and were being accepted graciously and with enthusiasm. But nothing I can do can ever match the enthusiasm that Anjali brings so spontaneously.

I now realise that compliments are gifts as well. A kind word, a thought and a smile are gifts as well. When we receive the gifts graciously and enthusiastically, we make the giver feel that the effort has been worth it. And if we can accept whatever life brings to us with enthusiasm, life will be happy to bring more of the same to us.

1 comment:

Shobha Nargundkar said...

wow! that was some introspection...very true for most of us I think...I am now ready to receive....and grateful in anticipation...

Just as we feel good giving, we must enjoy receiving...then life is in balance..otherwise we might be forced to receive due to illness,penury etc..i think