Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Thoughtful Gift

The art of giving gifts is a rare one. More so a thoughtful one. I was happy to be at the receiving end of one such thoughtful gift from my sister Nalini and my nephew Abhishek. She proposed and he disposed, and lo and behold, I received a fine bookshelf delivered from an online store that sounds like a fine dining dish.

It is a sleek, foldable, wooden book shelf. pretty to look at, compact and easy to handle. It has class written all over it and just by sitting there and looking pretty, it  might inspire me to be better. It is by far the most expensive gift I have ever received which makes me even more thrilled. Thanks Abhishek and Nalini - truly grateful.
Proud owner, I can see some books inside the shelf that are gifts as well

It got me thinking of the gifts I received - the ones that I remember. I got many, fortunate enough to have received love from so many who found me worthy of a gift. The first big one was one that took my breath away - an entire bag of toys when I was probably five or six. Now for someone who is used to one toy or two, a whole load of them at once knocked me out. This gift was from some uncle types, don't know who. I don't remember the toys either (save one small imitation of an open top Willys jeep that was my favorite one, am still searching for it) but I remember the thrill of a dream come true. I remember a rather unexpected gift from Sister Mercy who gave us glittering stickers when we left her class in class 2. Lovely little fairy stickers. One cricket bat from Mom, among the many others she bought for me, this one with a fish oil cover (another one that I am searching for). I remember my father buying me a proper cricket ball when I asked him for a cork ball. I just did not know what to do with that considering we only played gully cricket - but Dad knew nothing about the game. One big plane that Mythily and Chanti bought from their excursion to Srinagar.

One book 'The Art of Fast Bowling' that Nalini bought for me when I was in the seventh gave me huge insights into that art. Grip, outswinger, inswinger, cutters - ooh, it was a treasure. I covered it with a plastic cover and lost it somewhere (another one of those precious things that I still search for in my sleep). But it had the most impact on me as a cricketer and I remember using the leg cutter in practice and bowling D. Suresh. I could not believe that it worked. All thanks to that book. A cricket sweater, cricket shoes from Mom and then come the pair of North Star shoes I bought. Nifty stuff. First cool pair of shoes. But I know I stretched Mom's purse that day.

A Phillips car deck that livened up my life, half sponsored by Mom and the endless amount of music that followed. Some superb music that Rakesh Bahl bought for me from Dubai (including Uriah Heep), loads of music that Choudary sent me from Australia almost 20-30 cassettes, Subbu sent from the US, the T shirts and the sweat shirts, jackets and not to forget the many pairs of socks that Naresh gifted me which helped during my playing days. A pair of Nike shoes that Laxmipathi Raju donated for my cause which helped my batting, white with a red emblem. I must also remember the pair of expensive SG spikes gifted to me by ITC, thanks to Nishi Mukherjee, that saw me through the Ranji Trophy days. no sponsorships those days and spikes burned  a hole in your pocket. Knowing myself I'd have quit playing rather than buy shoes. I cannot forget the cricket kit that Venkat Reddy, our PD gifted me in the final year - the first kit I ever owned. Sadly, after the career had ended.

Richard Bach's 'One' gifted by Rithu and Shobhs which still lurks somewhere, yellowed and dog eared. Books aplenty and music from Shobhs - chief among which were a bunch of dictionaries, a thesaurus and a computer that cost a bomb then. All thoughtful stuff that helped me write and pursue the writing passion (I must add up and see if I have earned enough from writing to cover that computer yet). But then among the music I remember Morning ragas and On Every Street that Shobhs gifted me. Another one from Shobhs I treasure is the Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul. Superb stories in that. (Don't know where I will end up as a writer but certainly not for lack of support.)

A lovely painting presented by Mohan.

A black Titan watch, my first, from Bavagaru. An blue Arrow shirt that seemed too expensive to wear but which kind of made me experience what real comfort is -gifted by Ram. It really showed me why somethings are priced as they are - me generally sticking to the lower end stuff. A whole load of books I bought thanks to gift vouchers given by my bank - 1000 bucks got me about 10-15 books then including Ulysses, Oscar Wilde's best and some other exotic stuff.

And one of the top most in the list - a 2 GB ipod that Ram gifted me which I still use, which has given me endless hours of pleasure on the road and at home. Rugged, weather beaten but still on. That was another of those very thoughtful gifts right up with the computer, the dictionaries, the bookshelf and others. Sun glasses from Ram, t shirts and several garments from the US from Ratan Raj. I do like the way Jaleel drops in at book launches with his thoughtful gifts - a swiss knife at the Men Within and a lovely shirt at If You Love Someone. Satish and his sweatshirt (still around after more than a decade), tracks and several other forms of sporty clothing that we put to good use in our walks when he is in town.

The delicately carved wooden crane, made by the deaf and dumb boys of Boys Town, which they gifted me when I gave a lecture there.

I still have a little panda car hanging that Vajra gifted me. One expensive pair of Reeboks Suvarna Raj brought. Sunnie gifted me a laptop and also one of the most valuable things - a contraption to fix up the ipod in the car. That really set my life on fire. And much more - last time he was here he gave me a pen drive just lie that - fine fellow Sunnie man. The kind who gives you the shirt off his back. Cute coasters from Lords from Shubha, a history of the cricket bat from Geeta and Vasu, Cross pens from Monica and an expensive watch. One pen from Tharian that he gifted me in Mumbai - with a lovely note - still have the note, pen long gone. A Glen Fidditch recently from another nephew Avinash, but since I don't drink I threw a party.

The lovely Auli trip thanks to Vasu where I saw snow for the first time.

A Levis from Ranjan recently. The many little notes that I get from Anjali professing her love for me and declaring that I am indeed the world's best nanna. You know, I am only getting started. Oh, the list is endless - but I seemed to have got books, music, clothes mainly.

But what one remembers about gifts is the thought behind them really, the manner in which it is given, more than the gift. I can't forget the manner in which Mom would give me an apple every birthday - somehow when I think of a gift the apple comes first for some reason, and then the top 10 follow. But seriously, for every smile, every good word, every prayer, every thought, every deed, every admonishment, every worry, every single moment each one of you have sent my way, along with all those many gifts I have not mentioned here for sheer want of space and time, I cannot tell you how truly blessed I feel. And this is only the material gifts - if one adds time spent, happiness shared, burdens halved - there's much more. You know what, this is not a bad exercise for everyone to do - write down all the gifts you received and you can see what you really are getting from the world, how truly blessed you are.

But for now, let me revel in my abundance. In the love that is directed at me. Makes a nice change from the usual cribbing.

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