Saturday, November 19, 2005

What to Gift?

This is the second most important question in The Universe after the existential Who Am I? What to gift for your friend/colleague/relative/boss/somebody's wedding/birthday/anniversary/send off/whatever.

During college days things were simpler. Any poor soul who had invited us for some family function will forever be cursed by his family. A group of 15-20 people descend on the venue mainly for the food. Those who have not been in Engineering College Hostels will not understand this craving. Since all this 15-20 have to be on stage, the gift should be sufficiently big and at the same time not more than Rs. 400-500 (Rs. 20-25 per head in 1996 value). And the most suitable gift of this kind was the Stainless Steel Water Filter, with its double cylindrical volume. I have lost count of the weddings were I was part of the gang proudly gifting a big water filter and smiling for the photograph on stage.

Sanity returned when I started going to work and earning. By now the gift value had moved to Rs. 100.00 per head and we usually asked the recipient what he wanted(of course mentioning the budget) and gifted what he treasured then a pair of shoes or a Jeans or whatever it was.

After marriage came this issue of having to gift separately and not as part of the boys. Now the ideal gift is the Silver (not eversilver) Kamakshi Lamp. The beauty is it is available from Rs. 400-Rs.1000.00. So depending on the thickness of your wallet you can gift. We got about 10-15 of these lamps as our marriage gift, each gifter having read this post before it was written. So I have been gifting lamps in all the functions I attend and still have 5 more to go.

The best gift I ever received was a basket ball. During my courtship period, the movie Alai Payuthe was released and naturally I was crazy about that romantic movie. Especially the song Kaadhal Sadugudu where Madhavan and Shalini go around their half built home playing Basket Ball and other close contact games. I used to hear the song in a loop for days. My colleague was aware of it and so he came up with the brilliant idea of gifting me a Basket Ball. How could I explain the significance of this gift at home? So the best gift lies in its packed condition in my village.


Deepa said...

Its hard to remember the number of wallclocks and Pillayar statues/photos/paintings that one gets for any domestic function.

Nilu said...

If some desi is getting married, the chances of both the husband an the wife knowing enough about sexual positions is pretty slim.

I suggest an illustrated version of Kama Sutra with explanations. It is useful.

Lakshmi said...


Nice blog.

Interesting to note that you are from karaikudi area when we are actually looking for people who can correct our chettiar accent for a play we are planning to stage:-))

Chenthil said...

Deepa, I thought wall clocks were out of fashion now.

Nilu, don't assume a lot :-)

Lakshmi, will mail you

tilotamma said...

Romba nalla gift, event hough you haven't used it!

tilotamma said...

Gift giving should become out of fashion. In the US people register with some big store with a website which has a lot of the stuff they want. People can pick from the things they have selected and pay for it.

there are many things big and small or a group of friends can get a big item if they want.

The same thing even for kids - people just register with Baby'r us/toysrus.

That way there is no headache about getting too many of the same thing/unwanted things.

Of course for a friend's b'day you still have to think

Thangavel said...

I always love to present books to the people whom I know very well. Chenthil, Uyirmai pathipagam is bringing out a book about Sundara Ramasamy written by Jayamohan on 27/11/05 at Chennai. For more details, visit Thinnai or my Puliamaram blog. Hope, we can meet there?

krish_lakshman said...

Probably, we get more materialistic and utitlitarian with age.

When I vacated my rented apartment in Coimbatore 7 years back, the houseowner's grand daughter(5 years old then) gave me a piece of paper with some meaningless scribbles. She said "I would have gifted something better if I had known earlier that you ar leaving today. This paper is what I could give now".

That piece of paper is the only 'gift' i remember i have received in my whole life.

Chakra Sampath said...

When i started reading the first line of your post, i thot abt the "water filter" thingy we used to gift during our college days. Bingo.. you have also done that.. perhaps, its the case with most college gangs.

Chenthil said...

Tilo, the guy who presented the basket ball will forever be my good friend :-).

The gift voucher stuff is picking up here too, IDBI even had a gift debit card for Rs. 1000,5000 value.

Thangavel, presenting books is a good option only if the receiver loves books. Not many are. I saw the function notice, I am now in Tuticorin, will let you know if I will be coming.

Krish, the value of the gift is decided at the moment of receiving. If it makes the receiver smile, it is a good gift.

Chakra :-).

RKS said...

A week ago myself and my friend were wondering what to ask our parents to get for a friend for wedding(it was in india)..we decided "cash is ideal"..otherwise there will be yet another Kamakshi velaku casualty!!

tilotamma said...

we have been doing cash 'moi' forever haven't we? Gift voucher is more or less the same

Nilu said...

I totally detest the idea of a gift voucher or cash. It just screams "I have no imagination whatsoever"

I don't gift often and if I do, I usually do so to impress someone. So there is a lot of thought that goes in ....a "moi" is easily forgotten. I don't want to be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lord, hope I don't get myself in to too much trouble for agreeing with Nilu on his view that receiving/giving cash/gift vouchers as present is so boring.


Anand said...

Very much as you said, the food @ the college mess would suck and we ( the hostel gang ) would wait for an invitation for a family function. Apart from the gifts we would have a set of people who would help in taking the marriage photos, managing the event & offcourse arranging a bus to the location and make it as an excursion.

Lucky U , that non of the Kamakshi Lamp has the presenters name inscribed on them.


Anonymous said...

Chances are that you will get more than one wall clock or a kamatchi vilakku or a wrist gist voucher is not a bad idea...

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

:) I loved the story behind the basketball !

Anonymous said...


You are a re-gifter :-)

Maitri said...

Uma, cash is the ultimate gift certificate. As for it being boring, you can find lots of creative uses for cash!

Dabbler, why don't you reacquire the basketball and explain its symbolism to your wife? The story behind it only shows your romantic side.

tilotamma said...