Gift shopping

I spent a good three hours last Sunday on a wedding gift. Why, oh, why do people get married? It is such a task getting them wedding gifts. I mean, it is difficult enough trying to buy one person a gift. Now double that number, make it two sets of dislikes, idiosyncrasies, wishes et al. Garnish that with the whole cosy-giggly-apprehensive-“getting hitched & settling down balanced with kissing freedom goodbye/kissing one person for the rest of my life” feeling and what are you left with? A whole list of no-nos when it comes to gifts and practically zilch ideas.

What happens when you put a shop-o-phobic into such a situation? Plenty of wasted time, furious muttering and one insipid post..that’s what happens. I don’t conform to the typical female obsession for shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against new things. I love everything bright and shiny and new. I just wish I could pick them out of thin air and not do the routine of trudging through stores, window-shopping, bargain-hunting, price comparing, trying and the works. Personally I prefer shopping alone. That way no one can talk me out of my penchant for loud colours and weird curios. And by the time someone gets to pass judgement it is too late. My life is my own and all that jazz.

But what to do when shopping for someone else? Make that some-people else. I discarded books, perfumes, music and such things as being too ‘one-person-personal’. Little statuettes of gods and godesses seem to be the order of the day but I can’t bear to propagate religion any more than required. Ah….the ghost of idealism stands in my way, yet again. Should I settle for the bane of every intelligent, creative-thinking person’s existance and gift them shiny stainless steel vessels wrapped in pink paper? Yeaaaarrrrrrghhhh…..I’m not that far gone (but I probably will be soon, at the rate at which people are jumping into matrimony)

Wandering through the lifestyle markets that have become so hip I was struck by the amount of trash that get turned out. I mean, who on earth would use a ‘matted-silver-finish’ dustbin? Or a gilded box with ugly enamel to hold tissues in a car? Probably nobody. But plenty of people still buy them.

While on gift-buying, ever notice how difficult it is to buy birthday/Christmas/Diwali/any occasion gifts? I follow a regular cycle now. I think, I frown, I ‘idea-te’, then I discard all ideas and drop into the nearest bookstore. When it comes down to it, nothing beats a good book for a gift. Yes, I know that not everyone likes reading. But I believe that there is a book for every person, every moment, every mood. All I need to do is find it. Easier said than done. But a tangible, manageable task that….did I mention extremely satisfactory as well?

I once got a bouquet of purple orchids for my birthday. They looked amazing and I got plenty ragged by my friends that night over ‘my new admirer’. Some time later, I dated the same guy and mentioned this to him. He gaped at me and said…”Uh…so?” I said “Well, purple orchids are supposed to mean ‘I await your favors'” To which he coughed and said “I didn’t know that. I barely knew you then and I didn’t know what else to get so I thought of flowers and these were the best looking” *Crash* (the sound of shattered illusions) Oh well, didn’t someone say it is the thought that counts? Ah well, at least someone thought of me, even if the thoughts were different from what I thought.

One of my best gift ideas if I say so myself (yes, I do say so!) was to a friend on her 18th birthday. I didn’t have a big budget and she didn’t have a wide circle of friends who remembered her birthday. So….how to make the lady feel special…was the question. Here’s what she got: A birthday rhyme every hour on the hour, extolling her virtues (and several flaws phrased in mean, witty verses). And after she tolerated my hollering, she got to dip into a guadily wrapped box (plastic covered with tinsel paper) and pull out one thing. Through the day she retreived chocolates, junk jewellery, a cassette, popcorn, a comic book, a stuffed toy and all other kinds of rubbish….she loved it. So yes, I conform to the rules of womanhood (refer to Dr.Gray who says that women go ape over multiple small-value gifts rather than one expensive one)

Ah well…..such moments remind me of what a pleasure it is to give to the people you care for. Of course it is a bit of a pain if the people you care for are male and have no hobbies. Hand me another belt or wallet, please. Yawwwwn…

It is lovely to surprise people though. Sometimes the only thing my gifts get out of people are a laugh. Which is good. What better gift can you give someone than a smile? Lots of things I suppose but I’m not playing Santa Claus.

Don’t even ask what I finally ended up buying for the soon-to-be-weds. Suffice to say, I didn’t give up hunting till I found what I wanted. But this may be the very last time I landed the ‘right gift’. I’m running out of ideas!!!!Stainless steel utensil market, here I come!

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About IdeaSmith

IdeaSmith is the digital doppelganger of Ramya Pandyan (intrepid train-traveller and frequent spouter of post-midnight rhymes and rants). As IdeaSmith she battles obscurity and slays boredom with her stories about men, books, digitalia and Mumbai. She performs live and also blogs, tweets, Instagrams, Facebooks, +G’s, Youtubes and Goodreads all as IdeaSmith. Ramya is a blogger, digital storyteller and spoken word performer. She also runs a forum for aspiring writers called Alphabet Sambar. Tweet-bomb her at @ideasmithy.

Posted on February 2, 2006, in Hormone hangover, On a lighter note.. and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Buying a gift is an art in itself, something that, I must confess, has completely passed me by. But it also depends on who you’re buying the gift for. If it’s an obligation,it’ll be a pain to have to go through shop after shop, looking for that one thing that you hope will not only not seem insubstantial but will actually be appreciated and even have some utility value. I remember teaming up with a close friend, long ago, to buy a wall clock (I know!) as a wedding gift for an older business associate. Guess what? The clock adorns the pride of place in his house and he says he loved it! So, next time, maybe the stainless steel shop won’t be such a bad place to go to 🙂

  2. yeah! completely agree with ur idea of couple small gifts instead of a Big One…and gifts..i dont know when i ever stop buying them.. feels like when on celebration is over the next one pops up ..and the cycle continues:))

  3. gifts are more an attribute of the energy of the giver….

  4. you seem like you need to be introduced to the concept of “recycling gifts” wherein, in case you receive gifts which you dont like, or you receive gifts that you already possess, you recyle them into another package and gift it on the next appropriate ocassion.. this helps a lof of shopping-abhorers like you and me…

    i am trying to implement this, but the only problem is that, nobody gifts me anything… so i essentially have nothing to recycle…

    but i live on the hope that someday, i WILL try 🙂

  5. when one of my closest friends got married…I made her an apron (from scratch) with the word ‘The world’s best cook’ …..and below that in smaller print ‘gave it to me ‘ embroidered on it 🙂
    she being the i -hate-stepping-into the kitchen types loved it!

    nothing like a personal touch I guess..of course its tough when u dunno the people getting amrried too well!

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