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Short Take: Meaningful gift
October 11, 2014
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Meaningful gift

Most of us love receiving gifts on various occasions, but when it comes to gifting someone, it is one decision that could really get one’s blood pressure high.

Gift giving is an old tradition, but one that is clearly open to interpretation.

Recently, I was invited to my friend’s bridal shower, as I was unsure of the tradition of gifts at such events; I asked a mutual friend if a present was required.

She told me that since neither of us would be attending her wedding it would be better if we gave her the wedding gift during the shower itself. I agreed and then began a quest to find the best most suitable gift for the bride.

It was quite a quest, but thankfully a friend and I decided on a combined one.

After a series of phone calls, texts and exchanges of photos of stuff that we liked and thought to be appropriate we found the almost perfect gift.

After the shower, when I sat to think about all the discussions, time spent on the search for the perfect gift, I realised that gift giving could be altered a little bit. I decided that the next time I had to give a present on the occasion of a wedding, I would do something meaningful and unique.

Perhaps I would donate to charity on behalf of the happy couple or capture a beautiful moment (in any form) that could later become a memory that would remain with them forever.

Have you ever faced a dilemma like mine when searching for the perfect gift? If yes, how about thinking of a more innovative meaningful present that would truly do justice to the essence of gift giving?
Vismay Anand

Farewell notes

My biggest challenge this week was to read and reply to the farewell messages of a group of participants of an e-learning course that I was facilitating for the past two months.

Even though reading the forum posts from each one of them was a terrific experience, the effort to concise and suitably reply them was challenging.

Distant learning and interaction has become tempting to people who find time a serious concern when planning their day at work and home.

For me, there is lot more to learn from people who live away and follow different culture, lifestyle, work ethics and language. But the farewell notes reflect a lot more than that.

They bring people close to each other.

Farewell time is for recollections and corrections. It’s the time for planning a refresher session and for regaining the thought process.

However, a meaningful end note will always be a critical element of success.

Therefore, a well-written farewell note truly recaptures the past of an individual’s understanding.

From my experience, reading such encouraging end notes filled with the true spirit of commitment reaps the confidence towards a bright tomorrow.
Ramachandran Nair, Oman

Buddies forever

Our hearts feel heavy when it comes  to keeping secrets. You need someone with whom you can share any secret with full trust. Who is better for the job than your friend?

But how would you find the trusted one? Because in the modern era, everyone you know or have met a couple of times are termed as a friend, but only a few would have the privilege to call someone a true friend.

This is what I got to learn from the result of a survey conducted in our school about friendship. A majority of students felt that they were very friendly while very few admitted themselves being choosy.

The maximum number of respondents had friends who were schoolmates, while many others had friends among their relatives. A few children said they choose friends who are equally talented in academics while many others just wanted their friends to be good at heart.

The survey also revealed that most of the students felt that standing for their friends in need is very important to maintain a friendship. Others believed that sharing would strengthen friendships. Some other students felt that there should be a better understanding between friends.

I have noticed that many times even if someone gets in trouble due to their friends, he/she would not like his/her friends to be in a problematic situation because of them.

Most of the children want to continue their friendship through thick and thin. I salute such friends for their unbreakable trust and friendship.

It needs only a little amount of cooperation, better understanding and complete trust to lead your friendship to a height many would have just wished for.
Saamia Mujeeb
(Student, Indian High School, Dubai)

Smell sense

I am always amazed by how some people can judge the perfection of a dish just by their olfactory senses, and that too while being occupied with something else in a different room.

I can understand food smelling good or not good, but ascertaining such specifics as less salt or spice or food being half cooked with just the nostrils is beyond me. Oh no, don’t get me wrong.

It doesn’t mean my nose serves only to have a bad cold, it can catch faint smells too. It’s just that my brain wouldn’t function more than what is essential when I am cooking, mainly because cooking for me is more to satisfy hunger than to excel in culinary skills.

Coming to think of it, I do have quite an acute sense of smell. I am usually the first in a group to catch a foul smell. In a movie theatre a part of my attention is diverted by someone’s body odour or unwashed garment. I may probably be the only one who would be walking down a road, a palm clutched to the nostrils. The smell of freshly brewed coffee is intoxicating but the after-taste is sickening.

I have often asked my husband how come he doesn’t always get the smells I get and he says it’s all a matter of tolerance and mind control. His brain wouldn’t identify a smell unless he wanted to.

Maybe he has a point.

I am reminded of an incident that happened a few years ago. My father and I had just stepped out of our house to walk up to the bus stop when a bad smell hit me. There was a man standing some paces away and I was sure the odour came from him. Seeing us he came up to us and introduced himself as our new neighbour. I mumbled something and moved away quickly, the smell hitting me at close quarters. But dad continued talking to him. A few minutes later, when he joined me he said, “God, how his mouth stinks.”

I asked him, “So why didn’t you move away quickly?” He replied, “I just wanted to make sure it was his mouth.”

Vidya Shankar

Brat who bit me

Rogue children get on my nerves.
Are you asking me why I am angry?
Tell some brat to bite your hand and then ask this question.
I was at my friend’s home when he told this naughty child: “Say ‘hi’ to uncle?”
The pampered kid replied: “Hi chesma (specs) uncle.”
“Don’t say that beta (son),” this was his dad.
The boy then tried to climb on my shoulders and in the process pushed down my specs.

This was when his dad gave him a mild slap and the boy turned his ire on me while crying. He bit my hand saying, “It’s all because of you,” and ran towards his loving mom, who hugged him.

What a wonderful family! I escaped in a matter of seconds. Who wants bite marks all over?
R. Ramesh

Global connection

Friendship has no age or border limitations.

The other day I received a phone call from a friend who has also returned from the US recently.

He became my friend through a travel site. He is also a leading book dealer in south India and invited me to his place.

Social media has helped me make several new friends like him from around the globe.

At the end of the day, it is good friends who light up our lives.
K. Ragavan

Clean work

We did It! That was the feeling that joyously kept overflowing in our mind at around 2pm last Saturday.

While boarding on the plane to Bangalore from Abu Dhabi for Eid holidays, I had set some clear plans to act upon my arrival there.

Prior to my departure, I had messaged friends and well-wishers through email and social media about the cleaning of a highly-used pedestrian over bridge built an year ago over the Whitefield Railway crossing.

It was built after a Herculean media and public effort to highlight the difficulties and dangers of people getting killed often while crossing dangerously. Once built, the scenario changed. As any other public utility items, no one cared for it.

A handful of us, including my family and close friends, started the campaign at around 9am.

Not used to such acts, we had no idea how it would progress. However, we were prepared with brooms, garbage bags, gloves, cleaning clothes, bleaching powder, and other necessary items. We kept few brooms here and there on the stretch that anyone interested could join us.

As we progressed, Anand Sivaram, Manager of the Whitefield Railway Station and his staff joined us as also a few members of Kadugodi Police Station.

It was indeed an experience of a special kind.

We received “Thank you”, “Good Job” and also Thumbs up signs from many people who used the bridge during the time we were cleaning.

It was nice to see unknown people readily volunteering and taking the broom from our side and do cleaning work for some time. As a coin has two sides, there were those who passing negative comments too!

At the end of our effort, we landed up with 8 huge garbage bags full of leaves and other carelessly thrown away items on the sky walk. A sad thing was that that people who saw us cleaning and progressing ahead, walked further and threw paper and other waste without any civic concern.

Everyone should contribute to the welfare of the community, wherever we are.
Ramesh Menon

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