This is perhaps the most boring errand that I have had to run for my wife. It even beats making tea at 6.30 a.m. when the time is just right to pull at the bed-sheet and cuddle against some warm body in the neighbor`s bed.
Sarat Chandran is my school friend (we studied X, XI & XII together -he studied…and I took care of the ‘together` bit) and if I were left alone, I would have never bought a gift for his marriage – which is today.
I never encourage gifts…except when I am at the receiving end. I have followed the same principle throughout my life…and perhaps that is why we got only three gifts for my marriage – one that was intended for the next marriage hall but landed in ours by mistake, one that I had sent myself…faking the from address to Tom Hanks, B8, Pine Street, Hollywood, US of A and the third one that came from Julia Roberts, Gandhi Street, Vivekananda Nagar, Hollywood, US of A. I promise…I did not send the Julia Roberts one.
This is the first marriage I am attending in Chennai with my legally wedded wife in tow. It is still illegal to take along Swapna, Preeti and Mumtaz. And because, Rekha would not move an inch before the gift was bought…I was forced to spend close to Rs 500 (according to my math… even Rs 100/- is close to Rs 500) on a gift for Sarat Chandran.
Initially, I was reluctant…but all of a sudden it struck me….Sarat works with SEBI in Mumbai and is a Charted Accountant (I think that`s what he did …)…and that means lots of money…so I should consider this only as an investment.
Though I was not sure..if Sarat would be able to make it to my daughter`s marriage (yeah…Rekha wants a daughter so that` she can dress her up in all kinds of cool clothes and put on loads of make up…I want a boy so that I could make him Serena Williams and earn money)…I still decided to buy him a gift.
Rekha and I went to Odyssey, Adayar, Chennai….its not a to-die-for kind of place. But Odyssey would do for some old hat…whom you have not spoken to for ten years…and all of a sudden are forced to buy a marriage gift because he remembered your permanent address (now you know why I hate giving permanent addresses).
I hope he doesn`t read this….and if he does…I hope he has a sense of humour.
The problem with gifts is…they are surrounded by other gifts. So Rekha tells me…
“You know, it is seven months since we married.”
“Yes. September 10, 2004, wasn`t it?”
“No…stupid…it was September 8, 2004.”
(I remember Sept 10, coz that was the first day of our honeymoon trip)
“Oh yeah…how could I forget…” my voice trails off.
“And you are yet to buy me a gift…so bad of you.” By now, her tone has changed…she is not the domineering wife who I am scared of. Instead, she is the gentle pet that wraps itself around me.
“Yes…so bad on my part. What is it that you would want now – you name it and you get it.”
I realize my mistake the moment the words escape my lips…but there is no Control Z (undo) in real life and I just wait for her reply.
She thinks hard…and I know she is looking at all the gifts on the showcase…and is not impressed by any. It takes her a full one minute before she replies…
“Nah…I don`t want to be asking for any gift. It should be spontaneous. Maybe, when we go to LifeStyle you can be spontaneous in your gifting and not wait for me to ask.”
As always I was check-mated. Now, Lifestyle is a die-for-place…and everything is at least 20% more costly that it is outside. I don`t say anything.
Soon we buy a gift for Sarat. As for the gift for Rekha…that will have to wait for another day. Whoever said Die Another Day….