Accepting gifts from relatives

Rekha`s elder sister Rema and her husband Sudhir have come down to India from the Gulf.

What kabuliwalas were in the 70s, the Gulfwalas are today. They always come back with goodies for everybody. This being the Christmas season, I wouldn`t be off target if I compared them to Santa Claws. Oops! Santa Clause.

Mobile Phone: Nokia N70Living up to the expectations – in fact even exceeding them – they bought me Nokia N70. They had called me one month earlier to check what I wanted.

“We are coming to India next month. Anything we can bring for you?” It was my brother-in-law on the speaker phone with my sister-in-law listening.

My parents have always taught me to refuse at least three times before accepting anything. So, I quickly said: “Nothing for me please. Nothing for me please. Nothing for me please,” and waited for them to respond.

It was my sister-in-law who spoke next: “No Rajan, we want to gift you something. Thought we should check with you and buy you something you need.”

I had only three seconds to respond. The character of a man is decided in these three seconds. I had a few options – refusing their gift and telling them that I would be excited if they stayed with us for a few days, was the best option. The worst option was to list out the things I wanted from the Gulf – barring petrol of course.

With the fear that they might give in any moment and say, “OK then, no gift for you this time”, I replied: “I really think you should not take all the trouble.”

“It is no trouble at all. In an hour`s time we are going out for shopping and we could get you whatever you want.” That was my brother-in-law.

My mind went racing. I had bought gifts for so many people (none exceeding Rs 300/-). Before I walk into a store, I have always asked myself a few questions –

  • Do I really need to gift this guy – will he be useful to me?
  • Will this guy ever gift me back?
  • Will this gift ensure better results when I forward a resume to him?
  • Is there a possibility that I am overdoing it – will he/she be happy with a Rs 200/- gift?

My mind came back to the present. I had to quickly come up with a gift item…else I might be gifted with a Gillette deo, a Gillette shaving foam and a Gillette shampoo (if at all Gillette makes that). The problem with suggesting a gift was …I didn`t know their budget and I didn`t know what the Gulf is famous for, besides fuel of course.

  • If they were in Iraq…I could have asked for an armored tank.
  • If they were in Palestine, I could have asked for an AK-47.
  • If they were in Pakistan, I could have asked for a kilogram of RDX.
  • If they were in Russia, I could have asked for a pinch of Polonium.
  • If they were in Netherlands, I could have asked for some cocaine. Apparently, it is legal to buy and sell drugs there.

Since they were sitting in the Gulf, I said: “I am fine with anything as long as it is a Nokia N70 phone.”

They reached Chennai today and I have my Nokia N70. The problem is….now my wife wants to gift them something. I tried to argue…but the argument ended with a cold stare from Rekha when I said: “Why can`t we cancel the gifts…I can give them back the Nokia N70…and we wouldn`t have to buy them anything.”

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