On Gift Donkeys
I am not collecting cheaper editions of Omar Khayyam
- Saki, Reginald on Christmas Presents
The earliest known example in literature of a protest against gift donkeys.
What is it about Big Ben alarm clocks, melamine tea sets, porcelain Alpine maidens, glass eyed storks dipping beaks in purple water, paperweights with the logo Arun Pharma, wind chimes with a dolphin motif, posters of kittens / lovers on a sunsety bench / mountain vista with stream, plastic pen stands, plastic desktop messages from God, plastic photo stands, plastic Eiffel towers, plastic anything, miniature idols of sundry Gods, books by blow dried Arindams and above all Eagle thermos flasks that people find so irresistable as gift choices?
Take Eagle flasks. India’s premier wedding gift. The destiny of most Eagles is a corner of a Godrej cupboard. A bit like moth balls but without the smell. I have always imagined the flask, as it changes hands at the wedding reception, looking up despairingly at the moon a last time, before vanishing for ever and ever into the zenana of its fated Godrej. It can’t be entirely a coincidence that Godrejs when placed horizontally have a striking resemblance to coffins. As with many avian species, Eagles too have a tropical appearance. Ideal camouflage among the bright red lehengas, chrome yellow blouses and green Banarsis of cupboard ecosystems. Imagine living in such a space, the monotony occasionally broken by a dimly lit hand groping towards you like in Evil Dead II. The relief as it stops at the petticoat next to you.
Desktop items; please tell me there is no one out there who actually likes having plastic chicken soup messages on their 3 x 4. The "Dear Friend", "Dear God", "Psalm XXX", "Love is A, Love is B, Love is C, …." kinds that in their 49 rupees earnest inanity makes you realise that God exists. Imagine. First someone selects the quote from Reader’s Digest. Someone else looks at the art work and decides to make 2 million of them in China and other centres of plastic literature. A third distributes them to distant corners of the Indian empire. And a fourth, in fact, the fifth and the sixth as well, pay good money for them. Is that not a miracle? Your role in this cosmic process is to get it as a gift, and if your luck is really in, from the colleague at the next table. So it lies on your desk alongside snaps of your family and been-there-done-that mementos. Occasionally you hear your colleague chortle but maybe he is just snoring ….. Visitors to the Far East on the other hand, drench people with laughing Buddhas (5 Sing dollahs a dozen, each a different pose). And why are these always a dirty chocolatey brown?
Posters; Shah Rukh Khan ok. Beyonce yessss. Aishwarya Rai ok. Eminem ok. But fuzzy puppies nuzzling a fuzzy teat? Small girl peeking into small boy’s pants? Two writhing hearts in the missionary position with a poem by Donald Duck?
Infant clothes and toys. Grammatically challenged text, in general, is the thin red line through many donkeys but reach their acme of imperfection in baby material. Clearly the copy writers have damaged language centres in what passes for their brains. Either grammar not existed or The meaning jumped over clause. Or they need better translators from Cantonese. My daughter’s extensive wardrobe, almost entirely gifted, has the following communications.
Sweet children have sweet memories with sweet cake
Lion and Lamb Love
And the Koan-like
Smack, zzz, dance
Ribbit, meow, ribbit, meow
A final question. If someones brains are in their bottom, and it hurts, is it piles or a headache?
Whoever gives me the best answer can have my two remaining Eagles.