Gifted, cheap and original

Today presents a new milestone for my blog. I’m proud to present my first guest post by Vijayakumar Kotteri, a written communications expert and fellow blogger.

Read on as he ponders on whether gifting has become just another transaction and the gift, just a commodity and, how he has managed to buck the trend.

Choosing a gift is tough, especially when you look at it as a “gift”, a concept that has been hijacked to spawn a multimillion business. The easy way is to pay a price to keep up with trend and be “correct”. The other option is to do or give what feels right, even if it does not strain the wallet or entail a visit to the gift shop.

I had a tall, thin colleague working with me. He was in accounts department and our interaction was limited to occasional matters of money. One day, he surprised me with a lovely contribution to the house magazine I was editing. I discovered he had a good sense of humor, when I spoke to him about his article. I gave him an extra-long pencil with a back-scratcher attached to one end, with a small note: “For the difficult-to-reach writer’s itch.” He was very pleased and said: “I never thought you were capable of doing something like this.” I am not sure if that was meant to be a compliment, but he remains a good friend.

Last Valentine’s, I had this urge to get my wife a cake. Went to the bakery right across the street and found some garish ones, glistening and multi-colored and what not. Both of us are allergic to food colors and I was too lazy to go bakery-hunting. Just then a batch of fresh, juicy chocolate walnut cakes arrived. I bought one at one-third the prize of the special Valentine’s Day offers. Back home, lined the edges with almonds and pushed in pistachios to make a heart in the center. Surprisingly, my wife liked it enough to photograph the cake before finished it.

To welcome her home the night of our marriage I invested in some drawing paper and crayons. Every room welcomed her with a different message, apologizing for the incomplete state of that rented house but assuring her that she had long been a tenant in my heart and would remain so forever. I had also cued up our tiny tape-recorder to play a song that celebrated the arrival of my sweetheart, the moment she switched on the light. She ended up in tears, hopefully, not because she had walked into a future with a pinch fist.

Are inexpensive, original and very personal gifts now limited to school assignments, when the teacher makes you do a card for mom and dad? I notice that even the young go for the branded, not justified by their pocket-money. And when they hear the price of the gift the oldies have given, they politely hide a smile.

Is there a generation gap in gifting too? Or is it that the gesture has become just another transaction and the gift, just a commodity?

Vijayakumar Kotteri writes for business and pleasure. He blogs at


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