Like a practiced presenter he began his address, I couldn’t figure out a single word of it. However, I got what he wanted to share. I started smiling, but could not find an appropriate word.
I know he was speaking Bengali, language, nothing alien to me. I was surprised, at the simplicity of refined courtesy from a man in grungy clothing. He is not handsome; the blue helmet over his head conceals his slightly over sized head. He has a broad face, jaws protruding, and prominent lips as if swollen of a bee sting. The sweater he wears is oversized, worn out and hangs skewed from his shoulder. It must have been white, when it was new. Now it is reddish yellow, with rust stains, he could easily camouflage in the dirt and sand outside. Probably, he is a labor who toils hard bending bars, or rigger, the deep stains of steel bars around his shoulder confirms it. But no, no rigger in right mind will come to me, to convey New Year wishes.
“Who are you?” I asked. He introduced him as labor supervisor of one of our contractors. Labor supervisor, a labor and a supervisor, I am sure he is serving the double responsibility. “Happy New Year” I mumbled out, “Thank You”. I took the small notebook and a pen he was holding with both his hands extended towards me.
I still do not understand the idea behind New Year gifting of journals and notebooks. Or may be journal keeping was a good idea, or the remnants of the English legacy carried forward by the cultured, not so bourgeoisie class. I took a little interest in the first one. I was planning to buy one, now I won’t buy any. Once I received the second I thought I may need it or will pass it on to someone else. But a pile of dozen diaries, big small, black, white, colored, leather bond, paper bond, fake bond with irksome smell, it annoys. The only corporate journal, my company gave me before New Year last year is still untouched and here I am in 2012, with stack of diaries of no use.
I find gifting ideas have really gone weird. Flower vases, photo frames, wall clocks, Made in Chinas … whatever be the occasion, whoever is the recipient. As long as it fits the budget and can be wrapped into a nice looking box with shiny, narrow ribbon that can be knotted as a flower. I express my deep sympathies with people like me; it doesn’t matter, even if you are working with IT sector. I am sure, you have similar looking, company logo bearing, arduous using, purportedly nonsense coffee mugs stacked somewhere in your room.
So next, you are gifting someone, gift something sensible. Till then, keep give-take, useless-useful, love-hate relationship with gifting.
1520+ words so far in 2012 on Barunjha’s Blog
© Barun Jha || 2012