Friday, January 30, 2009

The Sutra to the Perfect Gift

Glenn had his birthday coming up. I called up everyone to seek ideas for an appropriate gift. In vain. "He has everything!" was one exasperated opinion. Some thought out of the box and came up with really practical gifts like skate-boards. I gave up and went straight to the mall with Arjun, hoping to spot something.

At the mall, we hacked around for the 'right' gift. Although books were ruled out initially, we gravitated to the book store as a last resort. After sifting through countless books, we were still clueless.

I had quite a reputation to maintain in office. After buying many 'right' gifts, I could not afford to lose the plot now.

While selecting a gift, there are three things I look for:

- Would s/he like it?

- Would it be a talking point?

- Would it cost within 800 bucks (our usual budget)?

So I sat down and went back to the basics. What would Glenn like? What would all men like? Well, that wasn't a possible gift. So, what else? While I was thinking aloud, Arjun came up with the clincher - Kama Sutra!!

Now, we could have sought the help of the store-keeper but thought it will be more fun to try to find it ourselves. We had no clue how difficult it was going to get.

First, I tried the Indian Fiction section. It was the closest and it was possible that some idiot put it there, considering it is 'Indian' after all, if not exactly fiction.

Right next to it, was the Indian Performing Arts section. Surely, it should have been here. That would have been most appropriate. I mean no collection on performing arts will be complete without a guide to the art of performing THE act.

It wasn't there in the Science section either. This really disappointed me as I had always approached the subject as a Science with a lot of theory but little practice.

After going through the Reference section (without success), I went to the Graphic Novels. Since I had seen 'Kama Sutra' titled books before, I was sure they indeed fit the description of being 'Graphic'.

Coming to the Self-Improvement section, I was reminded of an India Today cover page article on how a vast number of marriages break down due to problems in the bedroom. But I guess the store-owner had not read it and did not deem it necessary to delve into self-exploration and improvement.

Finally, I found it in the Health and Fitness section. This really pissed me off. I mean Kama Sutra has nothing directly to do with either Health or Fitness. If it was put under a category with such flimsy logic, it could have easily been under any of the other sections I looked at!

Anyway, Glenn was pretty pleased with the gift and he has agreed to have a knowledge transfer session soon.

PS - Arjun and I have announced voluntary retirement from picking any more birthday gifts. We shall offer our opinion purely as consultants and on a case-to-case basis. We wanted to hang up the ribbons on a high

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Happy New Year*

January 1, 2009 Midnight

I could not think of starting the New Year in any other way. I am not a great fan of New Year celebrations – my rational mind tells me it’s just like another day, with a fancy name. But, maybe it’s important for the populace to give hope for a new prosperous year. Its almost like people believe a mere increment in the date will get rid of the soiled baggage of the past. I empathize with them. It may not be logical but its about hope and getting motivated. Starting over.

Of course, it’s no surprise that most people live in continuity from the previous year and little changes. But the New Year’s frolic provides, apart from windfalls to the cellular and greeting card companies, a push against inertia.

Hope is particularly relevant this year, with recession at a global scale ominous in its imminence, diminishing savings, nose-diving investment and impeding the relentless ‘progress’ of human endeavour. Jobs are not secure, banks are not secure. So life, as we know it, is not secure.

The New Year also brings Barack Obama to the White House. The whole world waits for him to ‘waive’ his wand for all problems to disappear. Wonder what he can do for my love life.

from my journal