Monday, January 29, 2007


Have gifts become irrelevant in this age of self gratification? Most of us have enough financial muscle to buy ourselves things reasonably within our reach. If it is slightly beyond our reach then there is always plastic money and the numerous personal loans which all banks are dying to offer us. The burgeoning economy and the retail boom add to the options of buying just about any international brand.

Do people even appreciate the sentiments behind a gift in this day and age? Increasingly, I am seeing that a gift is judged by amount of money it cost, from the shop it has been purchased from and such like. I have myself snottily turned up my nose at a lipstick given to me which seemed to be purchased from a throwaway sale - the label showed 0.99 cents. Immediately an internal voice from somewhere rebuked be for being crude and said its the thought that counts, someone cared enough to remember me, someone cared enough to think I was important enough to bring me a little something from somewhere, somebody cared enough to invest that one inch of space in their suit cased to fit in something just for me - don’t all those things count?

I have been on the receiving end as well when I could sense vibes about the 'ho hum' attitude, about things being the usual supermarket stuff, cheap, not exclusive, common and what not. Of course they all say the thank you's very prettily but lack warmth completely. Why did I even bother? Some of the people I have got gifts for have just accepted silently without a single acknowledgement. I had to ask - did you get the thing I got for you and they would wake up and say oh yes - thanks. What a waste yet again. I wonder what they would loose to show a gesture of appreciation to someone who has bothered to remember the person's existence and spent time and money to buy something that the person may like. It's perhaps insensitivity at its best.

I have experienced the joys of gifting as well, the whoops of joy, the smile and the true sentiment that goes with accepting a gift. All of it has been without exception from my immediate family. My Mother makes it a point to mention how much convenient her life has become after the onion chopper or how much she enjoyed the candied ginger and she is not saying that to please me. My son plays with the toys I got for him, my husband spent a little fortune to alter shirts I had brought for him but were of the wrong size.

Perhaps we are more diligent about the gifts when we gift to our loved ones and buy the other gifts out of a sense of duty. Perhaps it is best not to do things just out of a sense of duty and not give gifts to people who cannot appreciate the gesture of gifting and save precious time, efforts and money.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Beautiful Tree

During my days in LA, on a gloomy day I stepped out of my apartment with no specific aim about where to go and walked down to Santa Monica Blvd to catch a bus that goes somewhere. On my way I discovered this beautiful tree in full bloom against the backdrop a red brick house - on that gloomy day this vision was the best thing I could have started with...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Are Cartoons for Children?

I have been watching the cartoon series called Shin Shan on a local TV channel for the past few months and to say the least I am shocked at the language, the double entendres and sometimes obvious sexual innuendos. Add to that a harassed mother who constantly beats her child.

Hardly appropriate viewing material for impressionable young minds who may watch such shows on TV. In one episode Sin Shan forgets to wear his cap and after some yelling from his mother the only 'cap' he can find is his mother's underwear which he wears on his head. In another one Sin Shan drools over skimpily clad women or pretty nurses - are 5 year olds capable of such behavior? In another episode he shown to climb a female mannequin clad in a bikini because he finds it attractive. In most of the episodes he takes off his pants to show his rear. The only safe place he knows is his crotch and there are several other uncomfortable moments where I internally seethe and switch off the TV and warn my son not to see Sin Shan.

On a broader perspective, a lot of the cartoons and the humor contained in them are aimed at adults rather than children. I am still not convinced about the suitability of Dexter, Johnny Bravo or a few other popular shows.

I question the intellect of the TV channels that air this show and also our well known censor boards who are known to be prudish. Had actual people enacted some of the scenes in Sin Shan, it would be termed as paedophilia and banned straight away or given an "Adults" tag. Then why is it acceptable as a cartoon?