The Epiphany of Gifting.

“We three kings of Orient are

Bearing gifts we traverse afar…

Christmas…New Year…Santa Claus and gifts seem to be the anthem. 

I really wish there was some way to get Chat (charulatha) to stop yodelling and Chits to open the gifts elegantly.

The mood at Mango meadows is currently volatile with exuberant preparations for the King’s cake on one hand and the debate of the three wise men on the other.  What I gather from the cacophony is that Chat’s daughter Jane (yes Charulatha has named her daughter Jayanthi) and her son Gus (hold your breath, the boy’s jatakam says his name is Agastya) “logically” musing over the truth of the three kings. The data that we received when we grew up was

  • The three kings were from east of Bethlehem – Africa, India, Persia.
  • They came on camels… sister Unni Mary had a cardboard cut out of the camel which was dragged across the stage when the nativity play was performed.
  • They carried three Tiffin boxes covered with gloss wraps and labelled Myrrh, Gold and Frankincense.

The musing dwelled over three realms, from what I could understand

Is Africa really to the east of Bethlehem?

How can they be guided by a star? If they had to travel far the star would not be visible pointed Gus,

“They could have been astronomers stupid” was Jane’s retort

“Even astronomers cannot see stars at day time”  ….aside Chits was saying “actually they can if they are sufficiently drunk.”

“They could be astrologers” was Jane’s option two.

The debate goes on… that took me back to Pop Glossop’s lectures, he always insisted gifts were more about the giver than the receiver.

His lecture would begin with why do we give gifts? If he were to ask this question today I would say it is because it is a feel good, or like tithing what goes out will come back 10-fold, or it makes us present to the abundance etc.etc. But those days the answer was simple it makes me feel like Lady Bountiful. So again why do we give gifts?

  • To confirm and reconnect with others.
  • To show love and devotion particularly between partners.
  • To convey message symbolic, actually every gift is perceived through symbolism, which explains why quite often a gift disappoints because we see it as we are being devalued.
  • Debt clearance… she gave me a gift so I return with something of equal economic value, this kind of creates a gift cycle. There is also a subtle energy exchange acknowledged here.
  • To help others as donations.
  • Now the most important reason… which would be the prelude to the next topic is as a mating ritual. This is seen in other many species where the male leaves a gift for the female.

Just like the motives for gifting various the transaction implications also varies we could call it types of gifts.

  • Symbol of the self of the giver… well well…
  • Sometimes it reflects the knowledge of receiver that the giver has, these gifts help in building stronger bonds.
  • Sometimes it is occasion specific.

Hold…on let me cut cords with Pop-Glossop and his lectures and get practical gifts are about love and kindness…let’s not look at the components of the equation. But if the gift is something that you don’t like or use….?

From my personal space I can say there are guilt if we don’t use, and anger and resentment when we use it reluctantly. The purpose of the gift is lost. For the purpose of a gift is to be received. So how do we deal with a gift that we don’t like or use…

Open the gift…

Use it once if you still do not like it, recollect the joy of receiving, of thrill the anticipation of what it might hold thank the gift and the giver for all that and the love the giver has for you and bid farewell to the gift by giving it to the person you think is appropriate for it.

Gifts and gifting apart it is time to bake the The King Cake.

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