Story of an unused gift

Sometime in the Pre Historic Era before the birth of Gift Cards) Elizabeth had a pleasing personality and was a very comforting presence as the only Indian in midst of around 20 Arabs, all attired in Dishdashas and Abayas (the traditional attire of Arab men and women respectively). I was to work with this group for a fortnight, providing them training in Microsoft office. Well, all of them were indeed very friendly and cooperative, but Elizabeth took it upon herself to make me comfortable in the very alien environment and also acted as an interpreter when the Indian English made no sense to the Arab junta and vice versa. When it was time for good byes, the gracious lady once again charmed me with her thoughtfulness –she pushed a little pink packet into my hands. Gifts are always exciting, doubly so when they come from the most unexpected quarters. I couldn’t wait to open it and when I did, it was a shirt –a happy-blue one with long sleeves. It was lovely!!I was already mentally teaming it up with my denims and flowing white skirt. I couldn’t wait to try it on. And I could definitely not wait till the next day. So what if dinner was rice, sambar and cabbage? I decided I could still dress up for dinner. A “qwik” shower and I get into my happy blue shirt …..well, hmmmm … my lovely blue shirt turns out to be a disaster ..I fill it out a little too much. But I don’t lose my heart. It’s just a few inches and a couple of kilos to shed. My happy Blue shirt would surely motivate me. I was already preparing a diet plan and a workout schedule. I just couldn’t give away Elizabeth’s gift without even wearing it once. And so in the last many years, the Happy blue shirt has travelled with me from Kuwait to Hyderabad to Bangalore. She still hangs there in my cupboard, hoping that some day, some day she will be chosen over her neighbors in the cupboard. Her only solace is that she now has the company of a pink kurta that had a disastrous alteration and a lime green jacket that dusky beauties should keep a safe distance from!! They seem to be in there for a very long wait… In spite of not being a hoarder by nature, there are a few such sartorial nightmares that I do hoard for various reasons-if some are gifted by special people, then some are too expensive to be given away. So you carry the baggage for years and years waiting for the kilos to shed, for the skin to lighten, for your niece to grow up, for your daughter to be born…… I have always wondered if this was the psycho-sentimental me at play. Why be bundled with ill fitting clothes? Why not gift the power to choose. If Elizabeth had a choice, am sure she would have delightfully gifted me a GIFT CARD. And the Happy Blue Shirt would have been MY TRULY HAPPY BLUE SHIRT. – Uma Menon