“That’s it, a woollen shawl? But Sana, I remember you gave her a fabulous peshmena shawl, the most expensive kind in the world,” Jia reminded her in bizarre tone and added fuel to fire by saying, “She should have given you something worthier or at least as expensive as that one.”
Sana, who already seemed little down responded dolefully, “Hmm… that’s what I feel too.”
Many a time we come across such conversations as people (especially women) only regard the ‘material value’ of the gifts, and do not bother to value the ‘emotions’ with which the gift has been given.
Last Chand Raat, at my cousin’s house, when I was ironing my Eid attire, I heard same discourse. It was my aunt discussing with her sister that in return of her expensive gift, someone gifted her a very cheap thing. Her sister disclosed that she had an all-time favourite tactic which she uses — forwarding a gift given to her by someone, and which she didn’t like for herself, to another person. At times, such worldly goings-on really make me fed up. I can’t help but wonder how hollow and pretentious we are, still trapped in bizarre display and demand of material things even on blessed occasions like Eid. The event that is meant for sharing moments of happiness with each other are now materialistic affairs.
If we consider the actual essence of exchanging gifts, it is nothing but to fortify the bond of love and brotherhood among us and to help the poor. But ominously, in our society the actual purpose has been sacrificed over pomposity and exhibition. It’s so sad that we offer gifts to others only on specific occasions and that too after taking into consideration what the other has gifted us. If someone presents a gift of poor quality, we too will give that person a very cheap thing.
The real essence of exchanging gifts is to show our feelings though this gesture and forms a stronger bond with the person rather than try and impress or oblige the other person.
“Islam has fostered the culture of exchanging gifts for supplementing our brotherly feelings for each other,” says Nadia Khaliq, a medical student. “When a Muslim gives a gift to another keeping this purpose in mind, then question of being dissatisfied does not arise. Whether he receives a gift in return or not, or if the gift he receives is of a cheaper quality, he’ll remain content; for the intention behind his act was to please his Creator,” adds Nadia.
Well, who on the earth doesn’t want the sentiments of brotherhood to prevail, however, inflation does! This is a vital factor which creates a lot of hurdles and forces people (specially the younger ones) to think many times before gifting something to someone. With people living hand-to-mouth these days, it is no wonder that very few can afford to give gifts and whatever they buy is the most that they can afford so we must look at the sentiments behind the gesture rather than the price of the gift. Those who flaunt what they are giving may either be giving the expensive gift to impress or gain the friendship of the other person, or may have a lot of easy money to spend. So there is no need to be impressed with these people or spend far more than our means just to keep up with them. We should only buy what we can easily afford for others and show our genuine feelings through our acts.
(YW, DAWN, Nov 27, 2009)