The great Diwali gifting sham

How many of you have received a gift which tastes bland and looks like its ages old?

Welcome to the great Indian gifting tamasha which is unfolding to packed crowds this Diwali season. I from an insiders point of view have observed it from the sidelines since I am very much a part of the gifting game.

Chocolates & Edibles:

Every nook and corner of the city has budding chocolate makers who have freshly learnt the art and now profess to be the best in town. What standards do we have in these zillions of chocolates being churned out? We are not talking about the high end chocolatiers in the market as their prices command the premium segment but the level below it. Has anyone even thought about the standards of foil, adhesives used in the box, storage conditions, quality of ingredients, etc. When you get a box of chocolates do open them and peep inside the glitzy foil to check if its even edible after all the passing around. You will see grocery shops out with slickly packed hampers, cookies,etc. Do check the expiry date as lots of them are remnants of the previous year. Sweets, now that’s something which has been written a lot about, the foil or “varq” used on them have been hammered between layers of animal intestine, if you don’t believe me then you can check that out in Old Delhi.

After every Diwali it is a common sight to see maids, sweepers and class four employees going from home to home with a huge collection of rubbish; I mean gifts of which no one has any use. It reminds me of the Cadbury add “Tohfa, Tohfa”. Now now guys nobody is paying me to badmouth, its just such a waste. I sometimes feel like collecting all the trash and making some beautiful products. I wish I had the time. My work is becoming more of a business now and I need to change that. Speaking about trash, let me share a wonderful product with you:One day paper waste - sidetable

One day paper waste – sidetable by Jens Praet

Reacting to document waste, Jens Praet took shredded confidential documents, mixed them with resin and compressed them into a strong MDF mould. This way the office waste can be brought back into the office as a useful piece of furniture.

Gifting is no longer enjoyable but a necessary evil for many. We have drivers ferrying gifts across the city and adding to the chaotic traffic. People go to shops and just look for the cheapest gift without even a cursory glance as to what’s in them. Truck loads are bought without pondering over their use to the recipient. Companies have budgets and categories, the higher ones will have wines, teas, silver ware, crystal, etc and the lower ones will have beer mugs, candles and the lowly street side chocolate, dryfruit or chikki. That’s how it is. Some times our packaging is better and expensive than the gift itself. What a mockery. This year Chinese gifts rule the roost in the wholesale markets. The glitzy electronics will peter out in a few months, but who the hell cares; the purpose was solved – a large gift and you have a happy employee.

But there is also a kind who spend time and effort in choosing the gifts and the packaging. You cannot even imagine the kind of personalisation that we do. We have this gentlemen who starts working on his gifts three months in advance and it takes umpteen meetings to zero on the right gift. I never mind it as I like people who are passionate and have an eye for detail. Every year his gifts are the talk of the town and I personally can vouch for that as I do the packaging. Some people don’t like the mundane hence go for gifts containing books, exotic teas sourced from Assam, Darjeeling and the Nilgiris, etc.

You must be wondering what I have done about gifting this season…

My idea was to personalise a set of note cards with the recipients name along with a nice lamp or candle but as we were busy packaging gifts for everyone else, I had to shelve the plans. I can always do it around Christmas/New years! So much about being righteous, guess i too have joined the rat race.

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