Qn: What ties a unicorn and a book together?
Ans: A tie
Ten years is a short time. Seems only yesterday that I met the man I love and gave him my first useless material gift. (The gift of my gab he still enjoys.) A decade later, we have managed to fill our lives up with our children, our friends and family, our own interests and hobbies and our careers. But it never does to forget the past, or look through them with rose-tainted glasses.
In 10 years some things have not become easier, in fact they have become harder – like finding a suitable gift for my husband. He is a minimalist. He doesn’t wear a watch, saying he prefers to see the time on the cell-phone given by his company. (The one he uses to cut me off mid-sentence because there is never enough charge left on it – that one) His clothes are bearable if I spend enough time to get him some new shirts and t-shirts and place the products so he gets them where his hands automatically reach out. Otherwise, he will willingly wear the maroon t-shirt (also given by the company) or the gray t-shirt everyday till I shriek in agony.
So, I lay in bed racking my brains on what to get him for his birthday when the brain-wave struck. Of all my gifts, the most useless has got to be the one I got him first. Allow me to ramble a bit.
My father was always dressed in a suit and tie as a school teacher in the Lawrence School, Nilgiris. Suits on school teachers make them look regal and I suppose is required to set the atmosphere among a bunch of kids trying to place wet soap on the hallways for fun. He looked majestic as he strode through the Assembly of students in his suits(even though the suits were often tailored to fit somebody else, but that is the subject of another blog). Every time I bought my father a tie, he beamed and sported it the very next day.
Now, the only images of America I’d had back then were from movies where I’d seen dashing handsome chaps sit around in suits and have lunch or walk very fast along shiny corridors. I observed. I deduced. And when the man from Sunny California was to come to Sunnier Chennai to see me after months of chatting and talking on the phone; I bought him a present that I hoped would be appropriate and useful. A tie.
I don’t know why I bothered gift wrapping it, since it was clear he didn’t want to discern the difference between the wrapping paper and the tie housed inside. I was guilty of choosing similar patterns for both, but still….
I thumbed through the albums of his school days hoping to see if they had a tie as a uniform. Many “English” schools in Chennai boasted of this monstrosity, and sold ties that could double up as leashes since they had a buckle on them. His school even had “English” in the name. No luck there either. He truly had passed life skirting ties entirely.
It was a perfect gift in many ways, since it set the expectations right. It set the trend for a lifetime of poor gifting from me.
Every now and then, we would laugh about the tie, and since I don’t ever want him to think that the woman he loved has changed, I renewed my vows of poor gifting and bought him a tie!
Then, I got to work on the easier gifts for the 7 & 70:
I got my daughter a magical pony i.e. a unicorn and wrote a book for my father.