Monday, October 22, 2012

A gift to show gratitude and hospitality

When I saw the latest prompt for the contest from Blogadda,  i  thought i have already written about this  a couple of years back and  so did not give much of a thought.  I was enjoying the vacation with my children, socializing  and soaking the festive season visiting golu  at many of friend's place. Just as i was walking back from a friends place last evening  with the  tamboolam( goody bag)  in my hand, I realized I had something to share about the crazy shopping I did for the goody bag gifts last summer.

Here I go, this post exclusively for blogadda’s contest.

When my children were young, one of the most painful pleasures I had to undergo was choosing a gift for my children’s many friends birthday. Painful because most of the times I had to hunt for the right gift at the last moment, pleasure because the brightly  wrapped  gift pack lights up the face of the child.

 It is a known fact that today most children are blessed with the best of books, clothes and toys. So anything you gift them would only duplicate or even quadruplate  their collection. It has happened to my own children. I have many such books, toys and board games which I have donated  to the toy bank .
Thankfully my children are now in their teens( 13 & 15 now) and so choose the gifts to go with their friend’s wishes or make handmade quilled collages or scrap books for their friends. Recently they gifted their dad a handmade scrap book containing his photos from childhood to now and a MP3 CD containing songs which he heard during his college hostel days ( During their talk sessions they found  out his favorite songs in college). This comes in handy when he listens in his car and he said that was the best gift he ever got. Together, they source and create similar handmade gifts for my parents, in-laws, near and dear ones.

                     The  hand made scrap book made with handmade recycled paper( don't miss the frilled golden lace at the base and top)

                       The first page of the collage containing his solo photos with a poem by her for her dad. the succesive pages photos collaged from our marriage titled jodi no 1, his photos with elders in the family titled blessed by elders and a page exclusively devoted with photos of them with beautiful foot notes.

 I have been spared from this crazy act  of choosing gifts though a pleasureable one. For my own friends and colleagues, generally many of my like minded friends come together and  do group gifting which is pooling the cash and then buying a gift voucher. For very close relatives like cousins we gift  cash which is easier and they make their own choice.

But very recently, in the May gone by,  my son’s thread ceremony( yagnopaveeth/ poonal) was scheduled. This event is a socio religious event  and the event requires preparations as good as a wedding . The venue was fixed close to our native at a beautiful place and we wanted a grand celebration so that we could meet all the elders and youngsters at one place after a long time. It is occasions  like this which brings the close knit family and relatives around the world  under one roof.

The venue, the caterer, photo –video grapher, purohits and all other arrangements were taken care of by my family elders. But the task of invitations and gift giving fell on me. Invitations were done with the help of my cousin’s husband who owns a printing press. That left me with gifts. I thoroughly enjoyed shopping for the gifts after a long time and I managed to pick up good sarees, dress materials, shirts etc, for the elders and young ones but the task of buying a gift article to go with the tamboolam was what drove me crazy.

Tamboolam is a goody bag or like a party favour which is a tradition of  guest hospitality which is followed in south Indian festive occasions like baby shower, house-warming, weddings, thread ceremony or even festivals like the ongoing  Navaratri.

It is a token  of gratitude  and love the host shows to the guest for attending the event and blessing the host( in my case, the son at thread ceremony). It generally consists of betel leaf, arecanut and coconut / grapefruit along with this a gift like a memento.

This gift was what drove me crazy. I shopped from shop to shop in general bazaar, a traditional market in Hyderabad where you  find lots of party favors and gifts for goody bags amonst many things. I even asked  the shopkeeper  “ bhaiya, aisa koi naya cheez dikhao jo dikhnay may accha  ho, durable bhi ho aur anokha bhi ho,” and to all this I wanted a stamp of ethnicity on it  and so told him “  … aur kuch hyderabadi bhi ho”. After all you get mass produced gifts everywhere and so  I wanted something hyderabadi.

They showed me so many items  like embellished banjaran draw string bags, hyderabadi lac mirror ware items like pens, key chains, divine collections like miniature lac  ganeshji and other icons, Banjara mirror work cell phone pouches, jewelery pouches, lac incense holders, kumkum bharni, dress pouches, card holders, banjaran mirror work purses. I did narrow down on the last one but I found most of them would need card slots to keep their credit cards. This purse would be worthless in utility, though beautiful and ethnic to look at.

Then after getting in and out of many shops, I landed at Karachi bag works. This shop is where I generally shop for my children’s school bags and other bag needs. It also sells trendy ethnic bags and purses. I recently bought my  leather wallet here.  I asked him the same here “ Bhaiya,  aisa koi naya cheez dikhao……….”.  He showed me a beautiful rose bag. Which looked like a small multi petalled rose and fits into your palm, when unpetalled  this would become a bag.  I found this ideal to carry, when you go for walks or just drop it into your handbag.

 Now-a - days most shops avoid giving plastic covers or charge extra for the plastic bags. At times like these and , just in case you go for walking, you could buy things , unfold this Rose and carry the  shopped things home. An ideal gift, that had utility value and aesthetic value.  I have a strawberry bag which I carry for walks and when  at home  this bag cocoons into the strawberry and dangles from  my dining hall curtain hook like a show piece. I was delighted when I get that elusive gift piece. I wanted it in bulk and so told him to pack  those and I got it for an excellent rate.

But wait….. my delight bubble lasted only for  a while.

Just as he was packing, I took one of the bags and pulled the drawstring and out came the clip in my hands.
 OH NO!  this is not for rough use. I told him I don’t want such a delicate gift.

And then he suggested something unique, yet he told me it was not hyderabadi like the rose one. I was ok, by now I was tired of finding that gift which met all my criteria and so I had to let go one of those criteria.

He now showed me a bag with good quality material which when folded looked like a purse and when the 3 folds were unfolded  it opened up to be a beautiful and colorful shopping bag. It could hold more items than the rose bag. I was maha impressed with this bag. This looked beautiful, useful and compact. Just what I wanted only it did not have the ethnic tag. Never mind, I narrowed on this gift to go with the tamboolam.(goody bag)

Six months have gone by since I gifted those bags, till today I have got many  calls from near and dear ones and during the course of conversation, they  tell me that was one of the most useful gifts they have got and comes handy when they go out and fits snugly into their handbag.   

Well, that is what I want my gifts to speak. Because whenever I buy a gift, I generally don’t pick anything off the shelf. I am a person who goes for something which is unique and has utility value for the recipient.  A good gift should be remembered forever and speak about your thoughtfulness, care, affection and gratitude and that perfect gift  need not be expensive.   

The strawberry bag and  the folded elusive bag which sent me on a crazy shopping spree

When unfolded the bag shapes up like this.

This post is a part of the contest at in association with 


  1. !!! woww....blogvillela ellarum sagalakalavallisa irukaanga :D:D aaya kalaigalla evlo baaki irukunga innum? :D:D

    1. blogvillela ennatum sila exception undu.

      Anyways, naan indha commenta seekrama frame pottu nadu hall la matta poren :)

  2. gils asks,,evlo baaki irukungo?? haha...good post ashaji..

    1. evlo irukkunay theriyadu andha alavukku ignorant naanga.

      Thank you :)

  3. I want such a bag, please buy one for me too. Good idea and a good post.

  4. Definitely. Ping me when you come this side and it will be yours. Thank you :)

  5. are their for MEN too the bags I would love ot have one he he hehe


  6. sure, sure for men too :) why not? men too do shopping right? one bag reserved for you.

  7. I must say that, that wasn't a crazy one but really something unique. Good choice! Loved the gifts!
    All the best! :)

    1. nice of you to visit my space and leave a comment, thank you :)

  8. Nice utility bag..
    I also have a compact small nylon bag, folding type which would slip into my purse. v. durable too.

    1. thank you :) yeah chitra, the nylon bags are handy.

  9. Very well written post.It maintains your interest right from the beginning upto the end.Wish you all the best.