Gifting Made Easy


Season or no season.


Priceless gifts one can give:


No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your responses. Just listen.


Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and hand holding.


Share articles, positive news, funny stories, and cartoons to tell someone, ‘I love to laugh with you.’


A simple and sincere ‘You look great in red,’ ‘You did a super job,’ or ‘That was a wonderful meal’ can make someone’s day.


Be sensitive to the times when others want nothing more than to be left alone.


The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone, even if it’s just saying hello or thank you.


Without friends life would hardly be…

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A Story Told Of A Story Not Told

I had timed it. The walk from Royapettah (near Anna DMK office) to the end of Radhakrishnan Salai on the Marina Beach took an hour up and down. At a pace allowed by a pair of sticky eyeballs and an asthma playing up now and again.

The morning traffic on the Salai was light. Not many pedestrians either. I took to the small strip about 2 to 3 feet wide available between the side-walk and the outermost road-lane. While it offered a level surface – the side-walks are all ups and downs – and a free stretch save an occasional parked vehicle at this hour, one had to, however, constantly look out for not-so-uncommon rogue two-wheelers speeding down from the front on the same stretch.

This day I made it to the Beach and was returning when I saw him, a rag-picker, some ten feet ahead of me carrying a not-so-heavy sack thrown over his shoulders.

Even at my pace, I was able to catch up with him in a minute or two. In fact I went a couple of steps past him and then turning around I saw him. I judged him to be in early forties, but life had messed him up to look older. He was mussed up hair, unshaven and uneven stubble, high cheek-bones, a shirt that had more grime than fabric with the top buttons open or absent showing a chest just about covering the rib-cage. No chappals (foot-wear) and a lungi doubling up at the knees and wrapped around at the waist as southerners are seen to do. A full-body bath must have been weeks or months ago. He was sure-footed in his walk, his alert eyes looking all around for paper, boards, plastics that our honourable fellow-citizens deposited on the side-walks, road, anywhere.

The neural network in my head hummed and cleared him as safe. Had to be careful for a good reason: On the same stretch an year ago one morning in my walk I saw a destitute and unsound woman sitting on the side-walk and looking lost. Thinking money meant nothing to her, bought some idli’s and vada’s from a street-vendor. When I went near and offered her,she turned squarely to me and let out a loud stream of abuses, not all intelligible. I was both scared she might turn violent and embarrassed at the attention I was drawing from passers-by. Totally unprepared for the situation, quickly withdrew myself, feeling both sorry for her and helpless.  

Presently I slowed down, waited for him to pull up alongside and tapped on his shoulder. He was startled, perhaps unaccustomed to be accosted in this manner.

Still a little unsure of how he would react, took out a tenner and said: ‘Keep this, it’s for you.’

His gritty face slowly gave way to a smile. He set his sack down, took the rupee-note from me and folded his hands.

I could feel my sugar going down with no biscuits or toffees on hand. With another fifteen minutes to reach the base, decided to move on and not engage him in a talk as is my wont. Just then, noticed something I had not seen before. My friend of the morning had a black string tied in several strands on one of his legs just above the ankle. Already on the move, asked him what it was.

I heard him tell me, it was to ward off evil eyes!! Like the raksha we wear on our wrists.

As said I did not have the energy to pause and ask. Unfortunate, but, yes, missed drawing out a story lurking there – so the mystery endures till date who did he think was envying his lot! And why did he tie the raksha around the leg and not on the wrist as customary.   


PS: 1. Subsequently I did find at a least couple more, not rag-pickers, wearing it on their legs. May be it’s a practice followed in certain communities 2. The image is from The Hindu. For some reason, I did not feel comfortable about taking a snap of him.

Friendly Neighborhood

A story from by gomathiji lightly edited.


It was a Sunday morning and so everyone got up late, took the phone and indulged in a bit of idle talk or came out to watch the traffic lazily; and this Sunday started with a promise – a promise of some fresh fat to chew on.

It was Sumit who first saw Prakash bringing two large suitcases and placing them in the boot of his car. His wife Sarala joined him now in the balcony, watching. Prakash got into the driver’s seat and waited. His father walked out with his customary tripod and then his mother. They got into the car. The noise of the car door brought out some of the others. Prakash’s wife did not come out. Where were the three going out?

Some in the colony especially the elderly were watching from behind curtained windows and some others had opened their doors and stood at the doorway on the pretext of trying to get some fresh air.

Here’s where they relied on the mastery of Kailesh. He was everyone’s man Friday in that colony, paying their electricity bills, delivering milk sachets at their doorsteps, buying vegetables for them, lending a hand in rolling out roti’s…On Sundays too he worked overtime running errands for them.

So it was not a surprise that he knew considerable details in the family matters of everyone there.

Kailesh had just then come from the market; he pulled the cycle’s stand with his leg, simultaneously got down and climbed the fourth floor bounding up two steps at a time. He found the inmates of the house for whom he had brought milk sachets, dekho’ing from their balcony.

“Kailesh! Where are they going?” asked Sarala.

“Mmm… not sure. In fact I don’t know” Kailesh said.

Sarala and Sumit looked at him incredulously, “Really! We thought you would have known. Yesterday you had been there to take a huge number of their clothes to the drycleaners, hadn’t you?”

Kailesh: ”Yes, I don’t know if Prakash saab’s phone call has something to do with this. While I was collecting and counting the clothes, he asked someone for the address of a home – a home for the aged, you see.”


“Prakash saab’s father, when I was leaving, was muttering that Punitha was making a too much of a fuss for nothing,” he added.

It was a while before the car had started moving as Prakash had to help the old couple get in.

By now Parbathi, the house help working in most of the homes there, had arrived and she could supply them a few missing pieces in the puzzle. She enlightened the assembly with: Prakash’s wife Punitha’s parents were arriving that evening.

So it was obvious that Prakash was taking them to the most probable place, as Prakash was their only son, a home for the aged.

“And to think, only a few weeks back Punitha advised us all to care for the elders of our household well,” observed Sarala.

By now, Rita and Kumar had joined. Their flat did not have a view of the front.

Rita remarked, ”Punitha has always been reserved and secretive. I knew something would happen like this.”

Kailesh ventured, ”Punitha didi is the only daughter for her parents. So where will her parents go?”

Kumar retorted, ”That does not mean Prakash has to send his parents to a home!”

“Kailesh, do you remember the name of the place Prakash was mentioning?” Sumit asked.

Kailesh, his forehead creased with an effort to remember. “Something like anda – dhal

Anda – dhal? What in the world was that?” they wondered.

All of a sudden it struck Kumar – a friend of his had been on the lookout for a home, to deposit his own parents.

Amanda Dale! That’s it. But it is well out of the city limits!” He exclaimed

It was the prime story of the day to cook, spice, chew, swallow and spit for the colony.

Evening came and a taxi pulled up in front of Prakash’s house. A middle aged couple alighted welcomed and hugged by a beaming Punitha, witnessed by many pairs of eyes.

Almost at once they heard another car. They could guess whose it was. They were right. Prakash was getting down andWhy? His parents were also getting down slowly. Punitha’s parents walked out to greet them. Then they all went inside the house, laughing.

Such a let-down it was. A drama that was not to be. Some even shook their heads in disapproval behind curtained windows.

Yet, soon afterwards, many of them happily received a word from Punitha and Prakash telling them not to cook for the night as a sumptuous packed dinner was on the way!

It was in celebration of his Pitaji’s eightieth birthday! And that they had been to the home for the aged earlier in the day to distribute clothes and sweets – Punitha could not go with them as her parents were to arrive.

So the neighborhood went to bed that night looking forward to another interesting day ahead – with so many families residing how could it be otherwise!



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