A wonderful gift may not be wrapped as you expect
wrote Jonathan Lockwood Huie. And nothing can be more true as Ihave experienced once again. It is the time of the year when gifts come my way as it is soon my birthday. When I was a child I always got a new dress as toys were gifted at Xmas only. Then came a slew of offerings in sync with age: records, books, perfumes and so on. There was even a time when one bought the gift one's self and gave it to the person concerned. There were also surprise gifts, one in particular. At a time when I was going through a rough financial patch I remember telling my best friend how nice it would be if people gave you a month's groceries as a birthday gift rather than some artefact or no utility. Imagine my utter surprise when she brought me just that on my next birthday: boxes and boxes of groceries!
Then as one grew greyer and wiser it was always difficult to identify what one wanted when one was asked the question: what do you want for your birthday? Somehow my 50th was a watershed year. Just a few weeks before my birthday little Utpal
came into my life: scalded and moribund. Everyone thought he would die except I! He had to live no matter what. And live he did, with might and main. That year he was my birthday present and what a unique present that was, one I would enjoy for the remaining years of my life. That is when I realised that I had been chosen for a mission by the One we call by innumerable names, the one who crafts our destiny. From that day one my birthday gifts changed altogether. Sure I still got the usual knick-knacks but that was not the real gifts. My real ones could be wishes
that I expressed, a unique party
with a special guest list, poems
sent by a friend, an assignment
by my staff, Manu
coming home after a stay at the hospital. The list is endless, each one a little miracle. And of course a very stunning 60th
From a very tender age I have been accused of being naive and with a heart as soft as a marshmallow. It is true that even today anyone can 'move' me. All you need is a few tears and a story to go with it. Many reproach me this attitude but I defend it in my own way. For me anyone who crossed my threshold with a need has been sent to me by the one I call the God of Lesser Beings and hence each one has to be listened to and all effort has to be made to help. I have been like this all my life and I do not think I can or will change. This way of looking at life works for me. So what if some think I am naive or even a sucker.
With my birthday approaching I wondered what would be my surprise gift this year or whether one would come my way. It all seemed very calm. But yesterday a man came out of the blue
needing help for his young wife. Even though I tried to act against my grain as it had been some time since we sponsored a surgery and had lost most of those who helped us, I quickly 'melted' and took the papers from the man. I wanted to give it a try. My words and the magic of the Internet did the rest and shortly after having posted an appeal a kind soul reached out to help. I was overwhelmed and moved to tears. It felt wonderful to know that there were people out there with their hearts in the right place.
I got my gift and it is a huge one. First and foremost the life of a young woman will be saved and four little children will have their mom to love them. But there is more. My naive ways stand vindicated. Good exists even if it is a little harder to find. I know it is also means that I cannot 'retire' or give up as long as someone up there still needs me.
But more than anything the fact that the young woman is named Noori makes her special. My grandson's middle name is Noor.
So as you see a wonderful gift may not be wrapped as you expect. You just need to look with your heart to find it.