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Are Your Gifts Emotionally Affordable?

Discussion in 'Varalotti Rengasamy's Short & Serial Stories' started by varalotti, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Are Your Gifts Emotionally Affordable?

    Ravi attended the marriage of his office colleague. When the marriage ceremony was over, as was the local custom, the guests gave money as gifts which was written in a notebook and the names of the donors were read out in a public address system. Ravi had gifted a hundred rupee note and as he was walking out of the hall he was shocked to hear the amount read against his name. “Mr. Ravikumar – Rs.1000/-. Ravi immediately checked his wallet. The hundred Rupee note he had intended to gift was there. But the thousand Rupee note was gone. Sheer mistake. There was no way he could correct the error which had costed him dearly.

    When the colleague later thanked him for this unexpected munificence Ravi was actually seething within, Ravi had done a classical mistake which most of us do quite often. He has made a gift which he could not emotionally afford. Ravi could easily afford a thousand-Rupee-gift financially. In fact he has gifted more than that when his close friends got married. But this guy was not that close to merit that large a gift.

    In this case the emotional unaffordability of the gift was clear. Many times it is not. Santhosh returned from his office that day on the top of his moods. He had been promoted with a hefty increment. He conveyed the news to his wife. Later in the evening his wife requested him to drop her at the beauty parlour.

    “Why drop you, dear? I will be there waiting for you in the car and bring you back home. Is it not my duty?”

    “That would be great. But Santhosh, I am going for facials today. May take more than an hour. Is it okay?”

    “Even if its two hours it does not matter. Give me three minutes. I will be ready.”

    His wife took one and a half hours in the parlour. Santhosh had to wait in the car in the hot summer evening. He could do virtually nothing in that god-forsaken area.His patience lasted only for twenty minutes. Then he was kicking himself for having offered to wait. Now he could not go back on his word. No doubt he sat through the ordeal. His wife emerged out of the parlour on the top of her moods with a shining face. Santhosh was red hot with anger which he could not express immediately. When they reached home on the flimsiest pretext – his clothes were not ironed or that there was less salt in the subjee – he burst out thus venting out his anger for the waiting. A would have been great evening was spoilt for both of them.

    Santhosh had made a gift to his wife which he could not emotionally afford and that led to the disaster.

    In the course of human relationships we do make a lot of gifts. In fact the whole art of human relationship consists of giving and receiving gifts. If the wife falls ill and the husband takes time off his work to attend to her, it is a great gift. Believe me, a sensible woman would cherish this gift much more than a trendy diamond necklace. But before we make a gift we should just look within to ensure whether we can emotionally afford the gift. If we can’t afford it is far better to say a graceful no now than to suffer later, eventually spoiling the whole relationship.

    My friend wanted to borrow my car for a picnic. Having known about his methods of driving I said no, giving some lame excuse. At first he was furious and shouted something and ran out. A few days later he came to me and apologised. It was much later did I learn that he had borrowed another friend’s car which developed problems on the way and there was a minor accident too resulting in damages to the car. There were heated arguments between them as to the cost of repairs, the condition of the car and so on. Looks like they can never be reconciled.

    Even listening to another person talking, being polite to a person when that person is rude, brushing aside snide remarks and insinuations from friends – all are gifts we make to sustain the relationship. But if we cannot afford the gift the result is sheer hell.

    A salesman, after undergoing a vigorous training on how to please his customers, started work. A customer walked into his shop whom the salesman did not like at all. The customer was totally ignorant and was asking irrelevant questions. Nevertheless the salesman bearing in his mind the training he had received indulged in an extra-ordinarily pleasing conversation with the customer softly answering all his irritating questions. Ultimately a sale was clinched and the customer left the shop. The salesman whispered to his colleague: “The sale is done and I have gained a friend. But God, what an enemy he has gained.”

    Psychologists say more than 90% of the stress happens in human relationships. When someone says that her job is highly stressful, most of the time she has in her mind her difficult boss or her demanding customers, and these tend to strain the relationships and increase the stress levels. And relationships are strained because we always make a gift out of fear that if we do not give, our image would get a beating. We do not look into the emotional affordability of the gifts at all. More often than not we would be whispering ‘yes’ to an unreasonable request while our mind would be hollering a big ‘NO.’

    Many parents these days lavish their children with costly dresses, sophisticated gadgets and expensive schooling (though expensive schooling is not synonymous with quality education) well beyond their financial means. In most of the cases these gifts are emotionally unaffordable too. This explains why the slightest provocation, the parents enact violent emotional scenes invariably listing the sacrifices they have made to give the best to their children. Had the gifts been emotionally affordable in the first place such outbursts would not arise at all. And the worst thing a parent can do to her child is to list the sacrifices she has made for him. Nothing distances a child farther than that.
     
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Are Your Gifts Emotionally Affordable? Part II

    Vel was a born helper. Even in his college days he would spend most of the time doing some kind of social work or other. He would teach the slum children, co-ordiante the polio vaccination camps and be a volunteer to hospitals and old age homes. Our teachers used to quote him as a role-model to us.

    His avowed object in life was to marry a lame girl and give her a happy life. In spite of his parents’ objections he did marry a girl who had a pronounced limp because of childhood polio. We all thought that this story would end with the lines “and then they lived happily ever after.” It didn’t.

    Vel did not treat his wife as a life partner to be respected but a child to be fussed with. His office people wanted to felicitate him for the noble act and invited the couple to accept a gift. When Vel’s wife found it difficult to climb up the podium, Vel lifted her with both his hands much to the applause of the crowd and the embarrassment of his wife. His wife was a very sensitive person who did not want to advertise her handicap. But Vel wanted to proclaim to the world that he had done a noble act.

    The root of the problem was that at the bottom of the heart he could not afford the gift emotionally. This manifested in several ways. Once Vel was ill and had a bout of coughing. He signalled to his wife to bring him water. Before she could limp along and bring water Vel lost his patience and shouted at her: “If you are going to hop like this for a cup of water, I will simply die of coughing.”

    Soon Vel developed an unnatural desire to elicit sympathy from his wife’s friends. Once he met his wife’s beautiful friend Sudha and went to the extent of complaining about his wife’s sexual incompatibility which was a blatant falsehood, to put it mildly. Sudha promptly communicated this to his wife who has now sent a divorce notice to Vel.

    The entire story has one theme: making a gift which could not afford. Vel was definitely compassionate and kinder than most men. But he was not definitely that kind to marry a lame girl and give her a normal life.

    It was a cold winter night in a very dense forest. A group of hedgehogs (porcupines) cuddled closer to beat the shivering cold. As they became closer and closer the pines/thorns in the animals’ bodies hurt others. The pain forced them to move apart. But then the biting cold compelled them to move closer. After repeating the process for a while the porcupines were at such a distance from each other that they were near enough to get the body heat of other animals and were far enough to avoid the pin(e)-pricks. That’s precisely the art of human relationships is all about. If there is no relationship at all we would suffer from the chill of loneliness and pointlessness, and if we are too close we would suffer from the ego-pin-pricks of other people. The idea is to maintain the correct distance.


    To relate is to understand. And one glimpse of this understanding is to find out whether your gifts are within your band of emotional affordability.
     
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  3. Sharada

    Sharada Senior IL'ite

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    So true

    "To relate is to understand," that sums it up. Insightful observations have been made - liked the part about the porcupines maintaining the right distance from each other. Emotional affordability is an important aspect of effective communication. Personally I feel one should be friendly without being overbearing, open but not hurtingly frank and should maintain an amicable distance - like the porcupines!
     
  4. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Sharada

    Yours is the only reply to my article on emotional affordability. I am very happy that you appreciated the article in the same way I wrote it. thanks for the nice words.
    sridhar
     
  5. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar, I read your article. You have aptly said that we should be able to afford a gift emotionally also. My husband is in the habit of not taking or giving big financial help from and to others. We added furniture to our home one by one, only when we could afford it. Even my siblings advised me to take further loans and do the work at that time. We did not want to burden others.
    Some time back one of our relatives asked a hugr sum of money as loan. In fact, they have been mismanaging their finances and spending too much for some time and this caused them probelms. My husband refused politely. They are still angry at us, but we feel peace at heart. Had we given the money, they would not have returned it in time, this would have caused dischord between us and also between my husband and myself. People should understand this to avoid many such problems between friends and relatives. Many people borrow costly gadgets, gold jewellery etc. from others on a regular basis. This is also not correct.
     
  6. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Varloo, thanks for your response. I am very happy that my article was able to convince you that your decision was right. One thing I have found out in life is that we can't help any one unless they decide to help themselves. It is one thing if love springs from our heart spontaneously and even before our mind starts thinking in that direction we open our purse and give the money. But if we start to think wheter to help or not then it means we are on the threshold of emotional affordability. It is better to refuse with a clear heart than to give something and regret later. I never lend my car or my books except to the closest of my friends. And financial help I almost deny as a matter of policy. Being a person in the financial field I know in 9 out of 10 cases the help is misused. Whatever help you want to do you can give to a reputed institution. My policy is to give a rupee or two more to the vegetable vendors, auto drivers and porters than to give money to the beggars.
    I am happy you enjoyed the article.
    regards,
    sridhar
     
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  7. Kamalji

    Kamalji IL Hall of Fame

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    Varalotti,

    Wonderful blog.So full of common sense.

    The 1000 Rupee note one was damn good.this happens.

    My daughter got married last year and i did not want to accept envelopes.But my mother insisted,and i had to give in.

    Well the envelopes came, i made the list,and now the list is lost.

    Now the problem is , what am i supposed to give.suppose a guy had given 251 to me, and i give him in return 101 or 151, that will create trouble.If i guve more, then i am confused what he had actually given.Now for life i will have this dilemma.

    You have put everything well.Great write.Regards.kamal
     
  8. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, Kamalji for those nice words. I do cherish them.
    love,
    Varalotti
     
  9. abhatv

    abhatv Senior IL'ite

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    Hello Varalotti sir,

    Had missed this post. Saw it just now. About gifts being emotionally or otherwise affordable, I completely agree. Because I have found people to be in trouble because of gifts purchased for near & dear which is not financially viable to them.

    And to each apna apna views-cause I do not find anything wrong in lending money also to good friends who are in dire need of it or to tide over an extremely difficult situation.

    There is a saying, sorry- I have to rely on a malayalam saying-pathram arinju daanam cheyyanam- ie you should know what the person requires and then gift it. I believe in this.

    Regards,

    Abha.
     
  10. Sindhuja

    Sindhuja Silver IL'ite

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    Varalotti sir,
    I enjoyed reading this article. I myself have witnessed similar episodes. Thank you for sharing the write-up.
    regards,
     

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