If I could gift or receive one thing, what would it be?
Looking back at my childhood days, I don’t remember gifts being diverse. Most relatives would gift me clothing or cash, and most friends would (and this was on very rare occasions) gift me video game cartridges. No one really paid attention to what I usually did, which was read. Perhaps books weren’t the ideal “long-lasting” gift, according them anyway. Not that I minded back then. Childhood was meant to be playing, be it outdoors or indoors. And I was happy enough to get those cartridges. Only since then, once my passion for exploring the various worlds hidden away between the pages of a book increased, have I come to realize the one thing, that if I could receive or gift one thing, it would be a book.
Books are cathartic. On days when my mood is greyer than the sky during monsoon, I have turned to my comfort reads like Harry Potter series, or the Five Find-outers series, or even retellings of mythology like Jaya, and they’ve taken me away from reality and into the world of joy they create and recreate. While the “reality” hasn’t exactly vanished after that, reading has often given me strength to take on whatever else life could throw at me after. I’ve been to London, to Manchester, to Kolkata and to Kashmir through the words of books and the power of my imagination.
If I look at the bookish gifts I’ve received from friends and family recently, I’m happy to see most of them know what kind of books I love to read. This is especially true of my book twin, but that’s expected. The happiness I get from seeing a book I have not read, with an inscription inside sharing their wishes, that’s something I don’t always get words for. A colleague even gifted me one book for Secret Santa a few years back, and I was pleasantly surprised, because I didn’t expect that from her.
Many a time, I have been asked why I love inscriptions inside a book. Some even have phrased it as “defacing” the book. That’s going on a whole new level of offensiveness I feel. The note inside personalizes the gift. It’s easy to just buy a book via Amazon and make sure it reaches the giftee in time. At times, paucity of time calls for that. But if I have time, I always try to send a book with a note. It shows the gift is meaningful, and perhaps, years later, when they open and read that note, it might bring back a memory.
Even today morning, when I opened an old book gifted to me by a dear friend, the note inside made me smile. The book, The Kashmir Shawl, was sent as part of a bookish exchange that included letters too. How easily we wrote to each other then, not having met even once, and yet feeling like we had met so often. When we did meet last year, we talked about that too. Memories, happy ones, triggered by the words of a handwritten note. Not the fancy gift wrap, but one wrapped with the warmth of the thoughts of the one who wrote them.
Little things that matter. Here are some books I’ve received as gifts. From literary fiction to fantasy, crime thrillers to non fiction, I’ve been lucky enough to be gifted some wonderful books. Most of these books have a note inside for sure. Some were gifted on Christmas, some on birthdays, and some just as bookish memories of meetups.
If you’re a book lover, and there’s a good chance that you are, what genre of books would you prefer gifting or getting as a gift?
The #WordsMatter blog hop is stopping by ABWM today, having previously stopped at Shilpa Garg’s blog. After this, the hop heads to Jyothi Nair’s blog. There are 25 lovely stops expected this time on the hop, mine being one of them, each of us writing on what might be the one gift we’d love gifting or being gifted! You can catch them all on social media with that hashtag!