The act of giving


Peace and Love --- Image by © Images.com/Corbis
Gerald Durrell, the writer and naturalist, narrates how as a young boy, he would ask members of his family to give him birthday presents according to THEIR TASTES, the things THEY LIKED.  So, from his fashion-conscious sister, Margo, he got gauzy fabric which he turned into fishing nets.  From his literary elder brother, Larry, he got books, and from his other brother, Leslie, who was a do-it-yourself enthusiast, he got a row-boat, he which he explored the neighbouring coastline.
At an early age, Gerald Durrell ha intuited the double gift, that is THE GIFT OF GIVING.  Giving is a double gift because it benefits not just the recipient, but it also benefits the giver  Durrell’s brothers and sister gave the birthday boy, not just what he would like but also what they liked—- they gave a part of themselves. ————-It is this giving of oneself —— and not just giving of material gifts, in the form of cash or kind —— that makes the ACT OF GIVING a joyous experience.  The act of giving lifts the blindfold from consciousness, turns it from its selfish inwardness into a self-less outwardness.  When  we gift someone something, we exchange the inward solitude of acquisition for the outward, of sharing ourselves with others and having them share themselves with us.  That’s all very well about Bill Gates or Azim Premji giving things away, they have surplus billions to bestow on others.  But most of us who get by as best as we can, can we afford to give to others ?  The answer is YES.  Each of us has some gift, be it the gift for languages or a gift for rhythm, these are innate gifts which come from our genetic makeup.  But there is one gift we all have in common —– THE GIFT OF LIFE.  Learning the gift of giving is recognising the boundless generosity of the gift of life we all share.
Teaching someone to read is a gift, giving company to an elderly person is a gift, extending a hand of friendship to someone who considers you an enemy, is a gift.  There are no limits to the number of gifts we can give away ——- they will enrich us in the bargain.————— Between October 2nd and October 8th, each year we celebrate Daan Utsav Week, the festival that celebrates the JOY OF GIVING.  It’s what you might call GETTING YOURSELF GIFT-RAPT.
—-Jug Suraiya.
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