I am too just-married to get tired of writing stuff related to the wedding. Gone are those days when people were anxious to know what gifts they got. Nowadays its all about hoping that the unwanted gifts dont exceed the storage space at your home. There are 3 broad categories when it comes to gifting 'items':
Only 2% belong to this category. They know your tastes, they know how usable it is to you, they know that the chances of someone else gifting the same item are slim.
If I were Lord Shiva or Vishnu, I would have cursed the entire humanity for how I am ignored when it comes to gift items.
A typical conversation of a couple goes about like this:
Husband: We have to go to that wedding in the evening.
Wife: What gift shall we buy?
Husband: Some Ganesha gift item of course.
Wife: (smiling) Of course! (What else?)
54% of the people fall under this category. Ganesha has got great range, he comes in all forms - from the most artistic to highly innovative to funny to absolutely ridiculous. My brother has a collection of over 200 Ganeshas - dancing, playing music, sitting, standing, sleeping, programming - you name it, we have it. So every time someone gives a Ganesha, its mostly the one you already have. Or even worse, you get two pieces of the same variety on the same day. I love you Ganesha, but bring on the Ayyappas, Kaalabhairavas and Gajalakshmis please!
No occasion is complete without a few unusable clocks being gifted. 54% of the people fall under this category as well. I am seriously planning to have one of living room walls as a "clock wall" and hang all the clocks that we got, each one set to the time zone of a different country.
Those of you who must be wondering why the percentages are not adding up properly, 10% of the people actually gift clocks with Ganesha on them! :D
If you are not the innovative types when it comes to gifts, better stick to giving cash. You will be really appreciated. There are many varieties in the cash givers as well and each one may belong to one of more of these categories:
There will always be a few who do not write their names on the gift covers. Few are definitely the "dont-want-to-be-discovered-of-giving-so-less" type. The rest belong to the very old thinking that even writing their names on the covers amounts to showing off.
Among the gift covers, you will at least find a note given by someone who just slipped it into your hands while offering a handshake. May be these are the ones who paid an unexpected visit, had no gift cover, at the same time did not wish to go giftless.
The One Rupee
They will never ever give you money without a one rupee coin along with the gift amount. One logic I have heard from them is that "plus one" means continual growth and thats wishing for prosperity. 50, 100, 500, 1000 just dont exist in their worlds. It has to be 51, 101 and so on. The funny thing about this is, may be 50 years ago when one rupee was still a decent gift amount, did these people give two rupees? :D
This, at least to me, is a new phenomenon. Of people writing "100/-" in the corner of the cover, near the opening and even sometimes as a heading on the cover. They are exactly opposite to the "Anonymous" types. They want the giftees to know how much they gave. Even if the money accidentally falls off from the cover, they ensure that you know how much they had actually gifted you.
Staple, Gum, Staple-n-Gum
Some staple on the cover, some staple on the cover and the note together. Some use gum to close the covers. And some are so generous in the usage of the gum as well as staples that I have a few notes that I am not able to take off from the cover!
On a completely different note, have you noticed that even in today's times, most of the men hesitate to shake hands with the bride and most women hesitate to shake hands with the groom when they come to wish the couple on the stage?
Feminists who scream hoarse about patriarchy and all that crap have no clue how men are actually discriminated in the society. Men just do the "I am the boss" act, but its the women who pull all the strings. Women in south india have this habit of gifting each other "blouse piece" during any religious or social occasion. Men usually get nothing, the lucky ones at the most get a kerchief. If you are in the closest family circles, the women get nice sarees when all you get is a lousy "shirt piece" (yes, the white shirt with blue stripes or brown checks) Researches have shown that the gift shirt pieces get redistributed 5 times more than gifted sarees.
The most used phrase on the reception stage by friends/relatives is "Please bring him/her home sometime". Apart from "Happy married life" of course. I have already promised 1583 people that we, the newly wed couple would "definitely" visit their home. Even if we visit one family every weekend, I will almost be 60 by the time I fulfill my promise. By then, we will not be a newly wed couple though.
"Remember me?" is the most tricky question, often asked by that over enthusiastic uncle on stage when you are already on the verge of collapsing due to dehydration and bright video recorder lights. "Hmm, yes uncle" and a sheepish smile works most of the times, while your mind is busy guessing if he is a distant cousin of dad, an old colleague of mom or someone who was supposed to be going to the wedding in the adjacent choultry. The even-more-enthusiastic uncles dont stop there, they come up with a "Tell me who I am". Seeing the name written on the gift cover from the corner of your eye helps sometimes (It can backfire too, if he is giving the gift on behalf of his aged father who could not attend the wedding) "I know uncle, but I dont know exactly how to tell it" is the safest, most innocent-looking and honest-but-not-rude answer.
Sanskrit was my first language in high school and college. I understand it quite decently. But, I have no idea what all things I have promised to the poojari during the marriage ceremony. Just like knowing english does not ensure full understanding of what you have agreed upon while signing up your home loan papers. You just have to do it blindly. And trust your lucky stars!