A Gift Forever

If I attend  every single birthday that our kids are invited to I would soon weigh more than a few hippos considering the amount of cakes, fries, pizzas and all kind of junk is served in these birthday parties.


Fortunately dad’s are rarely invited (I am not complaining parents of Hunny, Bunny and Sunny,  in case you are reading this), and I am yet to reach hippo proportions. Anyways this post is about the debate we have every time the kids are invited to a birthday party. While the girls debate what to wear, their mother is more worried about what gift to give to the birthday baby. How old the kid is, did she came to one of ours birthday? Can we circulate a gift received by one of our kids? Do you think they will notice that the gift given by us was given to us by X? And it goes on.

During one of these debates I went down the memory lane and reached my childhood when we first celebrated my birthday that I remember.  If my graying cells are correct it was my 10th birthday and around 8-10 kids of my age with their siblings in tow came to attend the same.

Like all kids, I was more interested in the gifts hiding in the colorful wrappers and was trying to guess the gift from the wrapper color, size of packet and even the weight when I was receiving it.

Soon the guest left, or probably I shooed them away after collecting my booty for the day. Even before the door was locked I was ripping apart the wrappers and looking at what I have received.

Here are a few things I remember

  • A chess board
  • A small car
  • Some toys  ( I don’t remember exactly what they were or who gave them)

But there was this one slim packet that I opened in the end but screamed with joy on opening it. It had a book with beautiful pictures, a translation of a Russian book in Hindi with the title

‘Nanha Shoorvir’…or Little Brave heart. Over the years I lost all my toy, the car was dismantled to understand how it moved, making it immobile forever.

Of all the things that I received all those decades ago, I still have the book. The pages have become a bit pale but the pictures of the little Brave heart helping a Russian commander with some secret information to defeat the Nazis in that area are still bright. The story is still itched in my mind, and every now and then when I am browsing through our book shelf I stumble on it and go through its pages.  In those few moments I am transported back to that day when I received it as a gift on my birthday. When I flip though it’s pages I am once again a 10 year old boy surrounded by his friends merrily singing “Happy Birthday”, with an eye towards gift packs.

For some reason the book survived when all the toys, games and other stuff that I got on my birthday were lost in time.

Although I have been reading even before I got this book as a gift, but for some reason this one has always been special to me. Perhaps after receiving this book as a gift my love for reading blossomed, that has resulted in a small library in our home and the girls are adding to the collection.

What is your earliest memory of books other than your text books? How about sharing that here?

Sasha and Prasad Np are proud parents of 2 girls whom they fondly call Princess and Pinkette. He wears many hats after taking a break from being corner office critter for a long time. He is now an entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, traveler and a potential investor in start-ups with unique concepts especially if they are in travel related business. He blogs at Desi Traveler, and can be reached at Facebook and Twitter.

  • Sid Balachandran

    Beautifully written, and definitely invokes old memories. Strangely enough no one seems to have given me any books for my birthdays. Nevertheless the earliest memory I have of my books is from when I was probably 7 years old. My mom being an English teacher had a library full of books. Most of them were way past my comprehension-ability, and hence I used to just turn the pages. However strangely enough there were a collection of Enid Blyton books, and one particular one caught my attention. It was a children’s novel called “The Enchanted Forest”. And that version had an illustration at the beginning of every chapter, which helped paint a picture. Anyway long story short, Enid Blyton still remains one of my favorite authors and I still have that particular book (along with its subsequent 2 parts) still in my library, and I look forward to reading it again with my little one 🙂 Thanks for rekindling those memories Prasad!

    • Enid Blyton is the best, now my daughter reads some of the same books, though now a days Diary of a Wimpy kid series is immensely popular.

      I think reading is also hereditary with you gaining the habit from your parents. Thanks…

  • Gauri

    I used to be a huge Enid Blyton fan as well. I’ve read and re-read The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, Mallory Towers and the Mr.Muddle series was a special favourite. Also the Nancy Drews.
    However, with kids now (and I can vouch for this as a mom and an English teacher), there seems to be a great divide w.r.t Enid Blyton. Either they love them or hate them. The elder sibling at home used to love books by EB while the younger sibling, who is also a voracious reader, never ever took to them at all.

    • Sid Balachandran

      Absolutely spot on Gauri. There’s always been this divide. I’ve noticed it a lot more with the newer generations; Reckon it might be to do with the style of writing. Though both “Enid Blyton’s books” and “Twilight Series” can be considered as fantasy stories, do you suppose its the writing style? Sorry Prasad, kind of hijacked the comment section of your beautiful post!

      • Thanks Gauri …I still remember hiding my Famous Five in the cover of my note books to avoid detection.
        And Sid you are welcome to hijack any time you want to, love the value you bring to the discussion…

      • Gauri

        Could be the style of writing, Sid or maybe the simplicity of the plots. It is not as much EB’s books which have been a favourite across generations but more of the fact that children nowadays are a lot more complex, I guess, than we were during our childhood. Things around them are getting more complex and there is an increasingly large spectrum of kids that need more complex stimuli.

  • “How old the kid is, did she came to one of ours birthday? Can we circulate a gift received by one of our kids? Do you think they will notice that the gift given by us was given to us by X?” – How sweetly honest. 🙂 I think my mother worked really hard with us kids to tell us that it’s bad manners to open the gift in front of the gift giver. I remember stacking them away from the guests’ eyes and waiting for them to leave. Yes, you can judge me now! 😀
    Wonderful post! The books inside the wrappers were the easiest to guess. Clothes I found boring (at that age) and a board game got me going. It meant sessions upon sessions of fun with my cousins from our joint family. I also remember receiving letter pads with a Reynold’s ball point pen. 🙂
    Oh, you made me miss those days and those gifts. Now, it’s all about Chinese lights and strange sounding rhymes.