A relative of ours had a baby born recently in Chennai. We visited the mother and the baby yesterday. As is the custom, we placed some money as our humble gift on the baby’s tiny pink hands. The young parents thanked us. We came home happily.
After coming home, we (my wife and I) reminded ourselves of an incident that happened 2 years ago in Gurgaon. My brother-in-law (my wife’s brother) lives in Gurgaon and he is married to a Punjabi girl. While we were in Gurgaon we happened to visit one of her relatives. They had a baby born recently (at that time). Those relatives are no strangers to us. We know them very well.
As is the custom and also we wanted to, I placed some money in the baby’s hand. The young mother refused to accept. She kept saying “no” “no” “no”. I insisted 2 times and she kept saying “no”. I then gave up.
When returning home, my brother in law and his wife said I should have forced the money into the baby’s hand in spite of the mother repeatedly saying “no”. She said it is our custom to say “no” several times before accepting the gift.
(I did not ask her then. Now I think I should have asked her what she meant by “our custom”. Did she mean “Punjabi custom” or “North Indian custom” or “Indian custom” or “human custom”?)
I basically trust people. If I offer something and they say “no”, I sincerely think they mean it. I am like that. If my intention is to accept something, I never say “no” for a few times just for the sake of it. I do not like the “izhupari” (rough translation: tug of war).
When I am giving a gift, please accept it graciously. I do not want to beg you to accept my gift. I do not want to argue with you to accept my gift. I do not want to fight with you to accept my gift. If I end up doing that, I am exhausted. The happiness is gone.
What do you say?