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Dec 20

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THE SPIRIT OF THE “SECRET ANGEL” – THE STORY BEHIND A COCONUT, SOCKS, SLIPPERS & YES AN UNDERWEAR

Yesterday after a brief visit to the conference room, when I walked back to my seat, I was surprised to see a tender coconut delicately placed on my desk with a straw as well, to enable yours truly to enjoy a refreshingly healthy drink! A post-it attached to the shell read “Take care and enjoy your healthy drink”. A noble gesture indeed! While I was happily gulping down this generous offering, my eyes lazily wandered across my desk to see a small sheaf of papers with the ubiquitous post-it note again stuck to the first page! A close scrutiny of the papers revealed that it was brochure advertising an intensive therapy to battle obesity! The post-it reiterated the need for me to take care of my health and also stated that if I was in need of an appointment, assistance would be willingly offered!

If the aforementioned incident took me by surprise, it was just the beginning of an extraordinary series of events. Today post consuming a sumptuous and unhealthy lunch, (the ingredients of which I will desist from revealing here), I was knocked off my feet to see two packets beautifully wrapped in green awaiting my attention. This time instead of a post-it (the manufacturers at 3M would be disappointed here), there was a print out which informed me that the contents embedded within the confines of the packets were especially ‘handpicked’ for me and that I should be having a very nice, ‘sexy’ and ‘red’ day! With a little degree of trepidation I proceeded to open the packets and within a few seconds found myself handling the following variegated items:

1. A deodorant from Playboy (just loved the smell);

2.A Cologne from Playboy again (have not tried it out yet);

3. A pair of Kappa slippers (looks phenomenal and fits me to the ‘T’);

 4. A pair of red and white socks (the neighbour’s one year old kid is addicted to it); and

5. A KINKY LOOKING LEVI’s XL UNDERWEAR!!! (Of course I have not shown this neither to my neighbor nor her toddler!)

Whilst an unsuspecting reader might find the whole episode to be an exercise in madness, I need to clarify that there indeed exists a method to this madness. The genesis behind these unsuspecting gifts and the non-disclosure of the benevolent and magnanimous giver was the playing of a most popular game going by the name of “Secret Angel”/”Secret Santa”, which is played a few days before the advent of Christmas. This game which requires a substantial number of people to participate, and consequently, to enhance the level of excitement and exuberance, is based on a simple and rudimentary set of rules. The organisers write down the names of all the participants on small pieces of paper (commonly known as chits) and mix them up in a container. Each participant is then required to pick one chit which contains the name of a fellow participant. Once all the chits are picked, the real excitement begins! The players are supposed to maintain strict secrecy and not disclose the name of their ‘secret child’ to anyone. The secret child is then plied with teasers of various sorts initially (underwears’ also included!!) until on an appointed date, a final gift is given.

Though the pinnacle of the game is the final day when not only the ultimate gifts are shared, but the names of the secret angels and the children revealed, the greatest excitement is caused by the events that unfurl during the days that lead up to the grand finale. It is during this ‘preliminary’ phase that ‘teasers’ find their way miraculously into draws, cabinet racks, cup boards and reception counters! The challenge to procure a ‘teaser’ is so veritable that it puts to the sternest test the aesthetic as well crude senses of the players and the result is an unbelievable panoply of items ranging from the sublime to the silly. A representative sample of such ‘teasers’ include exquisitely crafted handbags and wallets, jars of candies, boxes of chocolates, bouquet of flowers, bundle of beedies (not an exaggeration), lungies (I myself gifted one a year earlier), and of course a red Levis XL underwear! (If you do not believe me, I can show it to you, but of course not by being in it!)

As I was going through this singularly unique assortment of my peculiar teasers, I began to reminisce about the spirit underlying the playing of this wonderful game. What is it that makes a whole bunch of fully grown adults shed their inhibitions and rediscover the child in them? A child that is brimming with pranks, filled with mischievousness and embodies selflessness! It is extraordinarily amazing to see people scurrying around to procure meaningful and alternately trivial gifts and devising phenomenal means to surreptitiously present them! It is a spectacular sight to behold the minds which conjure up ideas which at times seem to test the very limits of imagination and come up triumphant! By the way, taking extremely painstaking efforts to gift wrap a bright, shiny red underwear in green wrapping is a classic case in point! But I personally and honestly think that the greatest pleasure in this game is derived by seeing the twinkle in the eye, the gleam on the face and the smile on the lips when a person receives his/her gift. The immeasurable joy of giving is brought to the fore when a gift, howsoever innocuous or trivial the same may be finds its way into the hands of the recipient! As Maya Angelou once famously remarked “I have found that amongst its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver” The pleasure of giving is the one that transforms acquaintances into long lasting bonds and converts moments of seemingly little consequences into events of great celebrations!

More than anything else it bears ample testimony to that unique connect between two human beings which distinguishes mankind from the rest of the animate species. It is indeed a priceless moment to see an impromptu gathering, overcome by uncontrollable curiosity, goading on an individual to make haste in opening a small package strategically placed on the latter’s desk with a view to ascertaining the contents of the same. The brilliant possibility of the person instrumental in placing the package there in the first place also forming a part of the crowd as if he/she is oblivious to the happenings, lends a special flavor to the occasion. Hatchets are buried, sins are forgiven and new bonds are forged when people go out of their way to lend a semblance of happiness and joy to their fellow-men. This is the spirit that identifies itself with this seemingly simple but actually profound game and strives to inculcate the traits of love and selflessness.

This is the spirit which brings an involuntary smile on to my face every time I take a look at the gleaming, spanking new, red Levis XL Underwear which came wrapped in a green package! Of course tomorrow is yet another day and I may again go into a conference room, and I will surely have lunch and will come back to my desk to find……..maybe yet Levis XL underwear? But hopefully not red yet again!!!

About the author

Venkat

maniacal penchant for books, more books, still more books and lot more books - When I am not watching cricket that is! Love my Scotch and scribble for fun!

2 comments

  1. sudhakar

    It’s well written. I loved your narration……..

    1. Venkat

      Thanks Sudhakar!

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