KAJAL CHATTERJEE, KOLKATA
While roaming from one area to another, Lord Buddha reached the outskirts of a kingdom and settled under a tree. Hearing the news, the subjects as well as the Royals of the kingdom rushed there. Some gifted him precious clothes, some delicious food items. The wealthy merchants and even the King came up with diamonds and golden jewellery but Buddha remained absolutely unmoved and did not even touch or acknowledge the gifts. At the end of the day, an old poor woman called out to Buddha by partially hiding from a nearby bush. She expressed her inability to gift any item because of her stark poverty. So she said she is sacrificing the only thing in her possession – the last piece of cloth to hide shame! Buddha humbly told her that this is the greatest gift anybody could give him. In some other book, the gift may be a half-eaten mango instead of the last or only piece of cloth. Somewhere the protagonist might be some other person instead of Buddha. But the spirit of all varieties of the story is the same – the worth of a gift is not dependent upon the price or glitter embedded in it but upon the sincerity, love, respect, emotion and selfless sacrifice attached with it. In this respect, I desire to recollect an incident. A decade ago, we went to Puri with my in-laws. The newspapers of Kolkata used to reach there in the evening. At that time, I used to subscribe a particular daily which, though of high quality, is far from popular compared to others. Even in Kolkata, this daily gets sold in rare stalls. So how can it hold any chance in far-distant Puri! But one evening, I got startled and moved to find my father-in-law handing over that daily to me. He explored the Puri market to get access to this rare daily just for the sake of my fondness to it. The price of it might be Rs 2 at that time, but that unexpected gift is a lifetime treasure for me because of the undiluted love and emotion embedded in it. Not through commercialisation of Valentine’s Day based on precious gifts, may love and emotion be judged through warmth of selfless heart throughout the year.