I normally take my time over buying presents, so never deluded myself into believing it would be easy. But I don't think I ever realised just how hard it could be to buy something for a person you know nothing about.
Most of the girls in office like the accessories I wear. If I knew for sure that the recipient would be a female, I could have bought something that most people would have liked. But what if the name I drew out happened to be male?
I could have bought a funky cap but what if the message just didn't gell with the recipient? In my social circle, curios are always a safe bet, but they just will not work as gifts inan organisation where many of the programme staff live in slum communities where seven members of a family squeeze into an area less than that of my bedroom.
Books are always safe gifts, but how can you buy a book for a person you know nothing about- English or Hindi, funny or realistic, fiction or non-fiction, spiritual or irreverent - no, books were out. What then?
I finally settled on a coffee mug. A chunky thing, with a picture of a koala bear. It was a gift that said nothing, meant nothing, but which would work for practically every recipient. When I knew who was getting the gift, I was glad I did not choose any of the other half a dozen things I thought of, but equally, I was sad that the gift would not be as perfect as the other gifts I could have given the same person.
Isn't it the same with almost everything else? When you know who your reader is, isn't it easier to write for him/ her?