I was having dinner with my son. After some time, he started making excuses for not finishing it. Eventually, three bites were left and I fed him to ensure nothing was left on the plate. We were always told to eat everything on the plate without keeping aside any part of the food. ‘Making the plate empty’ is a sign of respect towards food in the Indian culture.
But there are cultures where some part of food is left on the plate intentionally. That signifies having abundance. Eating everything and making it empty is awkward for them. Imagine you go out with a colleague from this culture and give an unappreciative look! Or pointing it out in case you run out of topics to discuss? Do you know which culture is this?
We bought a baby stroller for the first time when my son was born in Singapore. After putting a tika (red vermilion powder) on the stroller, my mother asked me to put an ant on the stroller and give it a ride, before placing my son on it. I was startled.
“This is for the safety of my grandson if any untoward has to happen, it will happen to the ant”, my mother said.
“But we are not sending him to Mars on the stroller; to test it on an ant first”, I said. My argument did not amuse her.
“From where do I get an ant here?”, I asked. “Put any God’s idol and give him the ride.”, she replied.
Even scientists at NASA have been using a similar concept. Who am I to challenge the belief?
It was my 7th Birthday. As I unravelled the beautiful blue coloured box, a Casio digital wristwatch was smiling at me. My grandfather exactly knew, what will work wonders for me. He was my Santa!
When at abroad, gifting a watch to your Chinese colleague should be avoided. ‘Giving a clock’ sounds like the Chinese words for ‘attending a funeral ritual’. It also symbolizes running out of time. A nicely wrapped tea box, fruits (Oranges have a special significance, given in even number) and Red envelop (‘Hong bao’) with even number amount for kids could make you a Santa!
With Europeans, for example, Germans: flowers, quality wine, chocolates, or a small gift that is not expensive would be appropriate. Perfume is considered too personal for gifting!