One of the most cherished possessions among my books is the Pleasure Book by Julius Fast. It is a collection of the many different ways, some common, some unusual, acts of humans through which they find pleasure and happiness in life. Like there is one who finds immense pleasure in showering, those who love to watch the elements, trekking, swimming, bird watching, doing nothing, smoking a pipe and so on and so forth. One that sticks to my memory is about a person who finds pleasure in gifting. He gifts, not on birthdays or such occasions, but totally without a reason. He painstakingly learns what the other person loves most, and then gifts it, as a total surprise. He says that what gives him the greatest pleasure is to watch the way happiness lights up in the other person's face.
The other day I gifted a calendar to a close friend of mine. This was no ordinary calendar. I had bought it from Welfare of Stray Dogs group in Mumbai, each costing Rs.160/-. I get them from the group every year, as a gesture of donation, a contribution, an acknowledgement of the great work they are doing. I get 5 or 6 copies and gift them to those friends whom I know love dogs.
Yesterday this particular friend who is as keen on dogs as I am, visited; I gave him one calendar. I had given him one last year too. Flipping over the sheets, he said that the daughter of his housemaid ( a girl of 18 or 19) has recently started evincing interest in birds and he gave her a book on birds of Kerala in Malayalam. She is interested in birds and animals and stuff like that, he said. He said - ' I think I will give this to her'.
I am not sure the feeling of deflation I felt is remotely akin to pleasure!!! :-D
********** Balachandran , Trivandrum, 26.01.2013