Someone from here was visiting India, and asked me if I wanted to send something home. After much thought and deliberation, I finally bought an mp3 player online to be sent home. It looked cool, all white, with better features than the one I have. I beamed at it with pride, not concerned about the price. It was a gift I was sending home. It had better be a nice one. My mom had insisted that I keep the new one and send them the one I use. I refused. Gifts are supposed to be new, unused, and not second hand. The day I went to hand it over to the person who was going home, I lightly touched the player once. I touched it because I knew that very soon the people dear to me were going to touch it. I could imagine sis jumping in excitement while dad tried to read through the instructions provided with the product and mom holding it in her hand, beaming with pride. I finally handed it over to the person.
On reaching India, the person sent me an apologetic email, saying that the mp3 player had been stolen by their maid. I was shocked. I asked if he was sure that the maid had done so. I mean I couldn’t imagine a maid listening to songs from an mp3 player, especially because one had to install stuff on the computer first. I was told that they suspected the maid had done it.
Needless to say, I was upset. Here I had imagined my family rejoicing while they uploaded songs and listened to them using it. The next moment, I was imagining a maid selling the stuff to some guy and getting money out of it. The maid probably did not even know how much it was worth, not just in terms of money, but in terms of sentiments too. It was the first gift I was sending home. I wondered if the maid had ever touched the player the way I did, trying to realize that there was love and sentiment associated with the stuff she was holding, and certain people in the world were waiting eagerly for it. She must have probably thought that these stinking rich people who come from the US eat, sleep, and bathe in money. She had probably sold it to someone at a price much lower than what it was worth. But I wondered if she ever felt a pang of guilt, especially at taking possession of something which was not hers, and was sent with a lot of love. I was imagining my parents using it while in reality the player was destined to go to someone else’s hands. So much for all the money and the sentiments attached and the numerous attempts to create an account from the website it was bought from.
I wonder where my player is now. I wonder if the money (as they say) wasn’t hard earned because then, it would not have gone into unworthy hands. I wonder if the maid had the same sentiments attached to the player that I had while sending it back home. For all I care, the maid’s kid might be using the player as a prop vehicle and driving it noisily across the floor. I wonder why we develop an attachment for something, and then it breaks your heart to let go of it. Most importantly, I wonder if the maid even realized that it was not about money, but about the feelings attached, and the fact that someone is waiting for the gift. All of you must have had your prized possessions stolen some time, maybe the sari your mom gave you, the expensive pen your best friend gave you on your graduation, the watch your husband gave you for your anniversary. How did you cope, knowing that the thing of such immense value to you is in someone else's hands?
I wonder. This is because that is all that I can do right now. But then again, I wonder if it is better to move on and accept the situation, and go get something new. Is it wise to forget about the old player, since it was not meant to be with me from the very beginning?
It seems I am wondering about a lot about things these days.