Besides bright lights, Mumbai-based photographer Frank Ahalpara’s favourite thing about the festive season is wrapping gifts. “I enjoy the process of putting together a thoughtful gift for friends and family. I usually avoid wrapping gifts with coloured paper and refrain from using plain brown paper bags too. I get tremendous satisfaction from using unconventional material and taking up the challenge to tuck precise corners. In the age of e-commerce and digital cards, personalising a gift the traditional way is a rarity,” he says with a passion.
Yet fewer people, especially 25- to 34-year-olds, are interested in buying wrapping paper and cards for the gifts they give at Diwali. This perceived shift in personalising gifts could partly be due to green gifting concerns. Perhaps, there’s also a move away from the superficiality that can come with the festive season, a feeling that the love you have for your ‘giftee’ just isn’t possible to sum up with rolls of mass-produced embellished paper. But the more DIY among us might call it laziness or a lack of care instead. Maybe the current generation just don’t want to put in the effort previous generations did and prefer to send their texts and unwrapped Amazon parcels because it’s easy and instant. Maybe it’s a symptom of us not understanding the value of giving; that this is a time that used to be about goodwill and sharing, etc, doesn’t mean that much anymore.
Divya Choudhary, who’s part of the team at Nicobar’s flagship store in Delhi, believes otherwise. “Now more than ever, connection is priority. To say that the last eight months have been unusual is putting it mildly. While we’re big believers of giving thoughtful gifts all year round (and sometimes for no reason at all), it feels important to reach out and let people you love know that you’re thinking of them,” she says.
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