How Much Time Does It Take To Gift A Tshirt?

Posted by Rohit Rajgarhia on Feb 6, 2021
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Sharing one of my favourite stories, which came up in an Awakin Talk between Rahul Mehta, Rajni Bakshi and Rajiv Khandelwal. Everytime I remember this story, I feel touched, so sharing with all you here.

Rahul: I would switch track to a personal story. You spoke of your experience of volunteering at the blind school. We also heard another story from your friends Jyotsna and Sachin. Jyotsna spoke of her 3-year old Rohan (now a 26-year old) who liked a tee-shirt you were wearing (bought from the US) and asked you to get him one like that. You promised him to get it on your next US trip a few months away. Unfortunately, you could not locate one of Rohan’s size on your US trip. Years later, on Rohan’s 18th birthday, you gifted him the very same tee-shirt neatly folded, preserved for over 15 years in as-if-new condition. You waited for Rohan to grow to the size of the tee-shirt and set it aside to gift it to him on such an occasion.

I contrast the two stories of your volunteering at the blind school and this one. I see a beautiful difference. In the first story, it was as if you were deciding the outcome - and giving it away for immediate effect. In the tee-shirt incident, you are sitting their planting a seed, not bothered if it will blossom or not, instead internalizing the gift. We see this from a distance and it amazes us - the evolution from the haste of effect to the organic pace of gracious love. Would you like to reflect upon this?

Rajiv : I feel the loss of words. Also, how did this story reach you! The fact that you found it, and you saw depth in it - I am grateful for that.

I am not in a hurry anymore. There is no rush to results anymore. If at all, there is a longing for deep and timeless relationships in my personal and work life. On the tee-shirt, I spontaneously set it aside for Rohan for a day when he would be of the size of the tee-shirt. Every year I would take it out, wash it, iron it - to keep it in ship shape was a challenge for me! He would have a forgotten what tee-short he asked for - he was just 3 years then. But for me, it was deeply satisfying. I would say - how could we think timelessly in our relationships?

When a good deed is done in a hurry, it gets over in a hurry too, there will be no vision in it.. The impact also vanishes in a hurry.
Of course, it does not mean we do not act in emergencies.

Emergency help has its own effect and it is as much required to be done. But that is not the only thing. And just to act with the urgency of the now, would be limiting. Immediate results are not as important to me as the process and the direction. Impact and effect has its place but to insist upon it constrains our ability to offer.

(On the day we held the talk, Rohan was watching the talk with his family. They were all in tears as they heard the stories. And you can guess which tee-shirt was Rohan wearing that day. A tshirt bought 23 years ago, but still making people tear up. What builds that kind of fabric? )

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Comments (1)

  • Nipun Mehta wrote ...

    Wow! I'm not sure if I'm moved more by Rajeev's act, or Rahul's incredible pre-work to find such a story, or the serendipity of Rohan wearing that shirt during the call, or the beads of the rosary that made this come to us! Maybe it's all of the above. :)