Monday, July 23, 2007

What Present Can I Bring For My Host's Kids?

I've been thinking about what kind of presents to bring with me to Hyderabad for my hosts and for the people at the university who have helped me out.

I asked S., and he said the customary gift was a really nice inkpen. I... um... can't afford that, especially not times the number of people who would need one.

I asked my host if there was anything I could bring, and he named a few textbooks he would like to read, so I ordered them off of Amazon Marketplace and got a few extra titles to distribute to the dean, the faculty member who signed my recommendation, etc.

And for my host's wife, I've got a lovely candle in a pretty holder. One can never have too many candles, yes? (If this is a bad gift, please let me know -- I'll exchange it.)

As for my host's children -- I didn't want to get individual gifts because of my whole lack of income thing, so I thought it would be fun to get them all a game they could play together. But I didn't want something that was so saturated in American idioms or trivia that it would be difficult or frustrating to play (eg. "Junior Trivial Pursuit" or any of those damn Cranium things).

So I was thinking I should get them Jenga. Everybody loves Jenga, right? Plus it's completely spatial and requires no text -- it can be played as easily in Telugu as it can in English. ^__^

Here's the question: is this something that middle-class Hyderabadi children would already have? I have no idea if Hasbro has infiltrated the Indian market. Do kids in India grow up with Hungry Hungry Hippos and Uno and Twister, or are they playing really neat board games that I've never heard of?

Do let me know. ^__^


neha vish said...

Gifting an inkpen is too late 80s. :) No a serious note, people don't know what to do with an inkpen anymore. Another thing - candles are useful in India - but because you have power cuts. :) Though it's entirely possible the household already has a generator or something. But it's a sweet gift.

How old are the children? I hardly find kids playing ANYTHING in India these days. If they're below 11, they're stuck to cartoon channels. Need I say that you're a complete doll for buying gender neutral gifts for the kids. :)

Anonymous said...


I agree with Neha - a pen of any kind would be too old-fashioned.

Most middle-class kids in India seem to be very similar to middle-class kids here - electronic games are the games they're most familiar with. With people of my generation though (late 30s) Taboo and Pictionary seem to be very popular - and my kids (7&5) have picked up on these games with enthusiasm and introduced them to their friends.

Hasbro definitely exists in India - so most games should be available there, though probably more expensive than here.

Hostess gifts - depends how "upscale" your hosts are - my mom LOVES the big candles we get here, but only because they burn for hours and are so useful for powercuts! She doesn't think of them as decorative items :-)
I've had better luck with lotions/showergels. Everyone seems to like those. (Bath and Bodyworks sales, and tape down the tops of any lotions/gels with duct-tape)


Blue said...

I did think of the power cuts. I suppose I'm like Piglet and like to give Useful Presents. ^__^

I figured Hasbro, etc. was already around in India -- was trying to think, with my mother, about what I could give children that was "American" and could only be found in America. If globalism means one can get anything anywhere, I'm at a complete loss. I'd almost have to go to one of those Old-Timey Tourist Villages and get a wooden whirligig or something like that... but that would be a really boring present.

Plus I'm not going to make a trip to an Old-Timey Tourist Village anytime soon. ^__^

Other thoughts?

maya said...

Board Games! I'd highly recommend Cranium-type stuff; it's competitive though not killer so there're less sore feelings--plus it can be played across a wide spectrum of age. "Who-nu" frinstance can be played by adults to kids as young as three. "Slap-Happy" is also fun. "50 Things Kids can do to save the Earth" is a book that's nice to give.

As for hostess gifts, candles and shower gels are excellent suggestions. If you're looking for gifts that won't weight your luggage down as much, prints of artwork or cooking tools (like a spaghetti portion measurer or server--those ladles with serrated edges) are inexpensive but very useful.

Have a good Hyderabad trip! It's beautiful (but very hot this time of the year!).

maya said...

Oh! and "Magnetix" (

My li'l monster is addicted to them and you can even get them at the dollar store. OTOH, there appears to have been heartbreak associated with kids ingesting the pieces, so for older kids only. None of the games i've mentioned are for ingesting, btw :)