When Arjun Basu gave Twitter a try three years ago, his first tweet wasn’t the usual mic check. Instead he wrote a story, edited it to 140 characters, and hit send. Intrigued and inspired by the limitations, Arjun’s stories, coined Twisters, now number in the thousands.
In addition to these pithy slices of life, Arjun has also authored Squishy, a book of short stories, and his first novel is currently making the rounds with publishers. Today he shares his own gift-giving stories with you, without any character limits. Thanks Arjun!
What are the best gifts you’ve given or received?
I think, first, gifts are situational. An amazing gift can quickly become useless. The idea of a gift is relative. For my last birthday I received socks among other things. Very funky socks. I have a sock problem (meaning, I love socks too much). I admit this. And my wife fed that problem. I was thrilled. Five years ago, I might have looked at the socks and asked “what are you, my mother?” In that same batch of gifts, I recieved the new Momofuku cookbook. Again, I was thrilled. Wait, I may have mixed up two different gift giving events. Good gifts kind of blur together…. Now, because of what I’ve just said, I have no idea what the best gift I’ve ever given was. I’m trying very very hard not to make a crude joke right here. But it’s very hard. I need to step away for a second.
What’s your favorite reason to celebrate with a gift?
I don’t think gifts need occasions. I mean, yes, a birthday without a gift is literally a day without sunshine but if I see something I like, I buy it. And it becomes a gift. Mainly I hate shopping. I hate the physical act of shopping, whether that means going to a store or even perusing the internet. That said, I love buying stuff on the internet that I come across by accident. Because then, I’m not “shopping.” I’m pretty sure I totally didn’t answer that question.
Could you share a wrapping secret with us?
Have you ever seen me try and wrap anything? Ever? I don’t have so much a wrapping technique; it’s more like a survival technique. I feel sorry for people that receive presents I’ve wrapped. I think gift wrapping is the best service ever. That service should not be seasonal in our shopping malls.
What’s the best food to give as a gift?
Any food gift is a good gift. I really believe that. The best food gift is one that speaks of a place. If you’re coming from, say, Amsterdam, and you bring me some cheese (or some vla – yes! – the best dairy product in the world), I think that’s smart and appropriate. You’ve brought a taste of home with you. If you bring me the Dutch version of a Big Mac, you are a loser. If you bring me some kroketten, I will love you madly. Also: cookbooks. I can’t have enough of them. Put some socks in there and we’re talking romance.
Who’s the hardest person in your life to buy gifts for?
My wife. Oh, man, she’s impossible. I would never buy clothing for her, of any kind. But even when I buy something she has kind of asked for, I’m still liable to get that wrong. Or interpret her wishes in a manner that is not in keeping with what she had in mind. She knows this so if she ever reads this I’m pretty sure I won’t get in trouble. (I hope she doesn’t read this….)
What’s the most inexpensive item you could receive that warms your heart every time?
Chocolate. Like good chocolate. But I really think if something, anything, no matter how small or insignificant, shows some thought, and means something to both the giver and the givee, you’ve won. Everyone has. The best gift has meaning. That’s how it becomes memorable.
What Arjun wants to give:
1. I know two photographers. Both of them have probably had a Hasselblad at some point. Both would be tickled by this. (Vintage Camera Pencil Sharpener)
2. An ex-colleague of mine was a huge Big Lebowski fan. She’s just had two kids. When the younger one gets a little older, I’m sure my friend is going to go back to having some drinks. I mean, two kids, right? Resting a White Russian on these might send her to Pluto. (The Big Lebowski Letterpressed Coasters)
3. My best friend is a great, great cook. And a messy one. His pad thai is epic, and the mess he makes is also epic. This might help him. A lot. (Boomerang Wok)
And something he wants for himself:
4. This decanter hits me in a lot of places: as a bourbon lover and drinker, as a design buff, and as someone who likes really simple things. This thing is beautiful – and I love how its beauty is dependent on what’s inside of it. (Anton Decanter)