The gift of enlightenment

Yesterday morning: I’m in Argos, picking up some gifts my sister reserved online. I pay, leave the shop and am accosted by a monk. He notes that I am carrying bags. I agree. He asks for money for the homeless. It being Christmas Eve, I throw some change into his bag, figuring that at least he hasn’t asked me to set up a direct debit. He hands me a small book, and asks whether I am an artist. I say that I’ve done some writing. He suggests I try meditation and yoga to improve, then wishes me happy holidays and leaves. My mind wanders onto a million other things as I head home.

Yesterday evening: My sister isn’t able to pick up the gifts, so asks whether we can wrap them for her. Dad says yep, and hops off to dig out the wrapping paper.

This morning: My sister and her boyfriend come over. She gives him his presents. He unwraps and looks bemused at the first: a copy of Civilization and Transcendence by His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. My sister and father are entirely confused. My mother and I are in fits of laughter. Turns out that my saying “Jane’s presents are in the Argos bag on the side”, while accurate, wasn’t the whole story. I’d wondered where I’d put it.