Am I a better salesman than a content giver? This is a question I wrestle with, even as I try to check myself every now and then to see whether the content of my motivational talks, workshops, and also my writing justifies the sales pitch!

Last Diwali, I received many lovely looking packets of sweets! Mind, you, I’m not making the same comment about the sweets inside; suffice it to be said, that packaging outside far exceled the contents inside!

The clever shopkeepers had worked out that the giver of gifts was happier in the way it was wrapped than the quality of sweets. I know some of these gifts had been purchased from pavements, by fly by night operators, who would never be found once the festival was over, and I do suspect, they were more into the gilded, shiny paper and fancy box business than in sweets and ladoos and all that went inside.

At first as the boxes arrived, there were exclamations of oohs and aahs from all at home which slowly subsided as the inside revealed poor stuff I would normally hesitate to eat.

One big box came, again so beautifully wrapped, and looking at the size I thought I’d got myself a bonanza, profusely thanked the beaming sender of the gift, till I opened the box!

How easily I was fooled by the huge package.

Disgusted, I walked to my bedroom, and an image caught my attention; it was me. So fancily dressed in the best of home clothes, ready to greet all those bearing gifts, and as I looked at myself, I wondered whether I was also pretending to be a box of goodies, but was only shiny gift paper!

I remember many years ago, walking into the stores of New York, attracted by glittering neon lights, and picking up alluring gifts for my two children. My father, who helped me pack my suitcases, then told me that to create more space, I’d have to take the gifts out of their fancy boxes.

I did and flew home.

 “Daddy?” asked my disappointed kids as they looked at the gifts I had brought them, “What’s all this?”

 “Yes Bob,” asked the wife, “Did you run out of money?”

No, I hadn’t, I had been fooled by the packaging! Once I’d unwrapped the gifts, they were pathetic to look at.

It’s the contents that mater. It’s not your personality but your character. It’s not how you shake someone’s hand but how genuinely you are interested in that person. It’s not how you hold her gaze during courtship, but how understanding a husband you are later. So many marriages break up, because at the beginning gift paper fooled the two!

When the packaging comes off, do you have content to show?

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