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Flowers, shawls, mementos are generally presented to distinguished faculty and eminent speakers during conferences or other meetings. I personally have a collection of more than 800 of such gifts, which I have kept in my office. However, most people dispose of the gifts after a period of time. Flowers, anyways, last only for few days, depending on the season.
When I was National President Indian Medical Association, I calculated that all the branches of IMA were perhaps spending a huge amount of money on flowers alone to be given at various functions. I decided not to take flowers.
The answer therefore is to look for innovative gifts to give, even as mementos, which the receiver can use. Some of these gifts can be books, emergency kits.
Yesterday, I was invited by Secretary New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) Ms Rashmi Singh IAS to attend a function organized by NDMC. The memento given was a 2 kg fire extinguisher.
I thought it was a good memento and truly appreciated this unique gift. Innovative gifts such as this can be given as a Memento. Not only will the person keep it, it may also save somebodys life.