The Indian culture is steeped in much ritual and tradition, with customs for everyday tasks such as entering a home and sitting down to a meal. Although celebrating a birthday may not factor in to centuries-old traditions, it can still be a reason to show your appreciation and care for an Indian friend. When brainstorming gifts for an Indian man, consider his culture and select a gift that reflects knowledge of the Indian lifestyle.
Although a traditional Indian head scarf, or keffiyeh, may be a standard gift for an Indian man, you can take a few steps to make your present unique and personal. The keffiyeh was originally created to keep the man's head free of sand gusts and protected from strong sun rays. An Indian man in the United States may not experience such strong climates but can still participate in the traditional garb while expressing his personality. Find a keffiyeh with a pattern that represents the man, such as leopard print, skulls, smiley faces, hearts or even camouflage and tie-dye. Many U.S. cities have Indian clothing boutiques, and there are websites such as alhannah.com dedicated to native Indian wear, although non-ethnic sites such as Ebay and Amazon now carry keffiyeh as well.
Even if the birthday recipient lives in the United States, he can still enjoy traditional Indian music, which is noted to date back to ancient Hindu scripts. Indian music is known as "sangeet" -- made up of three components, including instrumental music, dance and vocals. The instrumental music comes from two popular instruments, the sitar and the tabla, with dance moves often involving hand claps, spins, bows and arm waving. Classical (and modern) Indian music is available on collections of CDs and also by individual artist. You can search online music superstores for their "world music" section or visit a traditional record/music store to ask a sales associate to suggest something. Indian music is available for special holidays and also offers collections of artists covering songs in English and other languages.
Unlike typical American movies that focus on a storyline and straight dialog, a Bollywood film often goes just a few minutes before characters are breaking out into complex, staged musical dance numbers, singing about their hardships and love. The films are drenched in bright colors with elaborate costumes and set decoration. Bollywood take its name as a direct mimic from the United States' "Hollywood" plus Bombay; with a large concentration of production located in Mumbai. The films offer modern Indian dancing (Bhangra), with stars shooting to fame similar to the way they do in America. DVDs of Bollywood movies may be found in rental and sales stores (or online), often concentrated in the foreign films section. If the birthday guy has a favorite Indian actress, you can purchase a collection of her films for him; otherwise, pick out a few titles that he may be able to relate to (Bollywood films often feature real-life scenarios such as loving a woman you cannot have, or parents not accepting a sibling's job choice). Many large cities often feature Bollywood film festivals and showings; a personal gift may be to purchase tickets to the movies for both of you.