Monday, December 25
As a tiny toddler, Christmas meant getting up to the cane whack on my butt for the early morning mass at the little chapel in my boarding school at Kothamanagalam,Kerala. Hardly a feet from the ground and surrounded by an ocean of penguin resembling nuns, I'd watch with awe the Priest enter the church with his string of altar boys and rattle off a long preachy sermon in chaste Malayalam. This was followed by a lavish breakfast accompanied by the traditional Kerala hard-icing plum cake.
Many more years later, my Christmas' were spent in Vijayawada with family. The Christmas fervor would begin a good one month before. Funnily though we had a full time house-maid cum baby sitter, our entire family would swing into the 'Annual Christmas Dusting-Cleaning-Sweeping' marathon ritual. I guess Christmas in our family meant a true purging affair : body,mind,soul, surroundings - Chasing that agile cockroach around the house,rigorous dusting to the extent of sweeping people off their feet, climbing up that partially broken ladder to explore and extinguish the spider cobwebs on the ceilings. This was just the tip of the drudgery ice-berg. After all those misadventures with the spiders and cockroaches alike, we had to look our divine presentable best for Xmas. Mom would head us straight to the kid's store much to our angst and we would have to go through the torture of endless child modelling sessions. Only to end up buying the most funniest outfits that Vijayawada had to offer. Butterfly sleeves,Zebra print horrors, Polka dot disastors, shocking yellow hot pants - I've truly been there and done that in the niche world of bizarre toddler Haute Couture. Anyways every dark cloud has a silver lining and our silver ray of light came in form of decorating our lil love nest. Playing Jim Reeves' Christmas carols in the background, we would all share some truly magical family moments together while decorating the Christmas Tree, putting up the crib together and hoisting that bright little star. I remember we'd hang old greeting cards on a string along the room and exhibit new Christmas cards received from family & friends alike on the table. Looking back, it all seems juvenile but cute in a way.Then, Christmas would be a plain vanilla affair. Early morning mass followed by a family getogether.Cake-cutting, Gift sharing, Wine drinking....et all.
As we grew up, Christmas only got bigger and exciting. Christmas gave the entire family a reason to meet up and spend some really fun moments together. Come Christmas, whichever part of the world we existed, we made it a point to meet at a common place each year. The party would only begin during Christmas and the celebrations continued way past New Year. As we say, We pray hard and party harder!It's always been fun to watch our aunts and uncles guzzle down the spirits and hit Cloud 9 in a few minutes. Needless to add, they're at the entertaining best then. We would have a Lata Mangeshkar and Britney Spears, a Mohd Rafi and an Enrique Iglesias under the same roof. Great food, great music accompanied by hours of dancing way past midnite and talking and chatting away to glory comprised the whole holiday season. Revealing all those lil hush secrets to my cousins, having ice-cream and indulging in similar sinful temptations in the dead of the night, cozying up with my cousins and later on having those pillow-fights,watching TV at 4:00am, going to bed at the crack of dawn and getting up way past afternoon - we were in our own dream world for the whole holiday season. Parting after the whole holiday season was the most painful. But it had its own surprises ...in the form of lil surprise gifts and soft toys left behind in my room by my cousins.And I'd discover them long after they'd gone. And all my sadness would vanish away in a second on stumbling on those lil gifts.
Maybe there's no real life Santa Claus. But I still belive in Santa coz he's in every one of us. In my case, I met some real life Santas in the form of my cousins,family & friends. As long as the spirit of giving and universal brotherhood remains, so will the existence of Santa Claus.
Christmas holds forth a similar story for families world over. A real story of universal love, brotherhood and a true celebration of life. The birth of Christ signifies the joy that is brought forth by forgiveness,giving, acceptance of life and God's will in particular.
May the Spirit of Christmas live on forever and ever more!
Merry Christmas to All! Ho....Ho....Ho.....Ho.....Ho.......
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