This post was selected for BlogAdda’s Spicy Saturday picks on 25th December ’10
I belong to a Hindu family, but a very liberal one at that. One of those families who would be ashamed to disclose that they even belong to a religion in a secular country. All my life I have celebrated every possible festival from Eid, to Diwali to Christmas to just anything we would wish to celebrate. We just needed a reason for it. And my dad, being in the army, pretty much made us inculcate traditions from all over.
In school, being in a Convent, I had the fondest of memories when it came to Christmas. I have always loved Christmas. I love the carols, the gifts, the mass, the trees, Santa Claus… Just everything about Christmas gives me a certain kind of joy. But most of all I’ve always loved that ‘spirit of Christmas’.
Christmas was great back then. My ‘Convent’ Christmas parties were somewhat conventional, but none-the-less extremely enjoyable. We used to have little parties in the class where we would exchange humble gifts with each other and pitch in home-cooked food which we ate with just as much relish as we would have enjoyed a fine dining meal. There was dance, there was music, and there always was a Christmas play, and then there was always this one quirky thing that the batch passing out was supposed to do. When we were in the 12th grade, our entire batch was supposed to wear a Santa Claus cap for the entire duration of the Christmas celebration. It was a bit juvenile, I know, but we never complained. In fact we enjoyed doing that. 🙂
We had our bit of enjoyment, but we never let that Christmas spirit die. After our celebration was done we used to share our food with the children on the street and bring old woollens and donate it to an orphanage. This was the part that made me feel the best. It kind of made Christmas complete for me.
When school was over, Christmas was no longer the same. I did celebrate with my family and a few friends but it never was the same as it was in School. I could feel that ‘spirit’ gradually dying out.
I had no hopes for this year too. My year was pretty much one of the worst ones I’ve had, and things like exams and being away from my mum and dad just made it even worse for me. It killed Christmas in entirety.
Yesterday, I was going back home after some petty Christmas shopping with my aunt, when we got stuck in a massive traffic jam on the street. Having nothing to do I leaned on my window, and opened a packet of Samosas we had just bought. I saw this little boy of about six selling ‘Santa Claus’ caps outside my window. He was cold and he looked hungry. He tapped at my window and in a meek and shivering voice he said, “lelo na, sirf bees rupaye” (please buy it, it’s just for twenty rupees).
Maybe it was his innocence or just the caps in his hand, which reminded me of Christmas in school, but in a flash I started to shuffle around for my wallet like a maniac. It was like something had gotten into me. I was frantically searching for twenty rupees before the signal turned green. I found one ultimately, and bought a cap from him, and he walked by happily. But something in me snapped. The kid had just walked a few steps ahead when I called out to him, “ae chhote.. wapas aa idhar” (kiddo, come back here). Without even thinking twice, I rolled down my window again and handed over my entire packet of samosas to him. I can never forget that smile on his face. It wasn’t a very big thing that I gave him, but the thought that it made someone’s day made me happy.
I know Christmas for me was ruined. I won’t even be having a celebration of any kind. But it didn’t matter any more. That innocent smile on that little boy’s face gave me more joy than ever, and all that mattered was that Christmas spirit which I had inadvertently kept alive.
Wish you all a Merry Christmas. Spread the joy and always remember to keep the ‘Christmas Spirit’ alive. 🙂