Tis the season to be jolly… 🙂
I’ll be honest. I’m not a Christian or particularly religious either but Christmas is a really fun holiday. With all the bright sparkly stars and trees and the tinsel wrapped gifts, you can’t help but feel buoyed. It’s also an awesome time of year. It’s cold outside so you can sleep forever snugly under your blanket. Snoozing the alarm never felt so good. Plum cakes and pastries fill the shelves of most convenience stores and in Bangalore we even have the annual Nilgiris Cake Show (which you should really check out if you have time) They make huge replicas of landmarks and daily-use objects like cars and houses entirely out of cake. And to answer your next question, yes, they do also keep free samples to taste 😀
So I thought it would be cool to follow in the footsteps of Ebenezer Scrooge and take a trip down memory lane.
Probably my first memories of Christmas was when I was around 5. My dad had just got back from a 2 month stay in the United States. I remember getting up in the morning and coming to the front room to see an absolute mountain of Christmas-themed goodness. Candy canes, chocolate reindeer, a Santa Claus doll, plum cake, doughnuts and danishes and a whole lot of goodies. I didn’t know what “Walmart” or “End-of-season sale” meant, all I knew was that I liked this holiday 🙂
All schools had holidays so my friends were there to play, looking at calendars for the new year as they rolled in, scanning for long weekends and birthdays (we’ve all done it 🙂 ), wandering around malls just taking in the festive atmosphere, this was one holiday I could definitely get on board with.
December of 2004 will always be remembered for the deadly tsunami that devastated so many in South east Asia. It had all started out so well for me though. We were shifting from our cosy flat to a much bigger apartment. Having only ever lived in that old crowded locality, I was shocked at all the open space to run around and play. And it even had a swimming pool… Suffice to say I was super excited. On Christmas morning, the movers came to help. Naturally I spent most of the day getting in everyone’s way and generally making a nuisance of myself (Cut me some slack, I was 8 :p ) I remember being completely astounded that the almirah could be moved. It’s this really old, massive steel almirah filled with a lot of mom’s old sarees, school papers and other such nonsense that had been in one corner of the house as long as I could remember. But it was like 3 times my height and seeing it lying horizontal on the back of the truck amused me to no end. I was over the moon that we were moving because I was starting to outgrow the tiny driveway outside the flat that we had used as a cricket pitch till then.
Then the moment when my dad switched on the TV the next morning to see reports of the the destruction. It sort of shocked us back into reality. A jarring reminder that mother nature cared not for human calendars or festivals. Needless to say, end-of-the-year celebrations were muted that year.
One final anecdote. What’s every kid’s best friend? A bicycle. It was 2008 and both my sis and I got new bicycles (because of crippling laziness and procrastination, amazing discounts, breaking too much stuff at home so mom wanted us to leave more often etc etc. You get the idea). For one vacation, we rode every single day. And not just the both of us, it was literally the whole building. At one point, there were 17 kids all riding bikes around the apartment. I remember there were these adults and senior citizens who used to take evening walks around the building, and it irked them that they often had to stop to allow a virtual train of cycles to pass by. Pissed off the security guards to no end as well, they had to man the garage entrance and ensure that no one got hit. Of course multiple pileups and a higher frequency of empty or flat tires (don’t you hate it when that happens 😦 ) proved to be the end of this craze, but I’m sure we’ll all remember The Winter of The Bicycle.
So Christmas isn’t only about Kris Kringle, presents and “Ho! Ho! Ho!!”, it really is the best time of the year. Maybe because the whole community is in a good mood or maybe everyone just wants to get on Santa’s nice list, it always ends up being memorable.
So here’s wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Joyous Kwanzaa and a Happy Ramadan as well. Spread the cheer and enjoy the holidays 🙂
P.S. This post was kind of like Dumbledore with the Pensieve, Random memories ftw