Friday, April 28, 2017

X for X-mas

As a kid, I had a silly fascination for Christmas. There were all things right about it - twinkling stars, red and white costumes, cakes and chocolates. Conveniently for my parents, I was not gullible enough to believe in Santa Claus. Every year, I would want to celebrate Christmas, which really didn't mean anything more than installing a star outside our house. But, there was considerable effort involved in that as dad had to get a special bulb for it, fix the wiring and then tie the star out on the porch. Every evening, I would switch on the light religiously at 6 pm and admire the star against different backgrounds of the evening ranging from twilight to night, before retiring to bed, my contribution to Christmas celebration complete. Mom had the more difficult job of explaining to people why a TamBrahm family had a star hanging outside the front door, giving company to the mango leaves thoran atop the door. She did manage the situation with elan, offering a simple explanation - "Because Kavitha likes it". 

After New Year, the star and the bulb would be brought down and carefully packed, rendered to safe custody till next Christmas. Oh, wait, wait. The bulb would have another use in the September-October season. Do you remember that doll festival I spoke about here? The bulb would be installed to give company to the dolls as night lamp (yeah, the dolls sleep better with a night lamp on) during the Navratri celebrations. Quite a secular bulb, that one. 

I didn't just have a fascination for Christmas but I liked going to the Church as well in those days. My parents contributed their bit by worshipping at the Church and the Mosque as well along with the zillion temples already on their list. Perhaps, they believed that appeasing all gods was a smarter way to keep the family safe and happy than being partial to one or one set of Gods. Looking back, I can attribute my love for the Church only to the fact that it was clean and silent, unlike many of the temples I was subjected to. I had no view on the religion itself, but I had a couple of large pictures of Mother Mary and Jesus hanging in my room because they looked beautiful.

I did of course harbour the idea of a Christmas tree at home, but that was shot down with the "Don't push it too much" look from my mother. A few years back, I ended up traveling to Australia during Christmas and had my fill of photographs with big, small, wide, narrow and all-kinds-of Christmas trees as backdrop, to satiate my forever dream of a Christmas tree. But, the travel also left me with a lesson learnt hard: Don't travel to Australia during Christmas. Almost all restaurants, cafes and eateries are shut from Christmas to New Year, as the people who run those places take off to celebrate the holidays.

P. S. This post is the twenty fourth in the A-Z blogging challenge series for April.

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