Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

Till I was 12 years old – Christmas for me was Santa and gifts. Then in my teen years it was Rose Cookies. Now it is Plum Cakes.

When I was a kid, every year for Christmas, my aunt would come for her vacation to Calcutta from her teaching job in Simla. So for the whole of December, I would bug her asking her what was Santa getting for me. She used to lead me to believe, that she had this hot-line thing going on with Santa, and he would give her regular updates on whether he was going to visit me or not.

I would promise and swear that I had been an extra good girl all the year around – when in truth my goodness meter only started ticking from 1st December. And I would make proclamations like – ‘I have been a good girl all year round, so Santa can’t not visit me!’  – or things to the same effect.

On Xmas eve, I used to be on tenterhooks, and would try to stay up late to catch a glimpse of Santa. I would puzzle how he would enter the bedroom, there was no Chimney, And Santa, requires one for sure. I would sit by the window, looking out for Santa and his reindeers, and invariably fall asleep while waiting.

In the morning, the first thing would be to check for gifts under the pillow, and wow there would always be one. Then I would badger my Aunt, as to why wasn’t I woken up when Santa paid me a visit. Then the gift would be taken and displayed to each member of the household, and I would have a great Christmas.

So when I was 12 and this tradition was stopped unceremoniously (as my parents thought I was too old to get gifts) I moped for a couple of years, as I could not digest the fact that Santa has abandoned me. Till date,  I think it was really not a cool thing to do.

Another ritual was our Club’s Christmas Party. Dalhousie Institute (DI) was a club we have been members of since I was 7 years old. And attendance at the annual Children’s Christmas Part and Carol Singing Nights were a must. The Nativity play was done at the latter event. And the party was something I looked forward to the entire year.

So at the party we would get a goodies box (generally from Nahoums) for Xmas, then there would be a khoi bag for each age group, unlimited candy floss and joy rides, a magic show and the grand finale – Santa with gifts for us all!!!!Oh what a party it used to be!

On Christmas day, Jean Aunty would visit us with Rose Cookies and Plum Cake. I would finish off the Cookies, as they were my favourite. In my teen years, my friends and I would get invited for lunch either at Manesh’s or Donald’s place. And Christmas lunches would be all about Plum cakes yet again.

In school, we would sing carols and have the Nativity Play yet again. Sometimes we would have a Santa to visit us too. As we went to become seniors, we decided to have a tradition of sharing Christmas Gifts. So each of us would get a gift, and there would be a lucky draw, where we would pick up a chit. There would be a puzzle on the chit, which one would have to solve go guess the name of the person who would be our Christmas friend! I remember in 1995 I was coded as DDLJ fan as I would go on and on about hoe awesome the movie was and how much I was in love with SRK!

When I came to Delhi – I missed the spirit with which Christmas was celebrated in Calcutta (something I still do). At that time of the year the city transformed. You could smell bonhomie and good cheer in the air. I don’t think any other city in India reflects this spirit during Xmas time. Everyone is relaxed and all shops are selling Christmas goodies. Park Street is decorated – I can’t describe it, but one can smell Christmas in the air. No other festival comes close to what December evokes in Calcutta.

This Christmas, I think it will be a quiet dinner for me and A. We might celebrate the way Delhi celebrates – go shopping and follow it up with lunch. Or maybe we will throw a party and have some friends over.

And this year maybe, just maybe, Santa will visit me again!


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