Monday, December 22, 2008

Of Christmases Past


This is a little Christmas ornament given me by our librarian, Daphne. Daphne is Anglo Indian, about 70+ (she wont’ say), has to work to live and spends a large part of her salary on make-up and regular trips to the hairdresser. I guess you can’t take the well-dressed out of some ladies. A spirit I admire. Occasionally I say ’ Wow Daphne, what a great sweater / bead chain.’ In exchange for all which she bestowed this gift on me. Made with her arthritic hands.

It took me back to Christmases celebrated with great gusto in my childhood. Maybe I’m really getting old turning my thoughts backward. But I thought I'd relive it before it all escapes me.

We lived in a colony with most of the girls going to a ‘convent’. So naturally, Christmas was part of our lives. Come December, we would spend days sticking together long strings of crepe paper, cardboard Santa Clauses and whatever else we could find in the ‘things to make and do’ books .All the planning took place in the single large room upstairs in our home which was so messy that no adult came in for a couple of weeks.

A few days before Christmas, we would stand up a pathetic looking branch of a fir tree from our neighbor’s garden on our verandah in a bucket of sand and transform it into this glamorous tree with cotton snow, lights and all our carefully made ornaments. A star was mandatory.

Then we would rehearse for the Christmas programme. All adults had to pay to come and see this variety entertainment. Everybody brought in ideas from whatever had been done recently in their schools and this was their chance to take the lead part after being shunted away in school. Of course the pecking order was dominant and the younger ones got to play the strong silent roles like baby jesus, or the angels or the donkeys in the manger. The elder ones got the singing roles – no matter how badly we sang.

I don’t think any religious significance entered our heads even for a minute. Or the parents’. They were just happy to keep us out of mischief and boredom. A wonderful way of spending holidays.

11 comments:

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

wow, you seem to have had great fun on christmas as a kid!! Thanks for sharing it, and may you have a wonderful christmas season!!

Happy Kitten said...

That was a good one...

I remember one Xmas float that I saw in Ooty... not sure if Ooty still holds this fuction... but it was great standing by the roadside and watching the floats carrying various xmas scenes and carol singers pass by.

kallu said...

Thanks Lakshmi. we sure did.

Yes, happy kitten. it still happens tho this year... it didnt. Simple fun is getting mixed up with religion.

RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN said...

I liked this, Kalyani. Brought to mind the Christmases when we too had a stand-in fir tree, and little gifts at the foot of the tree, placed by my mother. It was such fun to be part of the Christmas festivities.

Swarna said...

Kallu. Get nostalgic as much as you want. I believe it's a good thing, say researchers. Hope your kids and wards carry these kinds of memories into their future.
And I think you are one who celebrates the Xmas spirit through the year.
I'd love to be in Kerala now, when whole streets are lined with stars.
And I remember our school choir master sitting at the piano, and the umpteen carols that we learnt.
And in the defence campuses, we always have Santa landing in a helicopter, and escorted in a 'Oueen Mary' trailer to the children's Xmas party, and on the eve, carol singers visit the homes of warm-hearted believers...

kallu said...

Raji, Good to know you too celebrated Xmas. Reading all those English books had a lot to do with it I guess. The idea of presents!

kallu said...

Swarna, Thanks for those kind words. Hope to deserve them.
My kids carry different kinds of memories I guess. Not about Xmas. But other celebrations.
But Xmas at your defense campus sounds simply great. Santa landing by helicopter- instead of by reindeer:-)) Im sure you are creating lots of good memories for your son.

Indrani said...

Beautiful write up, but I am tying to figure out how that was made. Is it an egg shell?

Indrani said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU!

kallu said...

Indrani, thanks. Happy New year to you too. My computer had crashed and I've been offline for some time.
Yes, that is an egg.:-)

ayyo.... said...

Kalyani
You've been away for a long time. But yes, as school kids, Christmas was so much fun!