Exchanging pleasantries with my childhood friend over IM this morning I was telling her how kiddishly excited I was with my birthday around the corner. She promptly said “Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year!” reminding me of a skit we presented in our colony on Christmas day. This friend of mine is a very talented person and even when we were children, she loved to get the group of us together and would choreograph plays and such.
In that tiny group, I was the only one with a white dress a.k.a ‘frock’ courtesy my NRI mama then. Since I had the “fairy” frock, I stood my ground and played my part as an angel that would finally wish everyone in the audience a “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”. Only that, when it was my turn to come up front and say it, I swapped the words and made it a “Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year”. I flushed with shame while the rest laughed away.
So, this morning memories flooded back of studying in a convent, walking to the chapel during lunch to kneel at the altar and the hooded sisters who taught us. Those were some fun times. Christmas used to be a grand affair with a nativity skit and general cheeriness around that time. In our own way we celebrated the festival with our Anglo Indian neighbours who plied us with moist delicious plum cake. Watching the five pointed star twinkle in the night across the road reminded me of exotic cultures about which I had little idea of. To me Christmas was as special as any other festival I celebrated. Strangely enough, I have no such memories associated with Muslim festivals or other non Hindu holidays.
The things we imbibe as a child fashions our attitude as adults. I think in some way, growing up attending scripture class at school while hearing Hindu mythology at home from grandparents helped me appreciate each for its own. Today sitting at my desk, I realize being here in a rustic suburb in the US, I finally understand what the spirit of Christmas means. I watch a co-worker leave a tray of cookies in a friend’s cube. I love the colors, the music and the cheeriness that marks this holiday.
So, a Happy Christmas and a Merry Holiday Season to you 🙂