By BIRAJ DIXIT :
There is a familiar chill in air and the world is warming up to the idea of good winter ahead. Though December is hardly as flamboyant as it used to be, having no biting cold to offer, its mellowed down version absolutely pleases us. With inhabitants of earth so good at offering cold vibes, who needs a harsher climate to add to sufferings?! December is all cool. And though I am not the one to be scared of cold - weather or people - a little warmth is heartwarming, indeed. Why, haven’t we faced many strictly cold, wintery Decembers in the bright glow of festivities around! Speaking of festivities, there are many unnerving things one must consider beforehand.
Celebrations are seldom about elation of individual feelings in the environment of one’s choice. They are more about exaltation of collective elation done to make everybody else happy. They are more a promise of happiness than happiness itself. Oh, forgive my housewifely affectations! One should celebrate when one can. And Christmas and New Year are truly great occasions, when celebrations should happen. But then again, they kind of make me nervous. Not just what to wear, how to look and how much to spend (that of course) but also about how to fulfill small wishes. You see since the day my daughter started putting her longest socks on display for Santa, I was forced to play Santa without any clause. It was absolute fun at first. Cute letters and cuter demands needed to be answered and satisfied. It also felt great to play an angel.
The belief in those little eyes, the wide-eyed disbelief on looking at the gifts, happiness that Santa answered and gave God’s message, sheer joy of reading Santa’s letters again and again – the Christmas eve celebrations was truly blissful. I had seen tiny steps checking socks every now and then to see if gifts have been delivered. I had been woken up in the middle of the nights to see how Santa and the reindeers descend. I had the pleasure of being made to read letter written in my own hand a couple of times. Children are such angels they bring best of the Santa Claus out of you. But then they live in the world of grown-ups and learn things fast. Sometimes later, the letters to Santa Claus read more like memoranda of demands, straight out of consumer-driven world.
Her expanding horizons included more ‘stuff’ than I could have even imagined. I had to make God send a message through Santa that one must possess less and give more and that there were no gadgets in God’s heaven. “ (…And yes, they still call it heaven.”) But the very next day, hell broke loose. Santa was “cheating.” While he gave the very usual “pencils, erasers and chocolates to me, the very same that you have in your cupboard, he gave my cousin an MI band.” Oh Oh! “And God told me that they don’t have gadgets in heaven. Can God lie?”
“I am sure Santa will never get gadgets for children. Besides, why would Santa gift a fitness tracker to a little boy,” I tried to reason out but a product of absolute consumeristic world, my daughter shot back, “because he asked for it.” Imagine, I was playing devil’s advocate to defend God. “But did Santa get it from Heaven?” was my miserable attempt to save my daughter’s faith in God. “It had the Chinese shop tag. So, you see, even Santa buys from that Chinese shop.” (I hate the power that these Chinese wield on our children. Imagine the size of Chinese economy if Santa started buying from them!) But soon enough, my little angel confided in me…to my massive embarrassment and discomfort for sure. My little Sherlock Holmes had found out that not only is Santa’s handwriting similar to her mother’s, his choice of gifts and replies to letters also sound so ‘mumma-ish’. “Actually, Santa Claus was the other part of one’s mother that was left in heaven, when Mumma came on earth.” Wow, human genius. Our flight of imagination knows no bound! But my daughter is growing and making herself more and more apt for the world. Since the beginning of this month, I have a nagging doubt that my daughter is completely aware of who her Santa Claus is.
For, she is constantly dropping hints about what she will want from Santa Claus this time, always looking in the eye for the expression which would tell her that her mother was ready to fall in line. Ah, but I am not the Santa Claus that buys stuff from Chinese shops. I am the mother of a clever specimen of human race and know well my cards. This year, my Santa Claus would write volumes of letters emphasising on need to empathise with poor, wisdom of living within one’s means and identifying higher purpose of life. My Santa would be absolutely godly, away, far away from this material world. With December winter working hard to make its presence felt, I would not be really minding cold vibes. True elation or just a promise of happiness, festivals, like mothers, try to ingrain certain core values. Good enough reason to celebrate, isn’t it? Merry Christmas!!! l