Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Christmas Story

So, I woke up this morning, the 24th of December and was rather dazed to see Anita, my little sister all dressed up, her little bed neatly tucked and her sitting with a very warm smile on that cute bed completely occupied by lifeless stuffed animals which she adored more than herself. She was sparkling clean, dressed in a beautiful pink frock and had such an affectionate aura which made me wish I could see her angelic self every single day I woke up. While appreciating her with a very groggy voice and assuring her of how admiring and happy Santa Claus is going to be I figured how I went through a similar routine when I was her age. When I was seven, I would make sure, every 24th of December, to hang a sock on the mantelpiece with my name beautifully stitched on it and would wait desperately for midnight to arrive so that I could be blessed with Santa’s love which of course was felt mostly through the wonderful presents he got me. “Aah, those were the days, days when I so looked forward for Christmas, the happiest time of the year.” I said to myself.

I finally got out of bed at around noon and hit the streets to go fetch some groceries from the store for the very merry Christmas my huge Roman Catholic family was planning on having tonight. As I entered the store, I could see Rohan walk past me right inside and scream out, “Feliz Navidad”, loud enough for the entire store to turn around and give us an approving glance. “Merry Christmas man”, I said in response. Rohan, had been my best friend ever since I remember. I recollected an incident back when we were in the 7th grade, when I got into quite a gory fight with another classmate of mine; and just at the moment when there was a slight possibility of me having a fractured nose, Rohan bumped in and received, that one excruciating injury on my behalf, which in fact had eventually damaged a his nose and had made it grow into an angle completely against how god had perhaps wanted it to have been. “Aah”, I said again, “those were the days, when I so looked forward for Christmas, the happiest time of the year.” Rohan and I decided we’d go pick the cake up together; we walked down to the “Cheeseria”, the bakery which gave humanity the most heavenly cheese cakes, and also were very apt for the divine occasion. “Silver bells… Silver bells… It’s Christmas time in the city” Jim Reeves was crooning in the background.

While we were making sure we picked the perfect flavored cake for tonight’s grand gala, I felt someone pat me on my back. I cannot describe how beautiful she looked, still as charming as she did 5 years back when we finished school. Her eyes seemed to still hold a melody to it, the fluttering of her eyelashes and the beautiful smile that lit up her face all summed up to it being a celestial sight. “Hey.. Anisha, Merry Christmas.” I said, “Seasons greetings!”, she replied with the usual sparkle of naughtiness in her speech. “So, all set for the party?” she asked. Again I got thrown into a day, back when I had just finished school. “Are the results out yet?”, I enquired. Anisha and I were at her place, on her Computer checking if our board exam results were out. “Yes! She said” with a sudden high pitched shriek. “Have I passed?, Sweetheart, I’m worried!”, I said. Anisha and I were dating back then. “I passed!!” she said in a higher tone which nearly deafened me, “and me?”, I asked again, she entered my roll number and hit the search button and as expected, I failed math. I looked stunned, rather constipated for a minute, and the next minute, my eyes were filled with tears. She held on to my hand, and assured me everything would be fine. Well, it wasn’t, even after reevaluation, I hadn’t passed and then began the actual trials of life. My parents had me grounded for a whole year and all I could here was the word “STUDIES!”. Anisha had joined college and had taken up science, PCMB, to be more specific since she always wanted to be a doctor. In spite of all the difficulty she had in college with all the assignments, the truckload of studies to do, and the torture called tuitions to which her parents used to subject her, every single day, without fail, she would come home and make sure she taught me math for at least 2 hours. And she would be so serious at it, that all the love she had for me deep down her heart reflected on every sum we did together. In a few months, I had mastered Hyperbola’s and Eclipse’s besides beginning to find integration and algebra rather easy. I cleared my math paper when I reappeared for it and was back in college. The environment was all I dreamt of with friends and parties all coming throbbing into my life, and yes, I slowly began to ignore Anisha. And then came the day, when we completely stopped speaking, I hadn’t even heard from her for the rest of her time at Pre-University College. One fine day, I received a call, “Bye Neil, I’m leaving for Delhi. I’ve got a seat in AIIMS.”, she said. And that is when, I remembered, how she truly mattered to me. After I got into college, I forgot the sacrifices Anisha had made for me, and now I remembered for a second, how much I loved her and how I did not wish to lose her. “Don’t go..” I said in an upset tone. “I am.” She said and that’s the last I heard from her until today “Aah”, I said yet again, “those were the days, when I so looked forward for Christmas, the happiest time of the year.” “Neil!” she said, flashing her hand in front of my eyes. “All set for the party” she asked again, “I’m sorry Anisha.”, I said, “You should come, I am looking forward to your entire family.” “We are coming! So I’ll see you then?” “Yeah sure, bye Anisha.” I said, Anyways, we had zeroed down on Blueberry, and headed back home.

“Dad, anything else I need to buy for this evening?”, I asked. “Have you ordered the cake already?”, “Yes dad.”, I said. “Son, this Christmas is going to be special, it’s the last Christmas you will be spending here, before you set out on your voyage, sailor.”, my dad said, with an expression of pride on his face. I had gotten into the Merchant Navy, and when those two words appeared in my mind, I ventured back on my tour of the past. “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”, was the subtle song being played in a very low volune on the background. Well, it truly was a white Christmas, or rather grey, I had my Marine Services entrance exams in three days which happened to be the 26th of December, and for the first time in all my life, with such a close proximity to Christmas, I was actually studying. I still remember the conversations I used to have with my father during those days when I used to decide on what I wished to be in life. I came to realize how supportive my father was, he would always tell me to decide what I wanted to do with my life. Even during days when I would spend nights with my friends, my father would only be supportive, the trust he had on me, his son, was phenomenal. My dad has always been a friend and even when I was preparing for my exams, the Christmas celebrations at home were completely restricted, all so that, I could prepare for my tests peacefully. He even ensured that if I decided not to get into the Marine Services five minutes before my exam, I could come back home to them, my beloved parents. Those were the times, when I had guilt in my mind not because I wasn’t a good son, only because, I wasn’t good enough for such wonderful parents and then again my mind said to itself. “Aah, those were the days, when I so looked forward for Christmas, the happiest time of the year.”

The night arrived, “Silent night, holy night”, my mother and the rest of the family sang with the men folk strumming their guitars all with a glass of home-made wine in their hands. Everyone who mattered to me were there. Anita, was dressed in a white gagra choli and looked like Gloria the angel. I could see Anisha, she looked prettier than ever in a scarlet red gown which she had worn for the prayer service at church prior to the party at my place. Today, I celebrated my very own insightful welcome to a very merry Christmas. And tomorrow, I was leaving for a long time, away from family, away from friends, so I thought to myself, why not speak and make everyone know why this Christmas has been so special to me. I went towards the mantelpiece where Anita’s red sock hung and began to speak, “Merry Christmas everyone! Today, I saw Santa Claus, and trust me he is as true as I expected him to be 15 years back.” I saw my maid slowly lead Anita outside the room into the garden noticing the doubtful frown appearing on her face. “So”, I said, “the day I realized Santa Claus was in fact my dad, I was bewildered, I was angry and was very annoyed by the fact that I was being made a fool ever since I was a kid about Santa Claus’s very existence. But today, I realized how Santa Claus truly looked. Santa Claus, looks like my parents, for every time I dreamt, they gave me their palms to build my dreams on, they trusted me more than I can ever trust myself, they gave my life the very meaning to it, the love my parents give me is Santa Claus, the truest gift given to me by God above. I also discovered the Santa Claus within Rohan, who never allowed life to mess with me, his best friend. For being there all the time, for giving me strength when I had lost mine, for being my best friend and sticking through all the turmoil’s I have got myself through, giving me the purest form of a gift called friendship from my God above. I found the gift of innocence in my little sister Anita, the way she dressed up this morning, awaiting the arrival of Christmas with such genuine enthusiasm in her eyes. I found the gift of love, through all of you, my family, my friends for making life what it is, for making my family strong by bringing to us so much peace and contentment. And finally, I found the gifts of adoration, affection, friendship and sacrifice, in you my lovely Anisha, the most beautiful Santa Claus I’ve ever seen. You gave me your friendship when I needed it, your affection when I lacked it and your Sacrifice when I lost myself. I love you as much and more than what I did when you left for Delhi, and I wish I can have you, my beautiful Santa Claus forever in my life. Who said Santa Claus doesn’t exist? All of you are my Santa Claus’s. The greatest of happiness lies in our own perception and my perception today for once showed me where God had placed the most magnificent of gifts specially for me, he had placed them within all of you and today I do not look forward to Christmas anymore, for I have finally realized that with all of your presence, everyday is but a Christmas for me. So yeah,

They know that Santa's on his way;
He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh.
And every mother's child is going to spy,
To see if reindeer really know how to fly.

And so I'm offering this simple phrase,
To kids from one to ninety-two,
Although its been said many times, many ways,
A very Merry Christmas to you and to me!”

And voila! What you just read is my Christmas story and my encounter with the true Santa Claus who does as a matter of fact live among us. So look around, for all you know, you might just find your Santa, sitting right next to you. Tomorrow starts a new day, a new life, a new adventure! Adios for now, and see you next Christmas!


phantom's wraith said...

Great story. U should make a play out of this :) Your story so reminds me of those days as a kid. Ah those happy times.but i always thought i was a bad girl on santa s naughty list and tat s the reason mayb why he never comes to visit me. But den one day i wrote a long letter and posted it. That christmas i had the best smile on my face i got a cute bunny doll and a long letter accompanying it sayin how busy santa clause's job can be. And den every year i used to get a letter and i used to write to him every year too. He made me his assistant my job to make others happy. Den one day i came to know tat the letters wher sent to me by my neighbour who happens to be our postman too. I was angry annoyed but later on jus lik the character in the story and lik all christmas stories i realised the true spirit of christmas and the presence of santa everywher we go. He taught me and i ll never forget him.

Adrian said...

Wish you a Merry Christmas and May this festival bring abundant joy and happiness in your life! Great Religion Magazine collection I like to share with all Christian brothers and sisters.