What’s it about Christmas that makes me secretly so happy inside? Why do I feel like you feel on a  reunion with an old friend? That’s because, of all festivals, Christmas is a favorite. And here’s why.

Celebrations of Diwali, Holi and most other Indian festivals entail merry-making along-side creating inconsiderate chaos. Bursting firecrackers, blaring vulgar music, reckless indulgences, are mere profligate ways of supercilious exhibition of one’s religious and traditional beliefs. It is my firm belief that the true essence of these festivals is long lost.

Christmas, however, is still exquisitely immaculate. There’s joy while there’s peace. Glorification and gratification, both, cherished with a most serene reverence of the almighty. Somewhere between adoring and desiring, Christmas was everything I sought as a kid. Wanting to meet Santa Claus was a dream right out of a fairy-tale. Ever since then, Christmas has held a special place in my heart.

Personally, Christmas is about fond memories from school days. Merry-making in the confines of the school which actually meant strict discipline. The meagre freedom to be oneself with no-one to inquire of whereabouts was so liberating. Corridors to classrooms dazzled with glee faces. Reigning silence from regular school hours was replaced with chirpiness of students and teachers alike.

Christmas is around the corner. And once again, vague and vivid memories from back then overwhelm me. My heart’s heavy with the surge of emotions. I’m craving all of it while feeling satiated all the same. It’s an extraordinary feeling. One I want to relive with all its craziness and absurdity, all the follies and frolics. And the very next moment, I bite back tears, swallow the lump choking my throat, knowing just how things have changed.

In 8th grade, I’d directed a tableau which not only did bag the first prize but went on to become a benchmark for coming years. The Christmas Tableau. For 2 years, my registration was not even considered by the committee heads. I was too young to direct something as enormous as a tableau for the School Christmas Eve.

Right from selecting the members to deciding costumes, setting up the props to shortlisting the singing crew, it formed an everlasting experience. Just how half the school sang ‘Silent Night’ when it played in the tableau, is even today, etched in my mind, fresh as the early morning sun.

The best and most peculiar thing about Christmas though, was the treats that we received in school. Plum cakes, a tetra-pack of Frooti, a pack of Peppy friums and Melody chocolates. Then, even the simplest things took us kids by storm. I still remember how I would peek into homes for a look at the glistening Christmas trees and long for one in my house.Being a Hindu, never had Christmas celebrations at home. And so, the Christmas celebrations at school was the closest I got to.

For me, Christmas, is about this feeling, about these nostalgic memories, loved and longed for.

To you, dear reader,

Merry Christmas! 🎅🎄 🎁💕

~~~~~

Asha Seth