Secret Santa game. Varieties of cake. Colourful gifts. Fun, laughter, cheer... Christmas Eve. Ho ho ho... it's all over!
After the celebrations, everybody finished work reluctantly and spent some time expressing our disappointment over editing copies and making pages on a day which was meant to be chilled out.
December is a month which I always loved, though my Christmas celebrations back home were confined to a cake and fun at school. More than the celebrations in my school, I enjoyed in my brother's school where every year we got to attend the cultural programmes apart from a feast for the tummy. I still remember sitting on the vast front yard of the school and watching boys dancing on the stage dressed as angels, gleefully munching the delights presented in packets.
I always loved the misty mornings of December. In Kerala, it is a holy month in another way too. It is the month when people observe fasting before visiting the abode of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala. Early mornings, you can see devouts visiting the temple for Nirmalyam (early morning pooja before the dawn). One should see to believe the enthusiasm of elderly women, all dressed in traditional mundu and neriyathu and hair still wet after the cold-water bath, walking to the temple, braving the chill.
Why did I say all this? Christmas always reminds me of the love I have for December.
Sitting in the cab, I was holding tight to the lovely aromatic candle which my Secret Santa gifted me, still envying what others got. On the way, we passed through an all decked-up Brigade Road and churches from where we could hear the prayers loud.
Later the cab took us through a place where there were many families living on the roadside in make-shift tents. There I saw a kid with a silver-coloured cone-shaped cap, torn shirt and no slippers, playing with his dog, in front of their plastic house. The dog too was sharing the fun and running along with him, curious about the shining ‘crown’ its little master had got. A moment at midnight, I was ashamed. Perhaps, the cap may be the only new thing he had for Christmas. I was so lucky to have had stomach-full of cake, apart from my usual food, an expensive gift, and still wanting more, with a smile still missing from my face. I sincerely wished I could go to them and share their laughter.