December 26, 2007

Warm Christmas

It is a warm Christmas afternoon in Mumbai. I am lying flat on my bed with the laptop snuggled on my knees and typing away. This has been an unforgettable Christmas; one of the best in my life till date. Being born and brought up in Calcutta and spending 12 years in a missionary school ensures that Christmas means something special. In Calcutta it was always the plum cakes from Nahoums, a sudden gift box from Flurry’s or Cathleen’s and a beautifully lit up Park Street. Mumbai disappointed me. You could not smell Christmas in the daily rush of office goers. You could not feel the nip in the air, the oranges that mom used to give every afternoon had transformed into packaged juice from tetra packs, Christmas was on the way of becoming just another date.

Things began to change with my trip to Bangalore. Forgetting my jacket back in Mumbai made certain that the night air chilled me to the bones; the Mallu bakeries had started putting the decorations in. Though not completely, but Christmas was arriving. And then friends went to Goa. Sitting in a luxury suite they called me to tell me about Christmas coming in Goa. Still, Mumbai was far behind.

My Christmas Eve was actually the Saturday night before Christmas. I spent it with a cherished friend, rummaging through the books on offer at Crosswords, picking up Mera Naam Joker and Kabhi Kabhi from Planet M, enjoying a dinner and coffee that felt so comfortable and at ease and without pretensions, running into a pastry shop just before it dropped its shutters and then walking down wide pavements savouring the taste of Blueberry cup cakes while the wind whispered with the trees lining the road. It was a magical night, made beautiful by the realization that at Christmas, we seldom are alone even we are miles away from home.

And so on the actual Christmas Eve I did not mind working late. The ‘call’ had come long back and so at around 10:30 in the night three wise men walked towards the old Portuguese Church in Dadar for the Midnight Mass. The hymns were grand and pompous and I felt as if I was in the sets of a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie. Somewhere the innocence I remember in the voices of my school choir was missing but then as the clock struck midnight, a child was born unto this world to bring peace to mankind. When we came back it was pretty late. But that did not stop us from putting on music and dancing the night away. 2 CAs and 2 MBAs make an awful dance group. That’s all I have to say.

As a child, Christmas was never complete without the stocking and my sister would always win on the number of gifts we found every morning inside our stockings. Times have changed, but I always have a stocking by my bed before I tuck in for the night. Today I woke up late, almost when half the day was over. A quick glance at the stocking showed that it was empty. “The child has grown, the dream is gone.” Just as I was starting to make myself a nice Christmas Brunch, the doorbell rang. And there was a Christmas miracle at my doorstep.

I have a senior of mine in the beautiful city of Hyderabad. A senior who has been like an elder sister who never scolds even when you are acting like a complete nincompoop. A senior who never tires to hear of my cribs, a senior who exemplifies whatever good is left in this world. As I opened the door and in a complete daze signed the form, I could not believe my eyes. In front of me was a HUGE black current cake with the words on it, “Always be happy.”

Merry Christmas everyone.

PS: you read about the play Jazz in my last post. It had the most amazing original Christmas joke I have ever heard.

Why was Jesus not born in Bombay?

It requires three wise men and a virgin for the Birth of The Christ.

1 comment:

CJ said...

"current cake"? shocking! :D
didnt know christmas meant so much to u man... u're invited nect december to spend it with me! :)