''Meri Christmas, Teri Christmas, Sab ki Christmas...'
I rolled my eyes and laughed as I finished watching my Zumba teacher Sameer shouting into a video-selfie on Facebook Live, where he had just showcased the mad festivities and dancing at his Delhi Salsa Club studio. What a clown, I thought, shaking my head. I put away my phone and went to sleep.
And then, hours later this morning, when I finished my own Zumba class this morning and walked back into my house, this caught my eye.
Peanut had brought out this tree from our store-room a month ago. I grumbled for a while and then gave up. I watched over the weeks as she painstakingly untangled wires and created paper decorations and used cotton balls for snow. And today, here it stood. My favourite corner of our home, with my bookshelf, Peanut's piano, Pickle's guitar, the photograph of her playing at a concert looked even warmer and prettier to me.
And then all of a sudden I was transported back to about thirty years ago (my GOD) - to a time when I was just about seven, and had read in some book about the tradition of putting up Christmas Stockings to be filled with goodies. I was fascinated by the idea, and being a child faithful to what I read, I dug out those of my socks that didn't have holes and tucked them up on the shelf near the head of our bed. One for my sister, and one for me.
My mother came home from work and saw them and questioned me as to why I was being even weirder than usual. I explained that these were the Christmas Stockings and I assumed that they would be filled up with Christmas goodies by Santa, the visitor in the night. Candy canes, I said, and earnestly described that they were like little walking sticks but edible and in red and white stripes. Mother listened in a bemused manner but didn't say anything. Soon it was time for lights out.
In the morning, I scrambled to check my stockings. And Lo and Behold - Santa had indeed come - what was this? Ten rupee note, a Dairy Milk Chocolate and raisins and nuts! A veritable feast. Me and my sister were in ecstasy. How can I explain to you the joy of a seven year old eating Kishmish straight out of her sock?
And there it was. I stood there look at the Christmas tree set up for my own daughter, and felt tears pricking at my eyes. In our family, we don't really look at festivals as serious religious occasions - they're just yet another reason to celebrate. And it could be Holi, or Diwali, or Halloween ( the kids favourite) or Christmas. Traditions are being reinvented, and to all the naysayers who roll their eyes and outrage about how we as a country are being westernized and losing touch with our own roots and all that righteous stuff, I send out a big kiss, and can only repeat the words of one of my gurus, who once wisely stated...
'Meri Christmas, Teri Christmas...Sab Ki Christmas!'
P.S Happy Holidays and here's wishing us all a wonderful 2017