With the onset of December and the cool breeze that follows, the blossom of bright and cheerful flowers reminds me of those innocent days when the priority and hardships of life were only defined by school syllabuses and the mid-term or annual exams. The beating of the drums and the rhythm of the trumpets, brings in nostalgic memories of the annual sports day practice sessions, that would be celebrated around this time of the year. I must admit now, after all the years have passed by, “What a time that was!”
I grew up reading in Sacred Heart Convent, a missionary school, in the steel city of Jamshedpur. A modest, prim and proper small town. I recollect now,how little was my world then and yet so simple and beautiful.
The usual days at the school began with assemblies and prayers and even ended with the same. We were taught to pray practically before everything we were about to do. Prayers before we started the class, before and after the lunch break, prayers before sitting for an examination, prayers for any calamity or unrest that might have struck in any corner of the world.
I do fondly remember the little chapel in our school premise that was surrounded by a beautiful garden, one that was tirelessly sown and yielded a splendid of colors and cheerful smiles.
A week before my school was to close down for the Christmas break, apart from the chorus of the carols one could find small hand made Santa and the Rudolfs’ pinned on the notice boards of the school hallways, messages of peace and joy, cherry and the mistletoe, snowman and the snowflakes, Christmas tree cut outs and many such more that adorned the windows of the classroom to lift the spirit of celebration and the nearing holidays.
We made small handmade cards from papers torn from the last pages of our notebooks to craft out those modest Christmas and New Year wishes to our Teachers and the closest of our friends irrespective of the fact whether Christmas “actually belonged to those of us or not.”
That was it. We learned to celebrate and we did actually celebrate every occasion that came our way. Whether it was Dussehra, Diwali, Holi, Eid, or Christmas, it was nothing but just a joyous festival that we all needed to respect and enjoy. I as an individual, never thought while praying “Our Father in Heaven”, to be a prayer that did or did not relate to me or my Hindu culture. For me, and for most of us, it was simply a Prayer, irrespective of our individual belief systems and till this day I am so glad that I grew up believing in this. I too, along with my other friends some of whom were catholic and some of whom weren’t, visited and said our own short prayers at the chapel trying to convince the Almighty for the magical assistance needed right before answering an exam and never was that a matter of concern for us or for our families as long as we grew in simple and less complicated belief structures.
And now is a time! As we have matured over the years with expensive education and priceless degrees, we have nurtured ourselves pretty much to asses how these very same festivals are nothing but plain and simple holidays. We think twice before we send out a greeting or a wish thinking through whether the person concerned is religiously associated with the festival in question or not.
I mean, how does it matter or does it really matter? Don’t we all like celebrations, holidays, colorful wishes, secret Santa presents or festive gifts? You must be kidding me, if you think you are not one of those. Then what is it that holds us back? What is it that makes us turn an ignorant eye to a happiness that is served on a plate right in front of us? What is that we are so eagerly waiting for while it lies suppressed in our own pockets? Is it a blindfold that we are so happily wearing and that we have sought light in that darkness itself? If yes, then it is indeed the time to do away with them and see how the real sun shines like.
All I wish now is for a Christmas to be as joyous as it was always meant to be . To still continue to believe in the Santa who fulfills our wishes, a belief that fairies still exist, that colors and cakes are signs of the festive onset, cute little glittery cards that make the heart smiles and the Christmas trees be adorned with lights and snow and if there is no snow we still have some room for the snow made of cotton. 🙂
“May be Christmas just doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps mean a little bit more.”