By Nitum Jain:
My little sister has been meandering in the house, humming (read: shouting) “Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer”, while I curiously watch her. The eight-year-old even brought out a red fluffy coat from the closet, albeit it being a polka-dot version of Santa’s iconic garb, and collected a posse of more small humans to commence a two-day long ‘Christmas party’.
Christmas hardly has any religious connotations in India considering that the majority position is held by the Hindu population in the country; however, the festivity is enjoyed by most– especially the younger population. It is a day when there are no prescribed rituals and traditions to follow; it gives a giddying sense of freedom and playfulness that can be translated to just pure unadulterated fun.
There are obviously the chocolates and the cakes that are the highlight of the festival for me. Nothing can beat the crazy Christmas treats that are available in all possible shapes all over the city. Every year on this day I’d be found stuffing my face with as many Santa cookies and gift box pastries as I could get my hands on. What is one supposed to do? They sit there under the gleaming glass counters, chiming in their squeaky voices, asking the passersby to box a load and take them home.
It’s not just the confectionery wherein lays the attraction, Christmas paints the town red quite literally. The shop windows are splashed with festive colours and mannequins display their newly-acquired Elfish hats rakishly. The mammoth Christmas trees in the middle of every mall just about tears me apart; the 8-year-old in me squeals at the grand display and the other side dutifully reminds me of the wastage of precious energy. Some may call it commercialization, others may name this rising popularity ‘Westernization’, but there is no denying that Christmas is here to stay.
I know Santa is not real, you know Santa isn’t real (or is he?), but who would deny the pleasure of receiving a present via the old tuck-under-the-pillow method by a very sheepish looking Dad, who too is reveling in his stint at being a ‘bearded’ superhero for his kid, even if it’s just for a day.
There is a lack of negativity and stress that is almost astounding in today’s age. The neighbour whom you’d been itching to shout at suddenly doesn’t seem too annoying, the day seems more beautiful, your younger sibling seems cuter and that lingering hopelessness that is part and parcel of living in this century is washed away by a bright rendition of Jingle Bells on the morning radio. That is what Christmas does to us. It takes off the serious and judgmental glasses that we keep on and replaces them with a cheery rose-tinted version.
I see 25th of January as the commencement of a week-long goodbye to the year that has gone by. To all the days, hours, minutes and seconds that we experienced which will never return. Like all adieus, we kick off with a celebration that ends in nostalgia and new hopes as the next year hollers on our doorstep.
So celebrating the Kick-off 2011, the entire team of Youth Ki Awaaz wishes you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. With the background music of tinkling bells, let’s clink those glasses of eggnog. Cheers!