My brother's best friends were both Christians. One was a Tamil Christian, John and the other an Anglo, Kevin. I was always invited to their house on the day of, after Church and everything. Since we were predominantly vegetarian at home John's mother would indulge me with making my favorite Chicken curry, mutton korma, egg fry, and biriyani. I would eat till I burst, take a nap before getting back home with a content tummy.
In the evenings we would go to Kevin's house and boy was Christmas different at his house. We would have a non-alcoholic drink with plum cake...yumm...I had no intention of saying, "That will do." As long as his mother kept filling my plate, I would keep eating it. My day would end well with a sound sleep and pleasant memories of the day. Each Christmas would be exactly like the one before. Nothing changed, my routine was pre-determined and I was in no hurry to make any changes. Until of course, we moved to Chennai.
When I was in my eleventh standard my brother and I went to the phone booth (I had to resist the temptation of writing STD booth!) to make a trunk call (long distance) to wish friends for Christmas. We were waiting outside the booth because someone else was keeping the place busy and brother and I got into talking. Right across from the phone booth was this church, a really beautiful one. It was getting busy because it was the eve of Christmas and I was checking out this one particular guy who had a guitar slung over his shoulder sitting on a Kawasaki motorbike and chatting with his friends. My brother caught my distraction and said, "Nice bike?" and I nodded absent minded and he asked me, "What about the guy?" I blushed. But it opened up a friend in my brother for me. He became my soul confidante after that. I could tell him everything and he helped me sort out stuff.
This year, Santa came home and showered my daughter with boat loads of gifts. Of course she knows who Santa is and never looks his way when we are in the malls because she is scared of him. But she loves the beauty of Christmas just like I do. We down sat on Christmas day near the fire place opening up her gifts when she said, "Because I went to sleep on time, Santa did not take me with him up the chimney?" I looked at her, wanting to tell her that Santa only came to give gifts, but then the tired mother inside me took over and said, "Yes, tonight also Santa will be watching to see if you sleep on time."
Hope everyone had a Merry X-Mas.