Monday, December 27, 2010


Oh I loved Christmas in India a lot. Especially when you are a little girl walking around the township seeing certain houses little up by the beautiful red shining star, ah! magical. Of course, there were stories about Santa, bits and pieces, here and there, and I was always sad that Santa never came to our house. Then there was the school Christmas tree decorating contest. Each of the classrooms had to decorate a tree and whichever class had the best decorated tree would get tonnes of candy. Then there was the Christmas night in school, where they would re-enact the story of the birth and then sing carols, and of course candy for all! And then the street caroling. It was all there...fond memories!

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.



Geeta said...

What wonderful memories - when I went to India this last time, it was right after Christmas. The holiday season is my favorite, and I was feeling a bit distraught as I got off the plane in Delhi and realized I had just left behind my family, friends, snow and bright lights behind... but then I stepped onto one of the shuttle buses that would bring me to my next flight, and there in front of me was a brightly lit decoration with a photo of Santa - I wasn't expecting it, and it sure made me smile. It also made me realize that as long as you've got those memories - the good things of the season are with you wherever you go :)

Megha Bansal said...

Your memories make me smile...I can't believe how similar memories we all who were born in the 80s in India (or late 70s :D).

Fun account!

Merry Christmas!

Amudha said...

Anu - Wish you and family a very happy and prosperous new year - Advance wishes

Anu Russell said...


Ya, every year I think about John and Kevin's family who shared festivals with us...I miss them and I miss my childhood but I am glad that I can carry the fond memories with me and that they were there to help create it for me.


Ya, totally...I am so glad that the India we grew up in was (and hopefully is) so secular. The joy was in being there for each other be it Hindu, Muslim, or Christian.


Wish you and your family the same. Hope you have a blessed 2011 ahead.