The news that 'A Christmas Carol' had been voted the most popular book preferred by UK parents for their children took me back to Class 10. The 1843 Charles Dickens classic taught us that the books are not "just for cramming but to be cherished forever by heart, to make our lives better."
Let's face it. We are all like the book's protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge, in one way or the other.
We can pity Scrooge for his stone-heartedness and inhumane nature, but we all need to pity ourselves in this materialistic world. Shelling out a hundred-rupee note for an orphanage is "too much", whereas spending double the amount for a multiplex movie is okay. Just like Scrooge, for whom the poor were "just surplus population."
Your driver or servant asks for an extra day's leave to take his daughter out. How can you grant it, your work will suffer? But a full-day holiday to prepare for your son's birthday bash is fine. Like Scrooge, who denied an extra Christmas holiday to his clerk, Bob Cratchit.
Business or friends' dinners in five-star hotels, wow, you love them! But do you remember how many months ago you had a small dinner with your old parents who wait to have 15 peaceful minutes from your "busy schedule"? When exactly did you call your adorable sister or brother and asked if she/he is well? Just like Scrooge, who never realised the love of his sister Fan for him.
A couple of roses and a nice evening chat on your spouse's birthday can give them happiness for a lifetime, but wishing a belated birthday with an expensive gift will just be a formality. Just like Scrooge's lust for money cost him the love of his life, Belle.
Happiness is never conditional. Like Scrooge, "despite being rich enough, you can remain morose", or like the characters Fred and Bob, "despite being poor enough, you can be merry as ever!"
We hardly realise that the two major diseases of the world, "ignorance" and "want" are crippling us more than ever before. We are not only ignoring our life, our family, our happiness, our sweet, small, special moments, but our "want" for grabbing more and more money is "killing the human inside us".
The day is not far when like Scrooge, our death will not be mourned by anyone. Rather, people will come to attend a nice funeral lunch, not shedding even two tears of remembrance.
We need to realise that everything in this mean world is not "humbug"; before the three ghosts
visit us, we need to wake up and rekindle the hope of saving humanity, which is breathing its last. Love your parents, be kind to your servant, feed a hungry person, help an unprivileged and adopt an unfortunate fellow. You will suddenly realise that life has become "differently beautiful".
If Ebenezer Scrooge can do it, so can you. Life is a melodious Christmas carol. All we need is to sing it with a kind heart!