What do you call people who are afraid of Christmas? Claustrophobic. Okay, a lame one but one that certainly does not apply to us Indians. We have taken to Yuletide like turkeys to the basting pan. Do most of us really know what Christmas is all about? Perhaps not. But ‘tis the season to be jolly and no one more so than us. A decade ago, Christmas was celebrated in small pockets dominated by Christians and at elite clubs and hotels. But now, take a swing around any mofussil town and there’ll be the proverbial plastic tree at corner shops and Santas who look like the local MLA. If you can’t get your hands on a turkey or a goose, well, a nice biryani will do just as well. And if warbling Christmas carols doesn’t come easily to you, just belt out the latest Hindi film songs in tune with the mega decibels from the nearest loudspeaker.
And so as with other festivals previously unknown on these shores like Halloween and Valentine’s Day, the great Indian assimilation machine has swallowed up Christmas as well. And gone one better. The marketing wizards now tell us what are the best gifts to get, no prices for guessing that they are invariably top brands, which brunches and dinners to splash out on and which churches to visit.
The important thing is that a good time is had by all and card and gift shops are laughing all the way to the bank. Not a bad thing at a time when we are being urged to spend our way out of the financial hole that the world is in. So let’s raise a toast to the season of good cheer as long as you don’t drive after that. A very Merry Christmas to all our readers.