Round about | ‘Tis the season: The invocation is for joy and peace! | punjab$regional-takes | Hindustan Times
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Round about | ‘Tis the season: The invocation is for joy and peace!

Crimson Christmas flowers in small pots have been attracting the gaze at nurseries around the city and this week saw emaciated migrant hawkers going a hip-hop at traffic signals wearing Santa caps and the good old bearded fellows masks hanging on their arms.

punjab Updated: Dec 25, 2016 14:25 IST
Nirupama Dutt
Whatever may be the cash in the wallet there is always enough for a bit of rum, a small plum cake and humming a carol or two. One joyous aspect is that all festivals, no matter what the faith, have everyone in one way of the other.
Whatever may be the cash in the wallet there is always enough for a bit of rum, a small plum cake and humming a carol or two. One joyous aspect is that all festivals, no matter what the faith, have everyone in one way of the other.(Karun Sharma/HT Photo)

Crimson Christmas flowers in small pots have been attracting the gaze at nurseries around the city and this week saw emaciated migrant hawkers going a hip-hop at traffic signals wearing Santa caps and the good old bearded fellows masks hanging on their arms. The Google Doodle has been on a smiley dance to the tune of a festive song ‘This the Season’. The cabs round the city took several detours on Friday to stop getting trapped ‘cause of the long holy cavalcade of vehicles. Well Christmas is here even though the malls and showrooms decked up with holly and bells are not as crowded as last year as the cash crunch continues.

Whatever may be the cash in the wallet there is always enough for a bit of rum, a small plum cake and humming a carol or two. One joyous aspect is that all festivals, no matter what the faith, have everyone joining in one way of the other. Talking about convergence of cultures, one is reminded of a remark Nayantara Sahgal of the Award-wapasi, and before that ‘Storm in Chandigarh’ fame remarked: “ I am a Hindu by birth, a Christian by education and a Muslim by culture.” Like it or not but many of us are not just Amar, Akbar and Anthony rolled into one but also Aradhna, Amiah and Annabelle all in one!

So this gets me thinking when did the Annabelle in me get awakened and which was the first X-mas of my life before I was suitably ‘convented’. I think it was in way back in 1959 when my father took me, a four-year girl, to wish the Padri from Australia and his family who were then living in a house just a plot away from our home in Sector 19 on Christmas. I was dumb-struck by the sight of the all-white family and more so the smart wife of the clergyman and pretty teenage daughter wearing narrow skits and Cashmere wool jumpers. And then my eyes opened wide when I saw in a corner of the living room a tall conical tree with a star shining at the top, snowflakes dotting it along with other lovely trinkets and rows of fairy lights around it. I still relish the taste of the dates stuffed with walnuts and sprinkled with castor sugar that the young daughter served us and I was overjoyed when she insisted that I take a second piece.

Next year, the first of the 60s, the eldest of six brothers who was an educationist, returned after a year’s stint in the Centralia School District of the US. They went by sea and returned by air and all through my Bhabhi held in her lap a precious cardboard box with Christmas tree decorations, spangled glass balls and bells. My niece who was just a few years my senior, it often happened thus in the old times, made good use of them along with cotton snowflakes and birthday candles by making our own tree Christmas time. Since our city had no firs and pines, we got our brother’s subordinate to get us a small kikar tree, they grew aplenty then in the wild empty plots all over Chandigarh. This ritual we continued till we were well into our 20s

With this old tale of creative fusion Annabelle wishes all a Merry Christmas even though she is pained by the sketch of a Santa, doing the rounds on socialmedia, holding his head in horror and sorrow because all the requests from weeping Children have been for bullet-proof vests. So the invocation is for joy and peace!