The festival time can be crazy in the city if one is partying; and crazier still if one has supposedly reached the stage of having been there and done that. Worst still if in times such as ours: reported it all on the Facebook! So it has been in this city of ours the last festive week of the year with the common cold taking on uncommon proportions, a mobile deciding to go into coma and the spirit of celebration at an all-time low. The wine no longer appealing, neither the rich plum cake; so the best option is to tuck oneself in the quilt and watch the party time on the television.
The Christmas morning came with tweets on the yesteryear cine star Sadhana, who made a grand debut as a style icon in ‘Love in Simla’ in the swinging 60s, passing forever into the good night. A favourite of one’s childhood, one looked back with love. Incidentally, this sultry Sindhi girl-next-door had started as a chorus girl in Raj Kapoor’s ‘Shri 420’ in the number ‘Murh murh ke na dekh’.
So much of the day went in looking back, a state one has been a little wary of. More so since a senior writer very active even at 90 said in the passing that one should be warned when one starts living in memories because life demands attention to the present and maybe just a little for the future.
So the living force takes one on a chance lift from the place of work to Sector 17 early Christmas evening without any plans. Perhaps a good mutton cutlet, a tried antidote for blues, may just do the trick. But the Indian Coffee House does not have even an inch of space, what with all the tables taken and people waiting in the space to grab any that may fall vacant.
In fact one had forgotten what Sector 17 can be like at festive time. The entire middle class seems to have descended on it while the elite are away on getaways to warmer climes or white Christmas in the hills. So one wanders out to the plaza with its makeshift bazaar on the floor and vendors selling hot sweet potatoes, peanuts and what have you.
Joining the merriment, I buy a tumbler of Rs 20 coffee and sit on a bench, sipping in the fun. The vendors are in constant hideaway if they suspect the estate office people around, hiding their wares, extinguishing the stoves and yet managing to smuggle a plate of savouries to customers and collect the cash. Then a shout of joy comes, for the fearsome fellows have left and the stalls are put back in place. The business of life starts all over again. Soon two young men and two young women in red jackets and Santa caps join me on the bench with a tumbler of coffee and a snack in hand.
They have obviously been pressed into service selling Christmas goodies to make some pin money. They sip their coffee, bite into the patty and laugh away all blues. Soon one is smiling too if not actually laughing. The young in their funny red gear have made all the difference.
The festive spirit does catch on. Well, a touch of R-E-D can make all the difference; so like the poinsettia blooms, christened Christmas Flowers, defy the cold and burst out in crimson glory. Time yes to move on lightly carrying the bundle of past, present and future on the shoulder a la Santa Claus!