It’s that time of the year again-the time when everything seems jolly and grand, a time when people you meet on the roads smile back at you. In fact, this is the only season where the moment jingles are in the air, you cannot help but think, ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’. Yup, it’s that time of the year when we waltz past Hill Road and see shops all decked up with their big green (and at times white) Christmas trees, toys, stockings, crib ornaments and stars to hang outside your doors.
Don’t you feel the tempo start to build up when it comes closer and closer to D-Day? Everywhere you go in Bandra, you will hear some Christmas carols playing from some house or the other, you will see parents rushing into shops and coming out with filled up bags, take a walk past Damian’s showroom and you are surely in for a treat with their decorations. Yup, nothing could be better than this.
Yet, for the last 25 years, one thing I have noticed is the change. As a student of management at SFIMAR, I have learnt that change is good. I walk past the shops and see the arrays of decorations filling up all the stores. If you decide to go ahead and purchase a tree, you have to choose between a tree with ready-made lights on the tips, a bigger green tree or a brighter white tree. So simple, right? When I was small, midnight mass on the 24th would actually begin at midnight. According to me, in this commercialized world, the simplicity of Christmas is forgotten.
Just imagine the contrasts between the very first Christmas and the 2011th Christmas. At that Christmas, no one even knew it was Christmas, no one had ever heard of Santa Claus, there were no presents, no well lit up streets, no hoardings, no brightly lit up Christmas trees. Yet, that is all we see today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it is completely wrong, but like I mentioned above, Christmas has changed. The one aspect that confounds me the most is how this change relates to our need for something better. I miss the simple yesteryears when my dad would hang the star outside our balcony while taking trouble to fit a bulb inside (one year when we woke up on Christmas morn, we found our star fallen to the ground surrounded by shards of broken glass from the bulb); today shops sell stars that come with ready-made bulbs on their 5 points. I have a small 5 foot Christmas tree and I make it a point to decorate it, no matter how busy I am; yet my friend once asked me why I take some much trouble in manually putting up lights on the tree when there are ready-made lighted trees available at every shop on Hill Road? When earlier Christmas meant the whole family sitting around the dining table making Christmas sweets and marzipans, today the mantra is ‘why waste time, order it!’ Ahhh yes, such a simple Christmas we follow today…
Instead of having a nice Christmas lunch or dinner with the family, some even decide to go to work. Yes, Christmas has definitely changed, but is it for the better? Christmas is supposed to be simple, it’s supposed to be about being together and helping out.
In spite of the innumerous changes, I guess the one thing that has not changed is the warm feeling that one gets around this time of the year…..
Twas the Night before Christmas Poem
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”