Thursday, December 27, 2007

Kristhu Jayanthi - Lol!

Snow all around…
Santa’s bell’s jingling (lol!)
Christmas Trees…
Stockings, Roast Turkey…

That’s never been Christmas to me…
Kristhu Jayanthi ( I hope that would be the apt Indianism) is far from all that…
It’s desi, It’s Indian, It’s however still Christmas.
We’re Indians too… Bleddy Hell! – which means just because we celebrate a festival like the rest of Christendom (Lol! – I’ve been dying to use that word in a useless context for a long long time!), and play Carols, and Dance (at times)… We’re not firang!
We’re still Indians man!

To me Christmas has always been about Kal-Kal’s, Rose Cookies, Bengalooru versions of the infamous Christmas pudding… [Of course my aunt who lives at Suloco does a very typical Christmas pudding (or as I learnt very recently, alternatively known as English Pudding – to the rest of Europe that be!), with rum-med dough, raisins, and brandy for a pudding flambé. It’s truly an alcoholic affair. The rest of us wannabe Bengalooru Indians make do with Nilgiris Rich Plum Cake] Silk sarees, Chicken curry or roast, loads of Biriyaani (varieties!), and especially to me some really lovely Tamil Carols. [OK, who am I kidding? I didn’t know the Tamil Carols existed till a very Anglicized version of them first met my eardrums earlier this year at Magnificat in Christ College, and I always grew up wanting snow, and expecting Mama to kiss Santa Claus – Guess what? It never ever happened.]

An Indian Christmas however (as much as the people I am taking liberties of referring to as Indians, would rather not have such a tag), was once experienced far up in Manipur. In an obscure little village called Sagang, somewhere on the periphery of Bishenpur District, in Wangoo Taluk, where Meitei’s (an indigenous tribe, primarily Hindus now, due to which they have self-proclaimed themselves to be non-tribal and ostracized every other tribe around them as either lower castes or shun-able “tribals”.) and Kom’s (a peace loving extremely adorable small valley tribe, who take neither sides of the Chins or the Nagas, and have the most exquisite white wool based shawls that are a pleasure to see and wear.) celebrated Christmas together, sang carols in local languages, and cooked a huge buffalo in rice (the Manipuri version of the Biriyaani – but far less spicy), sat around a bonfire and ate and had fun together. They taught me that Christmas is about THAT,

and about FAMILY & COMMUNITY, and mostly about CHRIST.

As I picture those freezing cold evenings, my brothers, my mother, my father, uncles, aunts, cousins and me, wrapped in four or more shawls each, huddled around a raging bonfire with everyone from the village there, I suddenly realize what Christmas is actually all about.

It’s about LOVE.

So Christmas came and went, and it will keep coming and going for every other year of my life. The Americans will think they are the epitomes of secularists and only wish each other – Happy Holiday’s, and the rest of us Indians will keep trying to imitate all our western counterpart Christmasses from all over the world, but as long as LOVE remains what the festival is all about – There’s still hope.

I missed celebrating Christmas with my Church, and choreographed something for the service that night. I never got to see it, but I’m sure the Spirit of Christmas that was in each and every one of those participants ensured they do a good job.
Someone I had such a huge crush on, and have loved so tenderly ever since made this season so special by well… msg’ing me from half way across the globe. She will always be the ONLY girl I’ve ever loved. Another lover boy, mailed me, and brought that smile I’ve been missing so much, back onto my face. And I spoke to a cousin I’ve particularly grown very fond of lately. There’s so much to this season, and words will only explain a quarter of it.

To Carol singing, and lovely friends,
To marriages, and happy people in love,
To mothers who go out of their way to cook so much,
To most benevolent hosts,
To some foreigners who are just too sweet to be real,
To lovers and friends alike lost somewhere down life’s twisted ways,
To friends who remembered, and friends who forgot,
To families,
And most of all.
To Christ.

Merry Christmas everyone!
(Belated I know, but who cares!)

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