Once upon a time there was a Santa… in my heart , all around me…in spirit.
Growing up in a place like Kenya where all religions lived under one all encompassing roof, I got to choose the religion I enjoyed if not the one I was born into.
I studied the Bible, attended Sunday Mass, sang hymns like a native, celebrated Eid and Christmas also, not cos I was a Christian or Muslim but because my friends were and it made no difference to me.
I have grown up believing in GOD..not a segregated one with some ten thousand names, but the one Universal force that I prayed to every night lying in bed or kneeling by it cos Enid Blytons characters did it that way. I knew as a kid that I had to talk to someone, thank someone and request someone…and that someone was an intangible force they say is all around us even if not visible to the naked eye..and I believe them.
I don’t feel less religious if I don’t cover my head and seek sublimation at every occasion in front of a statue of God in a mandir cos I feel I don’t need to seek him there alone.
I sat and watched in awe as my young friends dedicatedly read their namaaz so sincerely like clockwork, not understanding what they did but respecting their beliefs and admiring their sincerity, impatiently waiting to be doled out generous helpings of mouth watering biryanis, sevaiyan, and I forget what not else!!
But what I enjoyed most was Christmas.. I guess one of the biggest influences in my growing years was the world of Enid Blyton and Disney , initiated, introduced and encouraged by my readalholic parents!!
I wanted to believe in Santa like the famous five did, I wanted to understand the spirit of goodness as Uncle Scrooge learnt, I wanted to see the Jerrys hug the Toms of the world just cos it was the season of love and forgiveness…
I aced all the hymns, watched the proceedings in church while gazing in admiration at the structure and ambience . I lit candles and partook of turkey and pudding with my Christian buddies…I hung up my school socks knowing that I would find them overflowing in the morn!!
The red, white and green colors all around me brings a smile to my lips even today… I believe there is a Santa in the North Pole..I refused to eat reindeer in Alaska cos I thought I was doing my old friend Rudolph a misdemeanor!!….
I want to knock on doors and sing hymns for smiling folks who hand out goodies…I want to sit on a fat Santa’s lap and ask him for the gift of happiness for my family…I want to sneak out of bed and catch him as he slides down the chimney shouting Ho Ho Ho!!!
I know I have been good so I’m sure he’ll come this year too!!
My babies grew up too soon so they couldn’t be conned too long into believing the tooth fairy put that crisp ten rupee note under the pillow, or that the Easter bunny left that box of chocolates on the mantelpiece, or that Santa was pleased with them and knew exactly what to put in the long red stocking borrowed from my daughter and hung by the bed!! Sad!!! I wish they still believed!
We watched Christmas themed movies every year on the huge bed in the living room with oohs and ahhs from the littles ones warming my heart all over again! I believed and I wanted them to believe because something about the myth of Santa gives you a strange kind of happiness and assurance that something good and fun still exists!
I missed the days when my kids and I decorated the arocaria tree in the garden with silver bells and little stars and paper strings much like what we saw on tv and watched them fight and laugh gleefully as they did so…!!
But today I felt young again!
I felt like my little babies were still shorter than me and still full of mischief and madness cos today my son brought home a six foot tall Christmas tree replete with all kinds of cute decorations to adorn it and the sight of it made my heart soar again! I wanted to give him a tight hug but he ran for his life like he was being ravaged!!
I admonished him playfully and quickly got to work singing jingle bells in abandon while he slapped his forehead in chagrin and shook his head in dismay at my antics! All he did was rant that he may have made the gravest mistake of his life bringing home the tree if I was going to behave in this exasperating manner while taking photos of my idiocy!!
As I stepped back after a while to admire my handiwork, singing even louder oblivious of the threats from my son that sounded suspiciously like he was contemplating wringing my neck on Christmas Eve, a disturbing thought crossed my mind..it was the 24th already and Santa as to leave with his trusty Rudolph and company in an hour!! What if he didn’t have enough cash to get the toys ready on time cos of the demonetization! What if the Elves couldn’t get all the goodies loaded onto the sleigh on time!! Oh horror of horrors!! All the little kids of the world would have been good all year to no avail! If they weren’t going to get their gifts this year they might just as well have a more exciting time being crude and brash and misbehaved for all the good the abstinence did them!!
Soon better sense prevailed and I heaved a sigh of relief as I realized rupees must be redundant on the North Pole..they probably use Euros or Dollars or something unpronounceable there, I’m guessing!! Thank God!!
So get ready kids, Santa’s on his way …Jingle Bells Jingle Bells!!! Go to bed dreaming of a White Christmas, snowmen, Partridges on pear trees, Three wise men tramping down a dusty path enroute to a certain manger wherein lies a harbringer of peace and hope….. and the promise of our friend St Nicholas!! The morning may make your dreams come true!!
Next year I want to spend Christmas where it is celebrated the way it should be, where the decorations are as they should be and where Yuletide is engraved in the places heart and soul! I’m not choosy..USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Europe ..maybe even Iceland!!!….feel free to choose….India done…the rest of the world awaits!!!
Santa you listening??? My Babies..are you???