Wednesday, December 28, 2011


The disdainful walk,
The chewing of gum
As a statement of rebellion.
Bullying their way
Through discussions
Opinions and observations.
Monkeys on hormone high
Making rudeness their language.
Vandalizing etiquette
Walking over manners.
Are these attributes of Juvenileness
Or just a general Attitude
That cusses with profanities
And calls it the language of coolness?
From when did politeness and respect towards others become so outdated??

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Being a small towner had its great advantages. Almost every one I ran into knew my father. People were friendly, neighborhoods were closely knit and the peace and quiet of being in a suburb prevailed. going to school in a manually pulled rickshaw was a lesson of life too..though it seems almost inhuman now to think of one man riding a carriage of half a dozen kids back and forth from the school that was in the literal outskirts of the town :-) I used to sit at the end of the coupe, looking out longingly at wall posters of movies, graffiti and the random cattle grazing on the sides of the road. Streets were not as busy, people weren't either. School was the crux of excitement - it opened me to a vastness that figuratively found place in my heart. Huge campus, neatly stacked building and a portico overlooking a painstakingly nurtured garden of roses and lilies. The one thing that held my attention for the biggest point of time was the statue of Mother Mary, holding Jesus Christ. It was built with great aesthetics, looked like a shallow cave paved with stone bricks on the outside almost feeling like a shell in which Baby Jesus was cradled. I used to walk into the premises, eyes fixated on the statue - observing the Anglo Indian teacher and sisters that stopped by to say a silent prayer. They used to close their eyes, move their lips in a hushed prayer and bring their wrists upto their shoulders in a mesmerizing movement. The little girl in me was endlessly charmed, to a point where I used to do a funny and incorrect copy of the movement. I was too young to understand religion but Jesus was making his impact on me surely and slowly.

There used to be random questions to my parents - how do you guys look at sending your kids to a Christian Missionary School? Don't you think they'd be brainwashed? etectera...I am eternally thankful to my parents for not letting narrow outlook curb our development as human beings. I was raised as a staunch brahmin kid moderately following all the rituals of Hinduism but that didn't curb my love for a foreign faith that unfolded in the school campus. A dainty and long cross with Jesus adorned the wall, above the blackboard - and I subconsciously used to gaze at that cross while thinking about a math problem or cooking up an imaginative essay. Christ felt like a person in the class without actually being there all the time. I started believing that he existed in the little chapel, in the nooks and crannies of the campus and the Christmas season only reinstated that belief. The fattest of the kids used to get into Santa grab, there used to be hours of entertainment after the much dreaded half-yearly tests and the follow up of a substantial vacation always got the kids excited. The nativity scene used to be played with tennis rackets tied up at the back , cascading with sheer fabrics. A Jesus doll used to be placed in the center with the whole entourage performing in a trance. I used to get goose bumps just like I get now as I go back the memory lane. There were readings from the Bible, songs sung in the praise of the Son of God - the sound and the silence resonated with pure bliss - the bliss of faith. Christmas was a world of its own in the school in the little town. It was a phenomenon that enthralled a little girl to no end. It was a celebration of faith and love, it was indeed the most wonderful time of the year.

Fast forward a couple of decades - it almost feels like Christmas chased me and unfolds to me its many facets and angles. This experience is worlds away form that little idyllic setting but the spirit that it rekindles gets back a part of my childhood. Shopping malls and parking lots overflowing with patrons of Jesus, in the spirit of giving - under all the glitz and glamour of oversized Xmas trees and holiday grab - the spirit of the season seeps into my heart, magically transforming me into an eight year old that moved her hand clumsily around her shoulders. I stuff my shopping cart with random presents - toys, activity pads and a teddy bear for my little one, a hand written note for my love, Espresso maker for my best friend, skincare for my girlfriends on the wrong side of thirty, cook books and baking paraphernalia for my budding star chef God Niece, digital picture frame for a elder brother figure of a friend, Hello Kitty accesories for the kid's best friend, Lightning McQueen for her little brother, Ornate costume jewelry for the bracelet lover friend and odds and ends for the house keeper, the ballet teacher and the neighbor. I pause and think - what has Christmas come to mean for me? Did it really change much from many years ago? I ponder for an answer. I walk out of the cozy mall, busting at seams with the spirit of giving disguised as merchandise. I see volunteers ringing bells and making small talk at the entrance as they open door for Patrons that come to shop. Bits and pieces of the stories of generosity that flash on my comp screen around this time of the season pop up in my heart. I tuck a few dollars in the collection bin, and walk out only to see an overflowing bin of brand new toys donated for the toy drive at ToysRus. A warm feeling floods my entire being - the blinking lights shine in the background with busy shoppers hauling loads - I see them all in red and white and as slightly over weight - with kind smiles and loving gazes...Christmas emerges as more than a religious holiday, The spirit shines through, the trail of thoughts halt - a smile breaks on my pensive face - What do you want for Christmas? Pick something for under the tree, the significant other says...I politely turn down the offer, I seem to get more than I ever ask for during this time of the year - I get to sense the love, the spirit and most importantly, the feeling of being a child again:-)