Getting drunk and happy is a fad, new winter clothes are purchased to flaunt, families go on an overdrive and install Christmas trees (‘install’ too mechanical a word?), teach their children about Santa and his stockings, have family dinners and rum cakes. All a big package of happiness. While on most years I am clueless about my plans and hate the festive season... this year I am happy.
When I was a child, my relatives from the great United States of America gifted me a huge 5-book collection of Santa stories in a giant book jacket... packed up like a gift. That green, 100 by 100 inches box (I am not kidding), was the most prized possession of my yesteryears. I held it close to my heart, showed it off to my friends and read each book carefully... turning one banana leaf discreetly after the other, to absorb and memorize each line. I learnt about Santa, his habitat, reindeers, mistletoes, stockings, chimneys, sleighs, Antarctica, decorations, confetti, rum and fig cakes... all from those five precious books. The last page of the fifth book had a full two page rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’ and my toes would stand up for a tap dance each time I read it. Now as an adult, I might have misplaced my box-set... but fond memories remain. The feel of those creamy pages and the smell of freshness linger in my head. I was blessed with a colour-filled and playful childhood. Touché.
Having attended a fancy school where conversing in English right from the first grade was a fad (we were punished if someone was heard talking in Hindi), the Christmas (and subsequently New Year’s) festivities lingered on. In my fourth grade, I would hang a sparkling white stocking with my gift wish-list scribbled and stuffed inside it, on the doorknob. But to my disappointment, there would be no gifs in the morning. That was because my parents were blissfully unaware of any such activity going on in my room as me and my brother both had a separate room to ourselves. So sadness dawdled there.
But that didn’t stop me from pestering my father to get us the most baroque New Year’s reservations. While in some years he would succumb to that demand and spend oodles of money getting us a good spot... in the others, we would have street golgappas at midnight, or be snuggled in our beds watching New Year’s programming on TV. In one of those years, SaReGaMa was big and I have clear recollections of watching Anu Kapoor usher us into the New Year with his cheerful voice.
Last year, I was lucky enough to spend both Christmas and New Year’s in the Big Apple. The place to be - NEW YORK CITY. Eat your hearts out. Amazon Kindle as my gift, Times Square on 31st midnight and an American Diner for dinner. Total and absolute bliss. In the Americas, this time of the year is angelic. Most major tech companies launch their line of new advanced tech offerings to woo the buyers. And it’s a shopper’s delight to indulge in the joys of the latest iPhone or iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire or Barnes and Noble’s Nook. They are everywhere and if you don’t bag one, your New Year’s sucked.
The ‘Food’ around Christmas - means different things to different people. To me, it’s a lot of cakes and wines. And chocolates! Who can forget the chocolates?! Molten, brown, white, dark, bitter, sweet, Belgian, desi, etc. No end to this list. The more the merrier. Ho ho ho.
The ‘Clothes’ – India or abroad, there are HUGE discounts on clothing in this season. Latest fashion brands selling at cheesecake rates. Or hot bread rates. Or hot dog rates. Best time to hoard them, wear them, buy some, throw some more (money) and hoard some again for the rest of the winters. Victoria’s Secret, Louis Vuitton, Van Heusen, Gucci, Jimmy Choo and Ray Ban. Time to get the best deals on everything!
The ‘Movies’ – Oscar and Grammy nominations are released. And the best movies of Hollywood hit the screens in this month. For 2011, the list is as impressive with – Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, Sherlock Holmes 2, The Descendants, Ides of March, The Iron Lady, etc. I have watched the ones that have released and have plans too for watching the rest of them. The list last year was as glorious with cinematic gems like – The King’s Speech, The Black Swan, Rabbit Hole – being doled out. Then too, I watched each and every one of them, including a Spanish film ‘Biutiful’.
So in conclusion, as I sit here in the yellow glow of my room’s lighting, snug in a blanket on a crisp white winter Christmas morning, I revel in the celebratory aura that hangs in the air. I shall visit the fanciest mall in Delhi to gawk at their biggest Christmas tree, have a rum cake, walk in the evening cold and finally end the day with a few drinks to warm up. Merry Christmas to ye all :) Tons to do this year!