Christmas...to any kid who has studied in a Christian Missionary Convent, Christmas remains etched in mind, maybe forever. The following musings are random totally but have their own meaning for me.
Mrs.Rita Pillai - my headmistress when I was in Primary School.Even today I can see her sitting at the piano leading us in choir. I can see her directing all the teachers for the proceedings of the day. This included the usual walk of the three kings of the orient, greeting the Lord in the manger [I remember the song' Away in the Manger, No crib for a bed,...'] And of course, ensuring that the Santa Claus had his bag of chocolates in place.
I tend to remember the chapel in my school.A dark place, carpeted red. The statue of Christ on the cross on one of walls. Flower pots adorning the place. We had to remove our shoes to get inside. And had to remain silent. Actually we were supposed to pray. But I used to wonder why Christ's body was twisted on the cross. What would a child's mind understand about the metaphorical implications of pain? Many years later, I found my answer in the book The Agony and Ecstasy by Irvingstone. Mrs. Pillai never found out that I never used to pray there.
My mother - in spite of belonging to an orthodox background her curiosity got the better of her and one day, we marched to Santhome Church to witness the Christmas Eve festivities. So impressed were we that my Mom made it a practice to visit the church more often.
Spenser's - the only mall worth speaking about in Chennai at that time. I and my Mom marched in for some window shopping only to realise that there was a painting competition going on for kids. Mom told me to participate and bought some crayons and colors for me. I won the second prize - a fancy pencil box. [Today, Spenser Plaza doesn't appeal to me.It looks more like Kafka's castle.]
And of course, the plum cake that Dad used to bring. With great ceremony we used to cut the cake and I used to reserve my share for a late night hogging. And then look pleadingly at my brother and sister. No one could resist that look!
College? The whole month we used to play this game called Chris Mom and Chris Child. It involved leaving some secret gifts for the assigned friend. Of course, for the better part of my stay, I thought it was a silly game. In the band, there was no choice, you had to play it.
Christmas also reminds me of the day when the band as a whole got into a soup with our teachers. We had decided to play on Christmas Eve. The catch was that we had not taken the permission of our teachers, who, quite conveniently, were on a holiday.Our band was pretty much in the nascent stage and this was going to be our first standing performance. We put together a few tunes, and played for about 15 minutes. Felt on top of the world.:) We came crashing down the next day when our teachers returned.:( We got a solid blasting for not having gone through the official channels.
Most of all, Christmas always reminds me of that scene in Home Alone [Part 2] The mother comes in search of the kid and the kid is praying in the Church. Praying for his family. And I think of the time when I and my mom used to sit in the church, more out of curiosity rather than reverence.
And I can hear the music,...Hark the herald, Oh come all ye faithful, .......And I just think of a human being who lived many hundreds and thousands of years ago, personifying all the good that man is capable of. And whose message of love and brotherhood is preserved mostly for a day's festivity.
:)Merry Christmas to one and all.