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Bulbul was born in a devout Hindu baniya family. Diwali was the most important festival & all happy things (read as food treats, new clothes, meeting relatives, exchanging gifts) were reserved for it. She went to a non Jesuit school & hence was unexposed to the stories of Good Friday or Christmas. Like most of us growing up, she believed in fairy tales & angels. However, unlike most of us, she didn't stop believing in them once she grew up.
Bulbul was a generous child & an even more giving adult. She believed in helping those who were less fortunate than her. Once a relative was upset because she didn't have beautiful sarees to wear for a family wedding. She happened to mention this to Bulbul & the next day, Bulbul's driver was at the relatives house laden with sarees from Bulbul's wardrobe that would make her the cynosure at the wedding. Another time, her neighbours servant got his son to the city from his village. However the English medium government school refused admission to the son. Bulbul took up cudgels on their behalf & went to meet the school principal herself. She convinced him that the right to education included people from all strata & no job was menial.
Bulbul loved children. She was blessed with 3, who were her love. Like all moms she was the best mom to them. However, she was also the best aunty to all their friends. She was someone who listened, who helped them make the decisions & then supported their decisions. They knew that she was the only one who would be on their side - no matter what!
Bulbul loved celebrating all festivals. But her favourite was Christmas. Maybe because it wasn't 'religious' for her & there were no stresses associated with it. Or maybe it just gave her another opportunity to gift! She loved the Christmas cheer, the red & green decor, the shiny green tree & most of all Santa. She gave tuitions to kids & every year by the 15th December, she would drag out her Christmas tree & decorate it with zeal. Her cheer was infectious & gradually her family started celebrating Christmas too. Her youngest child would write a note to Santa each year (she is now 30 but hasn't stopped!) & her elder 2 would regale her with stories of Christmas & angels.
Bulbul's pride was was her family & relationships. She was the glue that bound them together. She never hesitated going the extra mile for any relative, even if they were unappreciative. She used Christmas as an occasion to bring in more joy to the family.
Then one year, Bulbul was detected with cancer. Despite a fierce battle, the chances of winning the war looked bleak. By mid December her condition had deteriorated. The family gathered around her providing her with as much comfort & strength that they could muster. Christmas Eve dawned. And suddenly, Bulbul was back in her elements. The family were given clear instructions - the Christmas tree needed to be decorated, gifts had to be bought, Christmas needed to be celebrated! And Christmas carols needed to be sung. Suddenly the mood in the house lifted & she was the cause of everyone's happiness once again. Bulbul didn't know any carol, but she did love the music & the joy of togetherness!
Bulbul didn't make it to the year end. But she did bless each of her children to stay together, to keep the family bound as she had done. She did leave behind a legacy of generosity, of love, of genuine care & concern.
Every year her family's gets together to celebrate Christmas. To remember the lady with a strong will & a soft heart. To remember someone who was such a good child that Santa gave her the greatest gift - that of being in heaven. To remember their angel.
Bulbul was one angel, but our lives are enriched by a number of angels as they weave in & out of our busy social fabric.
Its the time of the year to remember our angels. The people who touch our lives with little gestures of kindness. The people who bring a smile to our faces. The people who warm our hearts.
Let's take out time to write a note/an SMS/ even a whatsapp text to our angels. After all it's Christmas. Time to spread cheer!