I wish you a merry Christmas! “How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness, how the time has flown! How did it get so late so soon?”
– had said Dr. Seuss!
Right! Before you barely get used to the new digits at the end of the date, it’s time to change it again. That time of the year is back. The Time of the times, the Month of the months!
Look! It’s December, again!!
December is a month of strange opposites! It is the time of the times. The time to do a stock-taking! To check, what we collected, achieved, or won. To see, what all we have let go. What do we take, what do we leave behind, what do we make out of the year that will, sooner than you realize, become a matter of the past.
Contrary to the rush it brings upon us, the hurry to wrap things up, the quick look-backs and the final hours of things, December however arrives with a rather lazy note of existence. For me in this part of the country, December begins rather inconspicuously with a sheet of white across the glass frame of the door, one which goes from transparent to opaque as the calendar counts up. The fog! As if, the moon from the night has left its trail behind. As if, it is as unwilling to leave the sky as we are to leave the bed, the blanket.
As the day progresses, the early rays of the Sun win, however! The Sun marks its victory in bright spots in the air, arresting the grains of dust and reflecting upon them its seven hues in turn, piercing the way through the clouds and the mists. “Mr. Sun, Mr. Sun, shine on me!”
– my little daughter sings to the sunlight, as we hurry her through the daily chores of cleaning up before school and she steals her own final moments, negotiated yet happy, as she catches up with her own wonders that our grown-up, cynic sights are left out of.
However, this time of the year is perhaps a little also about the child inside you, and as much as you are panicked by how fast the hands of the clock has started to rotate, a part of you still wishes, craves, wants that you just hold on to the moment, just hold it a little more, a little more, before you have to step into the reality, the practical life, the series of activities that are lined up for the day. And you steal that last few, remotely possible and steeply negotiated moments, to take a few clumsy, shawl-wrapped steps outside, into the balcony. You do it, because, you cannot help it, you cannot think of it in any other way!
If you would, and if you stop to notice, tiny frizzles, almost of the size of small salt crystals, shine back at you. Sun finally announces its arrival, and with it the fog melts into dewdrops, waiting to soon evaporate back into the air. The soft howsoever bright beams of white from the sky pierce through you, and they bring upon a kind of quiet festivity, a sense of peace flowing inside you, that can only perhaps be coupled up with a hot, steaming selfish cup of coffee. You wrap your palms around it, trying to soak in the warmth like the shoots of plans saps up water from under the soil!
Ah, the smell! Oh, the moment!
On certain lucky days, and they come twice each week, you don’t perhaps have t rush so much; on those days, you can possibly snooze the ticking clock inside your little head and indulge some more, some little more. And then, you can hear
Now, be it for the end of the long lived habit of ceiling fans or air-conditioners that have suddenly gone silent, or purely because Nature has intended so, December indeed sounds different than how the year has sounded so far.
If you really do - as you dare the morning fogs and mists, brave out the blanket, and walk out to some space that are placed closer to the trees, if you hear intently, you’ll hear something different, something very special. Right! It is that time of the year when they visit us! They travel across the seven seas, cross the continents and fly the hills, and they find their winter homes in the trees around us. Of course, as the ecological balance tilts towards the danger mark, with global warming becoming the order of the day, these special little guests have now become more infrequent; and yet, if you really stop to look, to listen – you’d find them there, at least a few. One day, if ever, if we get back to the balance in life and on earth, when we find the heart, the conscience, to wake up to the warning bells, these tiny friends will fly back to us again to claim their share of space in the air, in the sky.
Talking of sounds, if this time of the year I’d be where I’m perhaps meant to be in my heart, the sound of the church bells, the morning masses, the soft jingles and carols fill the air up with a kind of sacredness that transcends much beyond the divides we have made religions into. It is that time of the year that I the Atheist, I the practical and I the eternally undecided – I, yet again, toy in my mind that someday, some day perhaps, I’ll convert. I’ll adopt, I’ll embrace the Sunday 8 a.m. masses just because they’re – even just the thought of them – are so very beautiful! But of course…
While we muse on the music that December brings with itself, we cannot escape, can we, the titter-tatters of picnic gangs or children visiting the zoo, the incessant debates of colleagues and friends who cannot still decide over their Christmas holiday trips? Will it be the deserts or the hills, forests or the seas… who any else that December can ever afford you such luxuries of a cheerful escapade?
Sounds, smells, sights alright, but then, what even is a life if without its pleasure in the tastebuds? The tastes that December brings with it - I’d say - do not quite taste the same on any other month of the year. As much as we may love the choco-lava or the white cream cakes for birthdays, anniversaries and every other celebration throughout the year, December is but the time for baked fruitcakes! The smell of slightly burnt flour, the brown crust filled with dry-fruits and dark chocolate chips, the silver of the aluminum foil that cases the cake, they all make up for the memory, the beauty and the nostalgia of Christmas and New-year eves.
So much for the over-indulgent sensory organs of December! Well, the month has so many more sides to itself, doesn’t it? So much that, if you would, December can even be called the month of Irony! It is the month of regrets and reassurances; it is the time to stock-take and let-go! While it is now time to look back at how it has been, it is time to look forward at the very same time!
For one, it is the time for the annual performance appraisals in offices – and there you go! List up achievements, gist up what you did and shove inside covers what you didn’t, put up a broad smile and… yup! Good luck!!
However, life is not just about our professional performances, indeed! Personally, if you let it, December is perhaps a convenient time for us to stop and think, ponder may be? Ponder upon - what we want, where we go, how far have we come? What went right, and what didn’t, and… are we on the right track? What, if any, would we want to change! What have we got, what do we want?
Oh really, what the damn do we want!?
That other day, my little daughter was wondering aloud what she wants from Santa Claus this year. Of course, her list keeps changing every time we bring this up. As she started again, with fresh new items being added to her list, and I pointing out to her that she already has most of what she is asking for, walking her to her toy cupboard, her book-shelf, her clothes wardrobe. Remote control planes to princess stories, lego sets to craft boxes, some thirty four species of animals (unicorns to sea-horses, penguin families in igloos to porcupines to hippos, I kid you not!). I send her back to make a new list, hoping I can pass whatever I want for her in the name of what she ever wanted. But I told you, December is a month of irony, did I not? Well, here’s what happens instead… Fed up with me, she now bulldozes me back with a question:“Mum, okay, you tell me, what you want from Santa Claus?”
I cannot make an immediate reply to her. I stop!
To be honest, I am still searching for an appropriate answer to it. Really, what is that one thing that would make me happy, that would make me ask for no more, nothing else, at least for one good year? It’s strange how these simple questions became so complicated, intimidating, haunting if I may, and I didn’t even notice it did, as I became so busy growing up.!
Really, I mean it! I have
been wondering about what to ask from Santa Claus.
No, of course it doesn’t matter that I now know that Santa Claus really doesn’t come down the water pipe in the middle of the night and deliver me a wrapped box of surprise. For me, it is important to understand if I know, myself, that one thing that can make me happy, happy as a child.
Why, it’s been always so easy for us to draw up our list of New Year resolutions! Joining the gym, cutting the flab, saving money, making trips, going home for Diwali – you name it! Why is it, then, so difficult for me, for us, to think of that one thing that can make us happy, happy as a child?
know - what it will be, for you?
I urge you!
This year - let us not break our little heads over New Year resolutions in terms of diets, money, and material possessions. Instead, let us find out the answer to this simple question – what is that one thing that will make us happy, happy as a child?
Find your answer, and make yourself a gift this 25th. Become your own Santa, search out your own secret that you lost on your way, wrap it up, and gift yourself a happy day this Christmas – would you?
I leave you with this challenge today! And of course, a merry Christmas to all!!