Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry X'Mas

I laid on the bed trying hard to shut my eyes and dive into a sound sleep, but there was a chill of excitement and anxiety that was running through my veins and keeping me awake. This was one of those moments when I had to concentrate hard to get some sleep, sounds pretty absurd and contradictory, but that’s how it is. Meanwhile I stretched my hands to sense any unusual objects below or around my pillow, but to my disappointment, there were none. I cannot recollect for how long this continued, but I was soon submerged into deep sleep. It was a typical cold winter night when one is lazy enough to even turn to the other side of the bed and here I was still moving my hands to sense something miraculous. It wasn’t too late before I finally bumped my fingers into a pile around my pillow and it generated a crackling sound.

Alas!!! I leaped out of the bed in no time and called out for every single member of my family. They took their own time to respond and my impatience prompted me to rush to the switchboard and turn on the lights. I yelled “Santa Claus has come!!! Wake up!!!” I rushed my tiny feet towards my sisters’ room breaking their sleep and overhearing their abusing remarks for shattering their virtual dream world. The adrenaline rush was so high, that I wouldn’t have given a second thought before taking a bet with Jesse Owens. I ran back to my room and saw my folks with their swollen eyes and electrocuted hair sticking their faces out of the quilt and jackets and smiling at me. When I turned around, I couldn’t see any of my sisters following the trail and there I went like a humming bird right on to their beds dragging each one of them out to my room. I played the highlight reel again “Santa Claus has come!!! Wake up!!!” By now the marijuana effect had left our house and everyone was in their complete senses and looking at me with an amused expression. Till now I hadn’t even explored the stuff that made me perform this crazy act. Then I pull out the pile of socks and stocking from below my pillow and began to unravel each one of them on the bed like a flee market shopkeeper. It was full with different variety of candies, sweets, chocolates, goodies and next to them were some toys or maybe games that I had been looking for. My family around me was happier to see my expressions than that bunch of stuff I had spread and decorated on my bed. All along I took a break and yelled my slogan again and punched my hands in the air in excitement with a deeper sense of accomplishment. Once everything had been revealed and explored, it was like an hour or so and everyone was trying hard to pull their eyelids up and was frequently yawing. Then they convinced me to pull down the shutter of my store as it was pretty late and that’s when the trivial question struck me “I am so happy [grinning non-stop], but did anyone see from where did Santa Claus come in?” That’s when they all became saints and my sisters took the charge of giving me an explanation that would eventually convince me “No one knows where he enters the home from, but if any of the members is awake, he returns and doesn’t come back”. With this fear in my mind, year after year I would try to sleep ASAP and force everyone around me also to hit the bed for good.

Roll Back (1 month): My middle sister would ask me to write the letter to Santa Claus and list the things I would want from him. Considering myself nothing less than Sherlock Holmes, I would secretly scribble down the letter along with the list and seal it inside a white envelop. I would pull out my small diary from the drawer and write the address of Mr. Claus, given by my middle sister, on the top. I was too young to move out on my own and stick a stamp on it and push it across into a letter box, hence I had to hand it over to my dad. They all would politely and politically drive me into revealing what all I had enlisted in the letter, but I seem to be too loyal to Santa Claus and wouldn’t reveal a word. I had even shared the address of Santa Claus with a few friends in my class and also one of the gals I had a crush on asking them not to reveal it to everyone. I would eagerly wait for the final day and being greedy, I would collect every possible socks in the house and ask my mom to help me wash them a day before. Everyone would go nuts not finding their socks in the shoe rack. My sisters would go insane looking at my craziness but I would be Jesus for that moment forgiving them for all their repulsive behavior or action, for the fruit of this hard work made my eyes gloom and heart blossom J.

Over the years, when I grew up and the day I discovered that it was all a fantasy and not a reality, I became a partial zombie not because it wasn’t Santa who was doing this, but because all this excitement would now come to an end. I was told that my middle sister was the Santa here, who would lay awake all night waiting for me to go off to sleep before she could sneak in and carefully place everything next to my pillow. She would get really annoyed cuz of my habit of reaching out to feel anything around my pillow all the time. It made thing hell for her. The letter I thought Dad would have posted was actually slit open and scrutinized, as some one the things I wrote in my list were dam crazy, anything from a live pup to an automatic rifle. So they had to manipulate and get a little more realistic and begin their shopping for my big day. Later on when I found a few things missing from the list I had sent him across, I would not utter a single word, as my sister had told me “You are never supposed to tell anyone what you have asked Santa to bring you”. Every year on 1st April, I played a prank and fooled my father and then run around laughing “April Fool!!! April Fool!!!” I later realized that he would deliberately fall for my pranks to make me feel happy. One of those days when my sis and Mom were around, he blushed and said “It’s al right son, I have been fooling you for so many years” and he burst out laughing. My Mom winked at him asking him not to give any hints, but I wouldn’t bother about that statement and laugh aloud along with him.

Move Forward (16 yrs, 2007): I follow my usual routine the night before. Come back from work, hit the gym, exhaust myself, return home, take a shower and move out for dinner. I go back home and maybe read something before dozing off. Somewhere around midnight when I am fast asleep, I would be woken up by the text message beep of my cell phone lying next to the pillow. It would be from a family member or friend wishing me Merry Christmas. That’s the only point when I would realize, hey its Christmas and I would sail back down in the memory lane to my early years of celebrating this festival with my family. Now the only reason about X’mas that makes me feel happy, other than it being a festival is the fact that it would be an off from work and if planned proactively, I could manage to take the last week of the year off and go anywhere on a vacation. The next morning I would call my folks and sis and have a good laugh about how crazy and hysterical I used to become that night. For a moment I would want to flush out all the sanity inside my system and get back to being crazy as I used to be, but I am unable to. All these years I have couple of times wondered about the events that must have taken place at my friends home, with whom I shared the hypothetical Santa’s mailing address. If I could recollect their names, I would have definitely put an end to my curiosity and shot them this question inside my head.


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At 2:47 PM, Blogger Abhishek Chopra said...

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