Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas

Christmas always brings back memories of home with it. Christmas was never exactly 'celebrated' at my home, but there was a definite feel of festival time. For one thing, it came about midway through our month long winter vacations in Allahabad. Anybody who has spent a winter in North India knows that a holiday is nothing short of a festival, especially if you have to cycle to school at seven in the morning on working days. Then usually we were at Hooghly during this time, or at Salt Lake with my maternal relatives. That also meant a lot of enjoyment.

Sometimes we chose this day (or another day in the same week, what's in a date?) for a picnic. If in Salt Lake, the likely destinations would be the Alipore zoo or the Jheel Meel. The Jheel Meel had not become the 'Nicco Park' yet and so it was not crowded all the time. If in Hooghly, the likely destinations were the Bandel Church and Imambara. In some of the years my great-uncle would visit us from Delhi with his family. He made elaborate plans like hiring and entire ferry for our extended joint family and going for a cruise up the Hooghly River. The kind of fun that we had on these trips is really indescribable.

As we grew older and our school studies became much more important, I spent quite a few Christmases in Allahabad. Christmas in Allahabad meant more or less staying indoors as the dense fog gave it a feel of a white Christmas. If the weather was sunny we would go out in the afternoon, maybe to a park, or to see the Kumbh Mela preparations if it was the Mela year. My mother would probably bake a cake just for the fun of calling it a Christmas cake. She bakes cakes from time to time anyway.

One thing without which my Christmas would never be complete is the voice of Jim Reeves. Just as it was my job to fix up the radio before Durga Puja so that we could listen to Mahalaya, similarly it was my job to fix up our old Philips record player so that we could listen to the LP "Twelve Songs of Christmas" by Jim Reeves. During my engineering days in Kolkata, I would spend the evenings with the FM radio in hope of catching "Dear Senor Santa Claus" or "A Merry Christmas Polka" in Jim Reeve's booming baritone.

The record player has outlived its time. But last year I hunted out a CD collection of Jim Reeves' Christmas songs, so I won't have to live without those songs. And now, as I type this blog post in office, those songs are playing in my headphones.

This Christmas is going to be a bit boring probably, with most of my friends having left for their homes. I don't have any plans for the next three days. My boss wanted me to come and work here, but I lied that I'm going to Bangalore for three days. I worked on the Rakhi holiday, I worked on Dussehra/ Gandhi Jayanti. At least I'm not going to work on Christmas. Half the fun of Christmas, that is the cold weather, is not available here in Hyderabad. I'm not letting go of the other half, the holiday, so easily.

I wish my readers a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy your holidays!


  1. Aj sakale khabore Bandel church dekhte dekhte amra je je bishay niye alochana korechhi, tar beshir bhagtai sondhe bela tomar blog khule dekhlam. Bhari ascharjo lagleo etai bodh hay swabhabik, karon, amader dujaner origin ek. Ami t.v.te Reev's er carrol sunte sunte bolchhilam,-ei gangulo amader barite ajker dine bajto. Jene khub khusi holam je tumi or ganer c.d. jogar korechho, amar chai.Amader sabuj dwiper ekta chhobi dilena kano? Gangabakkhe ki bishal group! Smriti ki sudhui bedona? Na. barong, modhur smriti satata sukher.

  2. @pisimoni: CD Jakhon porerbar dekha habe takhon peye jabe. Ami tomay je Manna dey'r CD ta kore diyechhilam seta amar ekbar chai.
    Sobuj Dwiper smriti nischoi sukher, kintu tar photogulo amar kachhe ektao scan kora nei. Tai lagate parini.

  3. Hi Sugata,
    Merry Christmas!

    I enjoyed the description about holidays in Allahabad:-)