Sunday, December 20, 2009

The St.John's Christmas

Dec 1993: Its the school annual Christmas celebration, I am dressed as an angel - 2 white saris borrowed from my Christian neighbour wrapped around me in some weird (apparently angelic) way, amma had already grumbled about seeing me in a white costume without a bindi (If you don't understand why ? see PS). I also have 2 wings attached to me made from cardboard and having numerous white paper strips glued to it, tied and fastened with numerous safety pins to my back and sari (paavam, enna nambi sari kudutha pakka athu aunty). I also have a silver crown, a silver wand with a silver star stuck to it and smelling of fevicol !

Two angels were to hover around baby Jesus while the school choir sang Christmas carols and a star descended from the school mottamadi (terrace) on a long cable towards our podium.

The celebration went on well. The fun came after - the silver crown was stuck in my curly hair and with all its spokes twined with my curls ! My teachers tried in vain to get it out and finally gave up since there were eager to go home. So there I was walking home in a navy blue skirt, white shirt and a silver crown !! Thanks to amma's patience and lots of coconut oil, the thingy finally came out.

PS: In Hinduism, widows generally wear (or wore, not anymore) white saris and had no bindi.

Dec 1994: The teachers prudently decided not to make me an angel this time :D (although I am always one....neenga sollalana naane sollika vendiyadhu dhan)! Instead, they made me Mother Mary much to amma's relief since this time I had white saris but a blue scarf wrapped around my head. My hair thanked me :)

Dec 1995: It was Hindi period, we had Hindi poetry and I had forgotten my textbook. I knew for sure my Hindi teacher, who I never liked since he was too strict, was going to write in my handbook in the ''Notes to parents'' section and until then, I had had a clean record. I was looking for some way out when I heard that they were conducting auditions for the school choir since we had a new music master to lead the choir. Off I went to the auditions although I had no intentions whatsoever of joining the choir and I was selected! Since I liked many of the students in the choir (both juniors and seniors), and I always liked carols, I decided to stay.

The music master had studied in London and he always gave himself airs about his English. It was at this time that I became the English club secretary in the school. When he found that out, he wanted to mess with me and so challenged me to explain the meaning of 2 words he chose. First one was ''rendezvous'' and I got off easy since we had learnt that word and its pronunciation only the previous week (I love saying rohn-de-voo :D). He was slightly taken aback and gave the second word some more thought and I was thinking...sethen....! Second word was ''melancholy'', when he said that I almost laughed while I explained the meaning. He was so impressed that since then I became one of his favorite students. But only I know the truth that I had laughed because I had learnt that word from ''Know your english'' (A section in Hindu every tuesday) that very morning :D !

Rehearsing for Christmas celebration was always extra fun because we could choose to rehearse at any time suitable and we would always choose to skip periods where we knew we would get into trouble :D !

Dec 1996: We had a Christmas skit - My children die in a bomb blast and my husband is affected with leprosy and when I finally pray to the Lord, my husband is miraculously cured, lo ! a Christmas miracle (According to the school skit records, I had 7 husbands and 5 kids :D). Photo shows my ''husband'' thanking the lord after being cured.

Dec 1997: For a change, we decided to have an easter celebration and obviously that meant acting the Crucifixion of Christ. I once again played Mother Mary but this time the role meant more than staring and smiling at a baby in a barn. I had to cry all along and play the emotional mother since it was my son being crucified (while making sure my costume stays in place and that I don't trip on the cross that the guy playing my son was carrying and walking in front of me).

We had all rehearsed really well and on the D-day, it poured and rained and poured. We were dressed and ready to go but there were not even a handful in the audience. So the celebration was postponed and it rained again that day. It was not heavy, so we performed in the rain (although there was a stage, we were getting wet) and instead of fake tears, I had rain drops !

Dec 1998: There was a Christmas tree competition where the class producing the best decorated tree would win a prize. Now, you should know that there are no ''christmas trees'' in India or at least in South India, in singara Chennai. So we brought a tree that resembled one and after hours of struggle, we finally made it stand still and decorated it. We turn around, find that our juniors had purchased a plastic christmas tree with a stand and they finished decorating it in less than an hour and obviously the artificial one always looks better (enakku vayetherichal...grrr...) and pullayar amma appava suthi pazham win panna kadai ayiduthu (Non-tamil readers: Juniors won)

Yeah, every year has its own Christmas story......

And all these Christmas celebrations will have our correspondent's address. If it was sunny, he said ''God has blessed has with a beautiful day'' and if it rained he said ''God has blessed us with rain''....the key is always the blessing....we used to almost mouth his address with him :D !

Just in: Amma says that this year there is going to be a live webcast of the St.John's Christmas celebration, I am just waiting for the link....

College: I had a Christian roommate and her mom made the most delicious rose cookies (thats what they were called) and she always used to bring a few especially for me even if we had other roommates fighting for it :D ! I have really fond memories of seeing the well-made crib in their house every Christmas and me getting her decorations for it (I told you right, a gift should match the occasion and be useful ?!)

Truthfully, I have celebrated Christmas with more enthu in India than in Europe. Christmas celebration in Germany, especially in cities, is very subdued. The few indications are the Christmas trees, Christmas markets, Christmas work parties and thousands of people shopping ! Last year, I was in Malta for Christmas and it warmed my heart to see the whole place festively decorated, beautiful cribs everywhere and carols even in restaurants - that's really how Christmas should be.....the night can be silent but the season should be festive, really festive....

Merry Christmas everyone !

(Politically correct greeting) Happy Holidays !

If you think this is too soon then you should know that most European offices will go into slumber mode starting today and will wake up only on 10th Jan.
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