Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas is coming!

By Shevlin Sebastian

When Parimal Paul, the English teacher at Rajagiri Public School, Kochi, sees a Christmas star hanging in front of a house, she feels a pang of sadness. She is reminded of her late father, Advocate Joseph Katticaran, who passed away five years ago. "When I was a child, I would always help my father to hang up the stars," she says. "For a daughter, a father is always a hero and I dearly miss him."

Parimal's most memorable Christmas was when instead of making her mother make the food at home, her father brought food from Hotel International. “There were duck, rabbit, and chicken,” she says. “It was a wonderful spread.”

She also remembers going to midnight mass at the St. Mary’s Basilica with her family. “A family that celebrates festivals together is a happy family,” she says. After returning home, they would have chicken and vattayappan.

For Parimal, Christmas means Jesus Christ’s birth, cakes, Santa Claus, carols, and cookies. “Christmas always evokes a sense of nostalgia in me,” she says. “Frequently, I remember events from my childhood.”

For this year’s Christmas, Parimal is having a low-key celebration. “My daughter, Rosita, is having her Class 12 examinations and she is studying very hard,” she says. Nevertheless, she will be making a cake, chocolate, instead of the usual plum, because that is what she enjoys making. Parimal is also planning to do a fish bake. “After 25 days of fasting we will all be yearning for some non-vegetarian food,” she says, “My brothers and sisters will be coming with their families.”

For Mary George, her most memorable Christmas was when she went to Bangalore last year and spent the season with her uncle, Deepak, and his family. “I met my cousin, Ian, for the first time,” she says. “He was only five months old and was so cute.”

Her uncle took her to the big shopping malls like Central and Mantri. “There was such a large crowd,” she says.

On Christmas Day, there were gifts placed under the tree. “I got a board game, Word Scrabble, and I still play it,” she says.

Asked whether Santa Claus had brought the gifts down the chimney and placed it during the night of December 24, Mary laughs and says, “Uncle, could you point out to me where is the chimney? I am 10 years old, not two. It is a fairy tale.”

On what the word Christmas evokes in her, Mary says, “Christmas tree, gifts, singing, and cards.”

On December 25, she plans to meet up with friends and cousins and play badminton and party games. “But the bad news for me is that as soon as school re-opens, I have examinations,” she says. “So I will have to find some time to do my studies.”

For Mary’s brother, Robert, 8, Christmas means holidays. “I don’t have to go to school,” he says. “Isn’t that wonderful? I also think about the baby Jesus.”

(The New Indian Express, Kochi)