Christmas Nostalgia

The smell of freshly baked cakes in the nipping air…..the sound of pealing bells…..the merry chatter of playing kids….these are all part of the special memories of Christmas.Christmas Cake

The word ‘Christmas’ is synonymous with happiness, holidays and cakes.

ExamsIn school, teachers would be in a hurry to finish off the portions for the Christmas exams, so that the kids don’t say that the questions were out of syllabus. Half-Yearly exams were conducted in the third week of December and we kids would be in a frenzy to be done with them. Because, after that would begin one of the most glorious holidays of the year, the 10-day Christmas vacations 🙂

At home, Mom would be busy finishing off the baking and cooking, while we  clamoured to get a Christmas Star hung in front of the house, and start work on the Crib and Tree.Xmas Crib

Another highlight of Christmas was the arrival of cousins and the amount of time we spent exploring the paddy fields, discovering hitherto unknown nooks and niches. Since we live in God’s Own Country, we don’t have any snow (maybe God prefers tropical climates like we have here). However, being December, the weather is slightly colder during the evenings and early mornings.

Xmas Star

These are memories from 15 years ago. For various reasons, it has been at least 6 years since I made a Crib or decorated a Xmas tree from scratch. Now that Baby has arrived in our midst, I would love to make a magical Christmas for him next year, when he is one year old. Till then, I will have to make do with borrowed Christmases at my relatives’ homes.

Finding a Maid

BabyWe have a maid to care for Baby when we are off at work. The Maid is a funny being – she comes from a family of 10 – a band of 4 sisters and 6 brothers. She is a spinster and believes that all her brothers’ wives are devils in disguise….I’d rather not go into the reasons here. Her Dad is a drunkard (in her view) and her Mom has been a suffering soul in the midst of the fights between her daughters-in-law and her Significant Other’s drunken antics.

Recently, she got the idea that she was possessed being followed about by a Servantghost. The reason for this conclusion – she caught the scent of something that none of us seemed to notice and saw a shadow when she was alone :-). Actually the shadow was that of a curtain fluttering about in breeze.

Being the most superstitious creature I have ever known, she begged off work for 2 days to consult a Jyothish, i.e. an astrologer. The Jyothish even managed to identify the ghost for her – it was the ghost of her sister’s dead friend (I wonder how he did that – maybe he can google up Ghost locations!). And he declared that she had to wear a locket containing a few Scripture verses. Wonder of wonders, the Friend Ghost stopped bothering her 🙂 Anyway, that goes to prove the power of a subtle suggestion from the right quarter.

GhostShe takes care of Baby very well….however a few of her quirks are really unbearable. She keeps abusing her relatives to anyone willing to listen to her, and the language used is abominable. I don’t think I would hear stronger language even from  street fighters. I really wouldn’t like Baby to grow up hearing such language.

And now and then, she goes all dumb ( as in, does not speak to anyone) and her face looks as though a nest of wasps has attacked it (well, you get the picture). And we have no clue what we did to deserve it 🙂

And to top it all off, she keeps mumbling and grumbling to herself half the time.

So tell me folks, what should I do? Do I let her continue, or should I look for someone new?

My Oldest Book and its Memories

The title of this post is rather misleading…because my oldest book is certainly not my favourite. That honour goes to the wonderful book “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery.

One fine Friday morning thirteen years ago, while I was browsing through the Library of my Sunday School (I was in Kuwait at the time, which may explain why Sunday school needed to be attended on a Friday), I stumbled upon a  rather forlorn-looking book.

Anne of Green Gables The book had the picture of a young girl waiting on the steps with a carpet bag in hand. At first glance, it seemed to me that the book was a prosy sort, one that preached at you, with old-English words. Back then, I had a horror of books like Emma and Pride and Prejudice, which for some reason, always seemed to be the embodiment of a strict teacher to me. When I peered inside the book, it was all yellowing and musty with tiny letters like ants. You know the kind… it seemed as if it has sat there for years and years.

I could take my pick of any two books at the library as my reading material for the week. I had already taken my pick of an Archie comic and since I could not find anything better that this one, I decided to take Anne of Green Gables as well.

Back home, I polished off the Archie comic in a cinch. Then I had ‘Anne of Green Gables’ to look forward to…something I did not relish. Hesitantly, I opened the book….and started to read….and was hooked. In The book opened a window to Avonlea and its residents, their pet prejudices and generally, about the busybodies of a little village, in the first chapter.

Chapter 2, enter Anne. From here onwards the book became un-putdownable.  I actually spent the entire night devouring the book (in spite of being in Class X and preparing for my Board exams). The scene where I burst out laughing was when Anne crashed her slate on Gilbert’s head for calling her ‘carrot-top’. Around 3am, I heard my Dad coming out of his room. If he were to see the light in my room at 3 in the morning, that would have been it for me. With great sorrow, I decided to go to sleep then.Anne of Green Gables Set

Ever since, I have been an ardent fan of Anne Shirley and have publicised the book to all in my friends’ circle.

Anyway, to make a long story short, from then onwards I kept browsing book stores and garage sales for Anne of Green Gables – to make it my own. Then, 10 years ago, I found it at a roadside sale. Now it adorns by bedside bookshelf and is my comfort read, despite being a mature 27-year-old with a baby.

I also found the sequels to the book at the same sale – Anne of Avonlea, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne of the Island, Anne’s House of Dreams, and Anne of Ingleside. Everyone of these books is as lovable as the very first taste I had of Anne Shirley, the temperamental red-head.
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