December 22, 2012

Christmas stars are few

Will the night temperature hold at 22 degrees or will this stifling heat of the day in December wipe out the chill that we have been enjoying for some weeks now?

My December watch has been on the temperature. And on the night skies.

I can sense that the mild wintery season is slipping even though margazhi is only into its second week.

The skies though are clear and a sight to behold - a better visual treat if you were to look up as you drive from the Royapuram side of our city, keep to the beach road and head south.

One night this past week we slowed down on San Thome High Road, looking for the trademark string of small paper-made stars that are strung right across the campus of St. Bede's School in this area.

Christmas stars are a rarity these days. And many of those that go up, more by force of habit hang in isolation.

As we went down the neighbourhood, we were greeted by another long string of stars, lit up and neatly hung across the open campus of a CSI church.

At the midnight hour, these looked delightful though they competed for attention from a 'running' glow-sign quoting Saint Luke about 'redemption drawing near.'

Days earlier I had walked into the store at a church, a shrine which attracts thousands of people on weekends, Hindus and Christians from all over.

I did not have a shopping list nor did I intend to shop here. Perhaps a single paper star that hung on the doorway had got my attention and curiosity drew me in.

In a corner between shelves of religious magazines, statues and rosaries and medals I chanced on crib sets made from plastic and bamboo, with a Rs.200 price tag on each.

They make things easy for all those who wish to set up a crib at Christmastime. Buy the shell, buy the accessories and buy a box of statues, assemble them and lo, a crib would be ready in ten minutes.

The walkabout took me to the Decembers when we used to germinate mustard seeds in mud packs so that we could set up 'fields' around the crib!

Times have changed. But kids still believe in Santa Claus and Christmas gifts. Keep the innocence.

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