In the earlier post, I mentioned about how Christmas is important to me. There was a twist in the tale though. On 22nd, I was informed that I should accompany my sister to Bangalore for a training. At first, it sounded like a good option. But gradually, I realised that I will have nothing to do in Bangalore, all my Cochin based Bang settled friends will be coming home for vacation and my sister will have classes all day. Even then, it’s just Bangalore! I could do something, right?
We reached on 24th morning. It was Christmas eve. My sister left for her classes. We got accommodation in the college guest house which looked like a deserted, haunted place. The windows faced an empty basketball court and the all the rooms in the floor were locked except ours.
I spent half the day doing this & that abd after lunch, decided to take a look around the area. It looked nothing like the city. Well, the city is 20kms away. This was one of the rural areas of Bangalore. With time I realised that even some of the residents haven’t heard of the place much. Which also meant that I was far far away from them. My hopes were coming down. I couldn’t think of spending 6 days like this.
I had brought two books and a laptop. It wouldn’t be too bad. Besides, my sister had told me that we could get wifi here. It was still okay. With wifi, books & my blog, I wouldn’t have a problem! I slept during the rest of the afternoon until my sister came back.
“They are asking us to shift to the next block in a room with another girl. We are the only occupants in this entire building. If we want to, we could stay here.”
I didn’t want to share a room. But, it wasn’t safe inside a deserted building. Specially when the room didn’t have an attached bathroom. So we decided to shift. We were taken to the said room and suddenly, it felt better. This room seemed more lively and there were people around. We decided to go out for a walk.
The girl whose room we were sharing had asked me, “Do you celebrate Christmas?”
I said we do.
“There are a lot of Christians in Kerala and Goa right?”
“Yes there are. Do you celebrate?”
“No. We don’t”
I knew the answer already. That is why I did not tell her that not only the Christians, but all of us celebrated. I wanted to tell her how beautiful it is. But I knew that she wouldn’t understand. I’d just be giving her some boring lectures. So I didn’t pursue the conversation.
I settled in the cot next to the window and slept early. I will wake up to Christmas the next day. Christmas with no lights and sound. I missed my Christmas tree.
The streets of Cochin dance with rice lights. All the buildings are decorated like brides. You don’t know where to look these days. Year after year, the decorations keep increasing. The streets look all the more beautiful after the rains. The raindrops shimmer around the lights, the cool breeze tickles your ear and you smell Christmas in the air. Every 10 feet presents you with tiny shops that sell stars. Stars in the shape of stars, in the shape of balls and some in the shape of supernova – pretty much an exploded look. There are also a wide variety of christmas trees for sale – green, gold, silver, green with whites for snow that appear and disappear alternatively.
By 20th of December, almost every commercial building and many of the houses have stars hung before them. Santa Clauses hired by huge companies dance to the tune of drums and attract customers. Some have statues of Santa Claus built. You could also see the trees beautifully decorated outside most of the buildings. Some homes simply decorate a huge plant or a random tree. I find that amusing. I like how they find the same happiness without purchasing a Christmas tree. I used to do that. 🙂
I woke up today, 25th December in Bangalore and forgot that it was Christmas. When I remembered, there was no one to wish. I called up my mother and wished her. I have plans for tomorrow. But today, will be just another day. I had breakfast, received so many wishes and replied to them all. I felt like the room was beginning to stink. Since it was cold, we didn’t bother to open the windows. I cleaned up the room and opened the windows.
I opened the next.
There were my Christmas lights.
If I were to forget that I was in Bangalore, I’d definitely have thought that this is Kerala. The windows faced few trees of which one had yellow-pink flowers blossoming all over. The sunlight was filtering through the leaves and I could listen to the birds chirping. I switched off all the lights and watched as the window swallowed the entire sunlight.
I didn’t have any christmas trees. I didn’t have the rice lights or decorations. I couldn’t listen to the carols. But it was still okay.
I had many trees with the sunlight adorning them so beautifully. I heard the birds chirping and suddenly I felt like I was close to home. This isn’t what christmas looks like. But it sure looks like home. 🙂 I just had to open the windows.
Anoop tagged me for the #itsStillOkay challenge and this is my post for the same. I’m defying the rules since I’m posting from my phone. Please feel free to take up the challenge on the topic, It’s still okay.
Can you see the snowfall on my blog? Well, It is Christmas time! Since my childhood I have been waiting for Santa. I always had a list of things I had wanted – Barbie dolls, cooking sets, pretty frocks, best friends, toys, huge teddy bears. My list changed as I grew – Harry Potter Box set and merchandise, long tours, peep toes & stilettos, Capris & Jeggings and what nots! I got a few fulfilled, while most of them went unfulfilled either because we didn’t have that kind of money or my desires just changed. However, Santa never came.
Image courtesy: Diwalihdwallpaper.com
But today, this post is about that one
desire necessity that millions of children are deprived of – Food! At the age I was craving for barbie dolls, they are waiting with an empty stomach for a morsel of food. For this one morsel of food, they do all kind of jobs which deprive them of education. While all of us aspire to be doctors and engineers, they dream of earning enough for a day’s fill. Sometimes, they are the sole breadwinners for their family. And so, a morsel of food is all they dream of. As someone said, “God keeps giving to those who already have. The poor remains poor.”
Have you heard of Akshaya Patra? In Mahabharata, this was the vessel given to Yudhishtira by Lord Surya. The vessel gave unlimited supply of food to them until draupadi ate from it. Whence, food supply would stop for the day. Akshaya Patra foundation was formed in the year 2000 with the same concept in mind. What started with feeding 1500 children in 2000, it reaches out to 1,402,393 children in 23 locations across 10 states of India, providing them with freshly cooked meal on all school days. Currently, they implement the mid-day meal programme in 10,661 schools of the country, with plans to increase that number to hundreds more.
Do you know or have you wondered about the possible jobs a poverty ridden child does on an average? This is Akshaya Patra’s “The Possibilities”. It is not the story of one child. But millions of children across the country. There are many more stories which haven’t been depicted here. Stories that are grotesque.
Many of us want to o something for a social cause. We just don’t know where to start. We can start here. By eliminating the hunger of one child, by bringing a smile on a child’s face. Here are some things we can do:
- If you have gone through Akshayapatra’s site, you would have seen that it takes only Rs. 750 to feed a child for an entire year. Yes! I was shocked at first. If you believe that one good deed leads to another, feed a child every year. After 15 years, your good deed would have grown up and I’m sure he/she would pass on the good deed to another. 🙂 Want to begin a good deed? Begin Here.
- We can organise events to support the noble cause of ending child hunger. Is riding your passion? Many such passionate bike riders organised and participated in a motorcycle rally in Bangalore to spread awareness on ending child hunger and providing education to children. Here are the details. Similarly there were bloggers’ and photographers’ meet, exhibitions etc. Why not have one in our city?
- We can also make payments through cheque/DD. If you’re a resident in Bangalore, Kolkata or Hyderabad, they will come to your residence and pick up the donation. 🙂
- Donating now can be done through your mobile. It is easy. Click HERE to know the details.
- If you have any suggestions as to how to eliminate classroom hunger, write to Akshayapatra at firstname.lastname@example.org
Psst! Did I tell you? 100 % Tax Exemption on donations over Rs. 500 under IT Sec 35AC and 80G. There! You can also claim some tax exemption through these donations.
I don’t have to stress on what hunger is. Almost all of us must have felt it at least once in our lifetime. Imagine a child staying hungry for days together. Imagine millions of children like that? I have around 800 facebook friends. If at least 10 of them donate Rs. 750 each, 10 children will be fed this year. Do it every year. You don’t lose anything. But you give a life!
Share this message and stress this fact in your message. If each of you have 1000 friends and at least 10 of each of your friends donate, how many hundreds of children are we feeding in total?
I believed in Santa. I still believe in Santa. Not that he came down the chimney and filled the stockings. But because, this year I am the Santa Claus for a child.
Merry Christmas Folks! Do let me know if you feed a child after reading this. 🙂
PS – This is my 100th post and I am glad that the post was a worthy one. 🙂 🙂 🙂
By chance, I was just outdoors when our apartment’s ‘president’ was walking down with a huge star in hand and few deco-things. As I followed her, I saw the tiny Christmas tree placed on the sunshade in par with the first floor. It was Christmas again!
This was my favorite festival, for the city turns happy by the end of November. The crowded streets, the Christmas shopping, the santa claus and stars in front of every shop, the celebration, the joy, and something more! I can’t describe the feeling I get as November wanes to December. It’s simply The joy of Christmas.
A couple of years back, December was tiresome since it used to be our Sports meet season at college. The major and hectic practices used to go on then. Yet, we managed to find time to keep up with the Chris-mom Chris-child game every year if not with our studies ;). The little pranks that were in store for the month brought with them the joy of the season.
A few more years back in school, Christmas was the day for wearing ‘colour dresses’, taking snaps, playing Christmas-friend in groups, giving and getting lots of gifts which also showed how many friends you had and your popularity. Most importantly, it was the time for holidays.
Teenage had made life a bit sophisticated, egoistic, self-conscious, trend-conscious and many more adjectives could be added. Too many for that matter. What I cherish the most was the Christmas years before that. Maybe when I was in my Kindergarten.
Mom and Dad used to buy me a pretty frock. I wasn’t conscious at all then about anything in life- Dress was the last thing that bothered me. Ofcourse! The thought of wearing a color dress to school was exciting. The night before celebrations, I’d spread the frock over the bed neatly, keep all the accessories ready and would hardly get any sleep thinking about the next day. I used to take
occasional peeks endearing looks at my frock! 😉
At school, teachers would appreciate our dresses, we would play games- Biting the bun, Catch the tail were a few from the many. We would decorate the classroom, the Christmas tree and then there would be a class photo with the teacher in the center while all of us would be struggling to be the ones near her 🙂 Santa Claus would come and the noisy class would all of a sudden become silent which would end in a new wave of laughter, noise, happiness and ofcourse jingle bells! Sure enough, as the Santa leaves the class, every tiny hand will be holding a gift and few toffees. This made our Christmas Merry!
Two days ago, as I climbed up the sunshade and began decorating the tree, I found that little child in me enjoying the feel of every shiny ball she hung on the tree, the look of every little stars and the illuminations around the tree. My little four-year-old neighbor was watching me from the ground floor. I could see the smile in his face and the child in me experienced the joy he experienced.
If we had asked him why he was smiling, he would simply say that the decorations, the shiny balls and the beautiful stars made him smile. But no one can ever put into words the reason for that smile. It’s the joy of christmas!
At night I showed mom the christmas tree and said for an nth time, “Mom! That is the Christmas tree I decorated today. How is it?” And my mom answered for an nth time, “It’s beautiful!” And, lo and behold! The joy of Christmas! I smiled 🙂
Feel it! Smile when you see the stars in front of every home. Smile looking at the Christmas trees. And smile at the Santa Claus and experience the joy of Christmas.
MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!:)