The sun on this cold Christmas Eve in Shillong is a balm, an antidote otherwise for the fury of winter's onslaught this year. Somehow the carols are missing. But I take a peek into the past.
Christmas has associations, frost in the mornings, pine trees as green as ever, misty hills and the chiming of church bells- and of course those mellifluous voices singing carols. The winter and its iciness would rejuvenate in the days preceding every Christmas season, with golden oranges, lined on the streets, bathing in morning's sunshine. Christmas trees would lie in the Fire Brigage field, with the sun awash, bathing their bodies in a sun soaked field. Even when the sun played truant, the fact that Christmas was near, was something we were not oblivious to. Today of course shops are decorated with lights, in fact with every festival, there are decorations, but there is something plastic in it. The real pleasure is to sing with the bells, hear ' voices ' of hills in crescendo, look at the gentle movement of trees- the hills are alive.
This winter has been cold in a most importunate manner. But once the sun bathes us, then Christmas seems restored, and the supine hills come alive to the movement of people- rushed up to make purchases. Oranges symbolize a winter, a Christmas that will bring lights and resonate with warmth of festivity.
Every winter presages Christmas, which merges with the New Year, with crackers to herald the New Year, and church bells to give gentle reminder that at once there is something Holy in this festival. Greeting cards, flash, and now with the computers, they flash on screens. But remembrances of an '' old Christmas card '' to borrow words from a Jim Reeves song, is to remember the continuity of Christmas. Unlike most festivals, it comes and goes, and then builds up to New Year festivities.
Here in Shillong community feasts continue for two to three days, and on Christmas day the young and the old walk to the churches nicely dressed. There is freshness in the air, the fellow feeling of hapiness.
As a child, I pleaded with my mother to decorate just that one Christmas tree, to light dreams so that I could see Santa arrive, armed with gifts on the legendary Rudolf. And I sang that song about '' Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer''.
Today as the sun grows unabated in its strength, and as the carols can be heard, over music systems I take a dip into the past- to gather the vestiges of one more meaningful Christmas. Merry Christmas!
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Ananya S Guha
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