Comes a sudden realization, especially for us fortunate plebeians in Kolkata. Why fortunate? Because here we are planning Christmas parties with friends and who gets to pick up the booze, who orders food and so on while an entire discourse lies neglected. Here we are planning our lounges, nightspots and watering holes for a truly merry Christmas while there are raw edges to our beautifully decked up Park Street that we can’t see. Here we are driving past the charmingly foggy and wintry streets of our city, anxiously craving that Christmas holiday while there are fires being put out everywhere while ours burn bright.
Feeling confused? Enough horseplay let’s plunge right into the heart of the matter –
Christmas is a many layered day. Without going into its religious importance, let us look at some universalities surrounding this day. For many Bengalis across the city, this day has just been Boro Din for years. A day where cinema theatres, the zoo, restaurants, Birla Planetarium and all other attractions report record crowds. A day where evening parties are hard to resist and hard on the wallet (all merrily of course!).
Yet, Christmas does have some universalities of its own, things that are like moles just beneath our eyes. Neither do we see them but they run the risk of growing and obscuring our vision completely.
Kolkata is the biggest theatre of successes and failures where unfortunate, deprived, homeless, miserable and wronged citizens far outnumber those of us who have warm beds to sleep in and privilege enough to party on this day. Let us not neglect one essential Christmas tradition:
GIVING – Giving need not always be a huge affair. We can always seek out people who need clothes, bedding, books, daily essentials and perhaps even some Christmas cake. Have a slum near your locality? Go distribute a few candles and cakes (even chocolates would do). Gift that old shopkeeper some old clothes or a few extra blankets. Dispatch your old books and toys to the children of your domestic help or driver. If possible, buy an essential item for people you know are having a hard time. Give. Contribute. In as small a way as possible but do not neglect this essential aspect to Christmas.
Christmas also means appreciating our families and near and dear ones. It means taking some time to slow down and thank God (no religious classification here) for all that He / She has given us (most importantly our family and friends). Take time out for those who matter even if it means being late to a whirlwind party or a couple of drinks less.
In our fast-paced lives, we’re going on a merry go-round which leaves no time for anything else but our own little selfishly manifested and dressed up desires. Indulge these definitely but don’t forget, indulgence minus responsibility may take away speed breakers at every turn!