After burning my fingers to bring out something better, I was walking alone in the lonely streets lightened by the evening sun. It is always a different feeling when you listen to your breathing, coordinating with the slowly moving winter breeze and the sun setting at the distant horizon. Though you are mentally at peace, there is something you feel deep inside your soul. It says something, not to you but to the fields with the green paddy around, to the golden light that falls on them, to the wind that makes you feel its touch, to the birds flying back to their nests and to their dark silhouettes casted by the twilight. You are silent when your heart speaks and you just listen to its conversations. It was strange that I noticed the big Christmas trees in my neighbourhood now, when the festive season has arrived. I guessed where my eyes were during the rest of the year. I might have noticed them but just enough to ignore later. So Christmas was near.
The evening street has just a few labours busy in constructing new houses, two or three housewives watering the saplings in their kitchen gardens and of course, children playing along the road in the vacant plots among the happy bushes who live there in peace. It is always a blissful sensation when you see children playing and shouting while having fun in ecstasy. You are happy and always wish if you could be one of them now, because children have innocent hearts, unaware of the worldly pleasures and troubles, away from jealousy and pain and because you know you were like them once. Yesterday, I heard them calling me. I smiled at them while walking straight to my destination. When I returned, they ran at their full speeds to catch me. I stopped when I saw them coming and this brought a big smile on my face. They all were shouting “Didi, please sign kar do”. Then I noticed that every one of them had a copy and pen in their hands. They needed my signature. I felt like a star. Suddenly a little girl said “Didi, aish karo, aapka autograph le rahe hain sab”. Smart kids, the 21st century’s rocking generation! Trying to follow the so-called adult scenario of looking into the things deeply before acting on them, I asked why on the earth was I getting so much attention. One of the smart boys said “It’s from the school didi, for Christmas. We need to show that we have collected so many blessings”. Nice way boy. Why don’t I have such ideas? I signed all of their notebooks and to my surprise I was the 220th person to do so. So they have already collected many blessings. I thought if I would have asked for autographs now I would have just one and that too mine! After making them happy I was on my way when I saw two shy girls standing at the corner of another street, again with copies in their hands. I smiled and waited if I will be experiencing a starry welcome again or not. I guessed right and I was approached by those sweet girls asking me to sign their copies. This time I was the 93rd person. I asked to which school she belonged and why she needed my signatures. She timidly turned around but since I was not going to return her notebook without a reply, she answered “Didi Christmas hai”. So? Again a shy smile and she said “To isse wish puri hoti hai”. I smiled and gave her the notebook back.
Her words felt as a blow to me. “Isse wish puri hoti hai”. There came a flashback of what we used to do in our school days. This little thing, collecting the largest number of signatures, was the biggest victory of the entire life and that joy on winning was unbeatable by any other pleasure on this earth. What she would have wished for? May be a bicycle or a new pencil box? Or maybe she wished to find the lost collection of her Barbie make-up kit or the lost cap of her favourite pen? These could have been her wishes or may be something more precious to her, belonging to her fantasy world. I thought I should ask her but dropped the idea when I recalled how close these wishes are to a child’s heart. I was shocked. How can I forget what Christmas is all about when during my childhood I have waited the whole year for the festival to come? When even I knew Santa is no one, I wished if he could come. Christmas is all about wishes, about hope. Asking God to give us what we want the most, if he is there to listen to us. I wondered whether I am left with no such wishes apart from asking for peace. Is there nothing else I want that can make me happy and fill in the joy that a child feels? I realized how much I have grown old.
Take this resolution this Christmas that you will keep alive the child in your hearts, even when the sky will fall on you and the world drags the earth beneath your feet. Ask a wish this Christmas and wait for Santa to come. Wait until your wish comes true and when it comes, celebrate it the way you did when you were a child.
Merry Christmas to everyone!