My Christmas passed ever so quietly as it had begun. On 24th December, when my watch beeped 12:00, midnight, I was busy typing and editing a colleague’s resume to be presented to the Client. Almost alone in the office, I looked out of my cabin and noticed a few heads aligned with their monitor screens. I mushed down the narrow alley lined with cubicles on both sides and pushed my way out into the surprisingly cold night. Dragging on the cigarette butt, I looked on the road below and noticed a greater ply of vehicles. Everyone seemed to be traveling and rushing home. Suddenly I longed the warmth and nostalgia of wine and cakes, of toddy laced "appam" and beef curry and of relatives rushing in and rushing out. I thought about the last time I had gone home for Christmas. My Dad had a tear in his eye as he welcomed me. My Mom as usual stood in a nightie with a sweet smile and a thousand candles shining on her face. My Sister as usual remarked, "we thought you will not come" and as usual my younger Brother stood there in the corner excited to see me and I imagined him already making plans for a movie out together and a chess game in the night.
I angrily threw away the cigarette butt as it burned my hand. I hadn't noticed it burn away as I stood reminiscing. I sighed into the night and moved on, back to my cabin. I had to finish the work of formatting the resume. At 2:00 A.M, I was ready to call it a day. I switched off my workstation, gave the Gold Fish some fish food granules and quietly hushed them a "Merry Christmas" as I sheepishly switched off the light and walked out into the cold night.
Driving my bike back to my flat, I couldn't help notice the fancy paper Christmas Stars shining in basically every house on the way. Most of the houses also had fancy blue and red lighting. They looked so warm, so full of Christmas tidings... Even I had put in a star and decked up my door with Christmas decoration paraphernalia. My star was red but was with a lot of "designer holes" This probably was made to permit a lot of light to emit out of the star but looking from far, it was more "whitish" than red, so I bought some transparent red decoration paper and pasted it neatly all over the star. I remember looking at it satisfied when the paper star had become the enigmatic look alike celestial body I wanted it to become during the night. I stopped on my way to the 24/7 bakery and ordered for a coffee. I swear the coffee too tasted like "Christmas". I eyed the brown plum cake on display and ordered one too. There I sat on the cold steel chair and wished myself, "Happy Christmas"
I woke up in the afternoon on the 25th of December, pulled myself out of bed and as usual angled to the door where "The Hindu" lay orphaned. Still eyeing the headlines, I moved to where my cell phone lay muted and as usual my heart sank when I saw no, "missed calls". No one had called to wish me Christmas!! I dialed up "Home", Mom picked up; She reminded me that it was Christmas. I said a sorry. She suddenly said that there are some guests and requested me to call later. I then called my younger Sister settled in Bangalore, wished her and her hubby Christmas and hung up soon as she was busy in the Kitchen making lunch. There, my job was over, my Christmas "morning" over.
A bath later, I decked up with whatever good dress I had, drove and stopped outside the now closed church and tried praying. All I did was, think about the good old Christmas days. A few minutes later I was driving to the best restaurant near my house. The waiter, eyed me suspiciously as I ordered rice, a plate of chicken curry, a plate of mutton curry, a plate of beef curry, a plate of prawns curry and a fish fry. He glanced reassuringly at the purse and the bike key on the table and asked, "single plate rice?"
After the "grand" Christmas lunch, which was half wasted, I went for a movie. A regular Malayalam flick. I noticed that the theatre was full packed and that meant impatient child bickering, irritated baby cries and the regular chips/wafer packet messing noises. But that's the sacrifice one has to do if you need to watch a new movie before its released on VCD. Reaching home and after a long refreshing bath, I relaxed down on the recliner in the balcony and watched the sun go down. I held the phone dearly near me and waited for a call on Christmas day
My star shone ever so brightly in the dark night. A slight breeze pushed it back and forth and the red light danced into my eyes. I kept staring at it as the mystic luminance filled my soul. Suddenly a continuous, deafening sound of crackers filled my ears. I traced the sound to the sky which had suddenly become red, green and violet. I kept my gaze and wanted to miss nothing. Soon it was all over. I looked at my own red star and picked up the phone to call everyone on my almost full phone book since they simple didn’t remember me on Christmas day. The time read: 12:01 A.M 26th Dec 2008. I jolted up from my relaxed reclining on the chair and looked again. The time was right. I had slept off and finished my precious Christmas night by gazing at my red star and waiting for a call on Christmas Day...