Christmas past and arecanuts that can’t sing

Back when we were little,

Correction! when I was little-

when my threats to run away meant something-

Christmas was celebrated.

 

Mother would go to that bakery in the corner

Fill the steel trays with egg whites, flour, tutty-fruity

and a tinge of rum- which dad would steal at night-

And bring home fluffy, Christmas-ey cakes,

pack em in gift wrappers in green and red.

 

Then we would  climb on the old Chetak

And go around distributing

Like the Santa and the Elves.

Those days when,

Mum and Dad didn’t want to convert everyone

But just wanted to be happy.

 

At night, me and my dad would go carol singing

through the city and outskirts

blaring our off-pitched voice

to bring out the message of Christmas.

 

Our cold, numb hands

hiding under woolen gloves

trying to hold the soup being offered.

 

Dad would bring long, green, grass

for the crib

where our dangled pieces of Jesus

and the Gabriel with one wing

would rest.

 

At church, after a melodious mass

People would dance and sing

Wine and cake would be served.

Then we would return to a steaming

pot of appam and chicken curry

breaking the 40 day torture to my

poor tummy.

 

And this was the GOOD NEWS

that passed away long ago.

 

Now, we reside,

in churches with foreign tongues

with rotten cakes and no wine.

Vast expanses of shelled-out arecanuts

that won’t sing carol songs.

Or my mother trying to play

‘Little Drummer Boy’

into the utter silence.

 

No shinning red or green wrappers

No rum cakes. No stew or appam.

 

And I have a room,

with four walls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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