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
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
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.