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Let’s not rush Christmas please!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Don’t make joke. It’s Christmas already? The twinkling giant Christmas trees in the mall blinded me. “What’s the matter with these people?’’ I wanted to scream. It is only October—we’re getting ready for Divali and All Saints. We’re looking for saris and candles, not pastelles and tinsel. Not yet. 

The other day the church choir near my place of abode was cheerily singing manzaneras and aguinaldos, as if they had never owned a calendar. Did nobody tell them they were too early? 

Last December was the Year of the Drunken Green Turkey, when my recipe for the stuffed bird went awry, and I am still recovering from the trauma of it all. So I am in no mood to play time warp. If the radio stations continue playing carols and prematurely counting down the days to December 25, I shall have to take desperate measures. 

This is going to be the Year of the Disappearing Magic Trick—I am cancelling Christmas. I am buying a ticket and flying out to some place where they never heard of black cake and ho, ho, ho. So far, at the top of the list are Eritrea and the Galapagos Islands, which has only turtles and lizards, neither of which tastes good with raisins and pigeon peas. 

“Try Russia,’’ my brainy and beautiful friend Elle suggested, slyly. “They don’t celebrate Christmas until January 7 because the Russian Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar. That will give you enough time to wrap my present and invite me over for ginger beer.’’ 

I shot her a look that would fry her malicious little heart if she had one, because she knows I hate ginger beer and that it will be the dead of winter in Moscow, and I would freeze my sense of humour off. 

“Don’t start booking my flight yet,’’ I replied, smoothly. “There are still sensible places like Thailand, Cambodia and the Maldives, which has the most amazing coral reefs. I could take up scuba diving instead of sorrel-brewing over a hot stove.’’ 

I heard her mutter “Scrooge’’ under her minty breath but I let the unfair accusation go without reply because she was probably just vex because I had discovered the subversion—someone, most likely the Grinch Who Stole My Waistline, has snipped a few days off every week between February and September, causing a false sense of an impending festive season. But by my calculations, it was just Christmas a few weeks ago and an entire year could not have slipped by already. Otherwise, I would have lost the extra pounds I had gained last season by now, instead I am sewing fresh elastic into all my trousers. So that is proof positive that Christmas is much further away than the paranderos and advertisers believe. 

Contrary to the calumny spread by Elle, who never met a celebration she did not overdo, I am no Scrooge. I am just against force ripe festivities. 

What ever happened to living in the moment? October has its own charm, in a rainy sort of flash-flooding way, and November is the birth month of such cute, clever people as Whoopi Goldberg, Tina Turner and Leonardo di Caprio. 

No need to accelerate into an end-of-year shopping-housecleaning-cooking-baking crash. Christmas and the New Year will be here soon enough, but in their own rightful blip in the time-space continuum. Now, did you know that the Kingdom of Bhutan is known as the Last Shangri-La, where Gross National Happiness instead of Gross Domestic Product is its national indicator of development? Do you know why they are so happy? 

Because they are Buddhists and so they are never harried to the point of mental breakdown over too-soon Christmases and jump-up New Years. 

I shall send you a postcard from Thimphu.


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