How a Hindu kid celebrated Christmas

(Reliving my childhood days)

I am totally jealous of my childhood, jealous of how peaceful and carefree life was then. Before desires corrupted me, before lust excited me, before religion separated me, before I become a man - life was awesomely awesome. How I wanted to grow up fast then and how I want to go back to my childhood now. Oo! The irony of life!

I was in 4th standard when the incident I am going to tell you happened. The whole December was a festive month in my school, which had its foundation day right on the day of Christmas. My school's name was Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar, one kind of names that Indian school which are based on God's, Gurus and Saints adopt. Our Guru was Sai Baba, who fortunately supported all kind of religion. The clash of the foundation day and Christmas and the secularism practise meant that one Christmas Carol is absolutely necessary for the program.

I watched the participating kids practise, prepare their Carol and dance along to the jingle bell jingle bell song. And I also saw the pot-bellied magical man throwing toffee at them. I was marvelled by it. I totally loved it. On the Christmas eve morning I decided I too would celebrate it.

During breakfast at the dining table, I asked my parents to get me a pine tree. They were of course shocked. It must have been the most weird thing I had ever asked them. They refused and told me that pine trees aren't readily available in our town. I didn't believe them and cried. (They aren't really available here, I get to know soon) Mom asked if she can do anything else about it, and I said I wanted a Christmas present. She smiled and agreed to that. In the evening I got myself a brand new woollen sweater.

It was that sweater which I wore to school next day, the Christmas day. The program was nice. There was music, dance and everything. I even got a book as a prize for being among the top three of my class. But during the whole program my eyes were on one thing -  The Christmas tree that was propped up on the stage. How come if pine trees aren't available in my town, my school got one?
Upon closer inspection I realised that it wasn't a real pine tree, nor was it an artificial one. It was actually branches of an ordinary tree, the truth beautifully hidden by the wonderful decorations. Right then, I knew that I would be celebrating Christmas at home too.

I returned from school at evening and as I approached my home's door I looked into mom's garden and searched for the tallest plant among the flower tubs. I spotted it,  I spotted the Tulsi plant standing right there, occasionally dancing to the breeze and waiting with branches open for me to decorate it to my Christmas tree.  I hurried inside, dropped my bag on the bed and then rushed out to the garden. I had my Christmas tree groomed within minutes.

With dad's help I got it inside and he also put the Diwali party lights on the plant. In front of me was the world's strangest, shortest and the most beautiful Christmas tree. Mom made some sweets specially for the evening and I had totally merry Christmas.

I didn't know it then, but I know it now. And I am proud of my childhood for this. The Tulsi plant that I used for my tree is actually one of the most sacred plants in Hinduism. The plant that is prayed as a Goddess, used in almost every Pooja, I used that plant as my Christmas tree.

The society, I realise now, will forbid it. But like I said I didn't knew it then and now even, I don't care. At least I try not to care. Not to divide myself on religion. Live a carefree life like my childhood. But I guess it is hard, I too am getting my mind corrupted somewhere.

Or else, I believe, the title would have been 'how a kid celebrated Christmas'.

P.S - I visit the Church every Christmas now and still love the mystery of Santa.

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