It is the beginning of the winter solstice. The Christmas colors of red and green add warmth to the otherwise cool winds blowing out during winter. X-mas tree, star, nativity scene, festive holly berry,be-ribboned gifts, colored lights, red poinsettias, mistle toe, The reindeer driven Santa on the sleigh all make the moods more perkier and merrier.
All the shopping malls and lifestyle stores dress up their windows with Santa, snow, sleigh and the ice flakes. Bakeries stock marzipans, pastries, muffins, ginger breads, Yule logs, and not before I forget the plum cakes.
Cakes - reminds me of Nilgiris, the first supermarket chain of stores in India which started in 1905 always presents a cake exhibition of grand scale in Bangalore. Each year they take up a model and build a gigantic cake which becomes the highlight of the exhibition. They make big models ( height of 40 feet with sugar and gelatin) of any monument like Eiffel tower, Bangalore palace, Taj Mahal etc. They also make some small models. Latha , My sister was a food technologist at the Nilgiris, Brigade road branch for four years. She used to get the passes for the exhibition. The whole Brigade road would be decked up with festoons of colored lights and all shops would dress up their windows with red , green & white . A huge man dressed up like Santa would walk up and down the street distributing chocolates from his red stocking bag. Shreya and Sharun would be regular recipients every X-mas when we were in Bangalore. On the eve of New year(Dec 31st) the whole road would be blocked for vehicular traffic and one can see a lot of crowd there reveling to welcome the new year. It is the same atmosphere here in Hyderabad too. All the malls look decked up.
Now that this festival has acquired secular overtones, Our 300 family housing society also celebrated it with great cheer and joy. The children of our complex put up an entertaining cultural program (without bollywood/ Hollywood numbers). Shreya and her 7 friends took part in a Latin- American dance(Salsa). They were trained by one of our resident who is a good dancer. Sharun took part in the skit Noah Of Ark. Another resident rewrote the script to make it more comical.
Every time there is a festival/ occasion the residents get together. The children and sometimes the elders too provide cultural programs. The practice sessions teach the children to learn many things which are not a part of their curriculum like to work in a team, to adjust, be punctual, to make use of the given opportunity, caring, sharing etc., and so it was this X-mas too. There was lot of cheer and good will.
We have decked up the X-mas tree like every year. This practice of putting up X-mas tree started when shreya was 6 years old. We used to make all the tree embellishings at home. Chapatti dough would be moulded into balls, candy sticks, stars and then wrapped with silver/gold paper, the candy sticks would be painted white and then a shining red wiry paper would be wound around it. This time though we were besotted by the X-mas decorations stocked up at one of the Hyderabad stores. We picked up the items and decorated our artificial X-mas tree. Now we are awaiting Santa..... Do we hear the Jingle Bells?