As Diwali is to India, Hanukkah is to Israel, Kwanzaa is to Africa and Eid is to Islamic Nations – Christmas given the time of the year is more of a worldwide rather than just a Vatican celebration. And this year topmost on the wish list for Santa is to take this virus and fling it into the galaxy with a Ho Ho Ho!
Just like any other major festivals, people had to get creative with Christmas celebrations. Especially UK. A somber moment indeed when BBC announced, “Christmas has been cancelled this year.” The Queen and her Corgis were crestfallen while Boris took it in his stride, did a forward flip and adorned all street corners with coppers in their hats astride horses. Now howzat for creative décor, eh? Not to be outdone Mumbai enforced a curfew from 11:00 pm to 6:00 am and we wonder “Albert Pinto ko gussa kyon aata hain?” But ever the optimist, Padri Dr. Johnson C. Philip subdued the flock from Londa to Panjim with a midnight mass that started with, “apoon log prabhu Ishu ki shikshaon ka adhyaya karenge…” (Utube). Many examples could be forthcoming but then the juicy shenanigans of the US Christmas would be overlooked. So, let us fast forward across the Atlantic or Pacific depending on whether you are wading from Chennai or Mumbai.
Here in USA, the rights group protests began even before the governors could utter the word lockdown. Mass demonstrations ensued in major cities with Los Angeles leading and New York, Chicago and Florida close on its heels with the foregone conclusion that Christmas will be as usual with the ideology ‘ours not to question why but to do and die!’ So, be prepared, the tolls will be high and the roadway to St. Peter’s Gate will be strewn with unmasked people waving the Red White and Blue. Some of you very discerning readers noticed that Texas was not included amongst the previous few and erstwhile it will be clarified. But first a history lesson. The State of Texas was the last to join the Union and as such their independent constitution still prevails along with the Lone Star Flag (when sustainable). For the mass who has no inkling, nor do they care about the more salient point of USA (unless it spells Green Card), in short, Texas is a law unto itself. We still have cowboys who could give a fig about Mayor Turner’s sentiments or Governor Abbott’s admonishments. So, Christmas was celebrated in hazmat suits with LED lights. Parks came aglow with many a sleigh afloat in the sky with masked Santas taking social distancing to the next level as they cannonballed gifts from high above. Joy was everywhere and even the cowboys joined in as people broke out dancing to the Cotton Eyed Joe. Rooftops and yards boasted blow-up Christmas figures and candy canes. For that one day people forgot the pandemic. Families in festive spirit ‘zoomed’ in to celebrate and everyone partook by sight the edible savories. Christmas music blasted in the background with living rooms littered in paper and kids wide-eyed taking stock of their gifts.
We woke up Christmas morning to insignificant news about the stock market, Elon Musk’s jibes at Tim Cook and a few misadventures where neighborhood vigilantes shouting ‘burglar, burglar’, had busted masked men dressed in Santa suits coming down the chimney. You see, tradition in USA has it that parents want kids to believe Santa is real so the poor Dads getting an evil eye from the Moms are forced to don costumes and come down the chimney at midnight and eat the milk and cookies (some of them half eaten – after all kids will be kids) that are left by the fireside. Pandemic or not the traditions continue and thus the fate of many a father. What can you do? Its all in the spirit of Christmas! So, here is a shout out to Christmas 2020 with a note and a wish:
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells
Jingle the virus away
Oh, what fun it would be
If life could be normal soon someday