I like Christmas because it does not have an anti climax like Easter. After the grand Easter lunch and the burp, the festivity abruptly comes to an end and you go back to gorging on all those things you gave up for Lent (a 40 day upwaas).
Christmas on the other hand is followed by visits to all the families in the family and this is the only period of time that no one forces you to eat their Christmas delicacy, which tastes exactly the same as the one served in the 77 families you visited before. Everyone knows that you are visiting relations and hence stuffed, though they don’t know that you gave the same excuse to everyone…that the last house stuffed you to the gills. A very happy situation for all leading to a lot of unnecessary laughter, lies and confessions in church.
Me: Forgive me father for I have sinned.
Priest: And what did you do.
Me: I told my aunt that her Cake tasted great. It sucked big time.
Me: I told Jose that his Christmas Crib was an engineering miracle. It was a miracle it stood up for three whole seconds.
Me: I told Kurian uncle that his wine was awesome. It was so sour that milk curdled a mile way from it.
Priest: *snort* For Gods sake tell me something new!!!
Apart from visiting relations and telling a whole lot of lies like how you ate so much and cannot therefore even drink tea but if it is Scotch it is okay, you have to go through an ancient achayan ritual called “Christmas Crib seeing.” It is quite like Bride Seeing but quite unlike it too. I know it sounds confusing but then that’s how it is.
Normally the boy kids in the family make the Christmas Crib that his family is so proud of. The famous mallu sarcasm vanishes when it comes to your kids and hence most of our Christmas cribs are errr well….horrible!
“Look at the crib Jojo has made!!” exclaimed Jojo’s mother proudly. I looked around the room. There were several sacks of pepper or nutmeg I am not so sure. And several stacks of rubber sheets, a tractor blade and some other stuff. But no crib.
“err Jojo why don’t you tell me something about your Christmas crib” I said hoping Jojo will then point me in the direction of the crib.
Jojo the practical boy he is and having learnt from the visits of other visiting relations, who were not close enough to hold their sarcastic tongue, pointed in the direction of what looked like an Alien nest in the corner of the room. I recoiled in horror. Jojo flinched. I felt bad.
“This is sooooo amazing Jojo” I said truthfully. It was indeed amazing. It was just like those Alien eggs/nest in the movie Alien. I looked fearfully for signs of movement in the egg/nest in case I have to make a dash for it. But all was calm in the nest/egg. Jojo parted the egg/nest to show me the Christmas figurines inside. I was so relieved that I smiled. Jojo mistook it for amazement. I didn’t contradict him.Considering the fact that my mother had bought another horrible gift for him that he will promptly give away to the Parish Charity sale, this was the least I could do for him.
The next house was no better.
“Look!!” exclaimed Jojan’s mother.
“Look at the crib Jojan has made” She said beaming.
I stood in the garden and looked at every tree, bush and creeper. But no crib.
“err Jojan why don’t you tell me something about your Christmas crib” I said hoping Jojan will then point me in the direction of the crib. Now Jojan is 6 years old and three feet high and hence sarcasm goes over his head. But he has his own bit of 6 year old sarcasm.
“Chechi. You show me the crib!” he says cockily.
“Chechide bestest muththalle nee! Show me the Crib da.” I plead.
“No” he says adamantly.
“Ok! I will give you a Chocolate.” I wager in hope.
“Make it a Toblerone 'and' you take back that Cadbury Chocolate your amma gave me and we have a deal”.
Then Jojan proceeded to show me some shreds of pink wrapping paper the kind jewelers wrap gold jewelery in, wrapped around three pots of Crotons. Sitting precariously over the pots edges were the Holy Family and the entire denizens of Bethlehem. I heaved a sigh of relief. I have never been so happy to see a Christmas Crib!!! Imagine if Jojan had quizzed me in front of the entire family!! I could have gone around his house and the 100 acres of rubber estate with a fine tooth comb and still not found the Christmas Crib! Jojan’s mom would have hated me and his Dad would have hated me and then doubted his son’s paternity!!! (He comes from a family of champion Crib makers you see) A tragedy averted by some quick thinking by yours truly!!
The next house was next ….obviously.
“Look” exclaimed Blessy’s mother. I groaned. “Look at the crib Blessy has made” She said. I looked around the hall and then looked at Blessy standing prim and proper like a good little 6 year old girl.
“Blessy sweety why don’t you tell me something about your Christmas crib” I said hoping Blessy will point me in the direction of the Crib. Tears filled Blessy’s big brown eyes. I panicked. Maybe I am standing on her crib or perhaps sitting on it or perhaps I have accidentally eaten it. A whole lot of horrible possibilities rushed into my mind. As I wondered how I could possibly make up to my niece for destroying her Crib, her mom walks in, removes an A 4 sheet of paper stuck on the wall and shows it to me proudly. On the paper, sketched in childish hands was a horribly deformed buffalo with a tumor, though which one was which I couldn’t quite make out. Besides the tumored buffalo was a blue Amoeba and beside the blue Amoeba was what looked like a peanut. The tumored Buffalo pointed out Blessy’s mom, was Joseph. The blue Amoeba was Mother Mary and the peanut was Baby Jesus.
We told a whole lot of lies that day.
Kindly ignore first paragraph, written due to author’s extreme short memory which was refreshed after writing this post. Give me Easter any day!!