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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Merriments

Christmas in Kolkata isn't about looking at snowclad
landscapes or singing carols by the fireplace or other such things that the images from the West have always haunted us with..... thanks to umpteen films and books and television specials, but Kolkata dazzles and shines in its own way at Christmas.
The Christmas revelries in Kolkata obviously dates back to the colonial past which still makes the citizens nostalgic about many a good thing that has had Kolkata (then called Calcutta) basking in the Yuletide merriments.

In my childhood, I remember some of the traditional centreposts
of the city's British heritage still being there and, despite makeovers and evolutionary changes, decorated rather regally.
I am talking about Park Street and its string of eateries
on both sides of the street, the New Market, the entire stretch
from Lindsay Street to Esplanade, the shops in front of Tiger cinema and the Grand Hotel, used to thrill me with their aura and splendour.

For a young child, the Christmas merriments used to be simple
yet plentiful.... watching a movie at the Lighthouse cinema,
or at Metro, or New Empire....
feasting on the scrumptious delights....
laying hands on some cherished toy-cars.... the list goes on.
But nothing can beat the joy of me and my sister finding our socks filled with goodies galore on the morning of Christmas.
I do not till date know how my mother - a far cry from one who would happily imbibe a a typically Western custom - made my Dad a co-conspirator to play Santa Claus.
Christmas makes most of us relish the days gone by.

For most people childhood remains the best part of their life,
and most have a lot of memories to cherish, wishing they could
revisit their childhood and re-live those moments.
I, however, am not too fond of my childhood per se,
but I surely do miss the Christmas merriments now.
They seem like oases of hope and promise, from afar.



Siddhu said...

I fully agree with you that Christmas makes us nostalgic. I think all major festivities do. Regardless of the customs or the celebrations, they invariably involve things that are done following a tradition, and that forms the continuity and the thereby the association in our psyche.
Merry Christmas, buddy!
Have fun.
Take care.

satya said...

Cakes, chocolates, cookies, muffins, pastries and other scrumptious delights make Christmas joyous for all, true. But the spirit of Christmas, the goodness and the charity, makes Christmas celebrations worthwhile. What say?

Imran said...

Merry Christmas, Ani!
Christmas celebrations are really very special. Starting from the midnight mass, to the sharing of gifts and goodies with friends and family, sipping wine, and gobbling cakes forgetting the calorie count just for once..... it is a wholesome blend of fun and madness. The madness begins for some with the Christmas shopping that begins much in advance.
The best part of Christmas in Kolkata, for me, has been the splendid lunches that I have had since childhood, at some of the best eateries, that have lavish, extra-special Christmas spread for the complete foodies like me, and not to forget the musical medleys that are played, sometimes by the live bands as well.

diya said...

Lovely post, Christmas kiddo~
Wish you loads of happiness this Christmas and in the upcoming year, and years!
I would have loved more of the scrumptious details in this post, plus, I would love to know about your favorite Christmas 'thingy's like favorite Christmas dish, favorite Christmas song, favorite Christmas movie etc.
I hope you won't let me down.

Anirban Halder said...

All of us have childhood nostalgia around Christmas. To typical middle-class Bengalis who've studied in non-missionary Bengali-medium schools (me included), Christmas has been synonymous mostly with cakes. Many of them have plum cake perhaps only on this day in the year. To me a Christmas cake has been more than just a Christmas cake, as it is my late mother's birthday as well.

Arunima said...

Hmmnn..your post made me feel nostalgic...yes the goodies filled socks were so so amazing!! When I think of it now, it all feels like a dream. Waking up early in the cold wintry morning (most of the times you used to wake me up ;-)) to find our socks filled with goodies,listening to the christmas carols on radio were such an awesome experience!!I so fondly remember that time! It was and will always be the best christmas merriment for me.

namit said...

For me Christmas means cakes,
Christmas means family outings,
Christmas means listening to all kinds of Western music - especially of the sentimental variety,
and, above all, Christmas means the spirit of sharing small joys with others and making them manifold in turn.