Sunday, 25 December 2011

It's That Time Of The Year......

                          Christmas is in the air,
                           Bells are ringing everywhere,
                           There is warmth,there is cheer,
                            It's that time of the year!


Another year is drawing to a close.Christmas Day is almost over and the next celebration will be on new year's eve to welcome 2012.That will be followed by tons of resolutions being made on new year's day, the predominant one on most lists being 'efforts to lose weight'!The last week of the year is also a time when one looks back and remembers the year that has been,the highs,the lows,the pluses,the minuses...What we did,what we did not do and should have done,what we could have done but did not do,what we did and should not have done not and so on and so forth.It is time to take stock...
On a personal front it was a year of big changes for us as a family.We changed cities,shifted to another country and another continent too!We moved from the arid desert that Pune is rapidly(and unfortunately) becoming to the lush green environs of Nairobi.The children faced the biggest change of all.From the Indian school system they leapfrogged into the American system of education!My daughter was preparing to face the ICSE exam in a couple of years,now she has to take  the very American SAT!
The last couple of weeks saw us attending Christmas programs in the children's school before they closed for the holidays.I baked a lot of cookies for bake sales(something new for us Puneites) and the school donated all proceeds for charity.That felt good!We also had to supply snacks for the Christmas parties without which no school anywhere in the world ever closes!
The familiar parts of both the programs were all the hymns and Christmas carols beautifully sung by all the children who were part of the school choir.For all those of us who have studied in Catholic or  Protestant schools across India,carols were an integral part of our school life every year.I do not, even for a minute,think that when Lord Macaulay introduced his Minute on Education in 1835,did he imagine that ultimately it would be the English language,its's literature,it's poems and songs that would enable us to seamlessly integrate anywhere outside India and also make us a power to reckon with in the world today!And thus it was that when the school music teacher here in Nairobi, asked us parents to join them in singing 'Silent Night', I was able to joyfully chime in,awash with memories of my own school days and my own school friends......
My son's teacher had a very nice way of signing off all the notes and mails that we received from her throughout  the month of December.'In Him,the reason for the season!'And believe me in the middle of all that shopping,the hoardings announcing the sales in all those magically decorated malls choc full of toys and clothes,it is very easy to forget the true reason for the celebration.Whether it is Diwali or the Ganesh puja,Durga puja or Laxmi pujan or any other festival, as we chant shlokas or sing hymns,we must keep in mind the reason for the season!
                                 Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

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