Each year I look forward to December issue of Reader’s Digest for it contains heart warming stories with Christmas as the backdrop. This year’s edition is no exception, but the impact of the ongoing Covid pandemic has not left even the spirit of Christmas.
This year’s story talks about a family that followed an age old tradition of buying new items of decoration as early as in November and then to put up these items along with lighting and Christmas tree to create a picture postcard like fantasy in the front yard of the house. The family comprised two seniors – the family patriarch and his sister and his two children a 20 years old son and 24 years old daughter having an eighteen months old infant. Like all the years, the Christmas of 2020 was no different and all four members pooled in efforts to create a beautiful Christmas decoration, The baby of the family was delighted to see all the light and glitter. On the eve of Christmas, the aunt received a message that someone with whom she had spent sometime the previous day had tested positive for Covid. Though she had no symptoms, she decided to get her test done and most unfortunately, she also tested positive. While she quarantined herself within the house, the other three members also decided to get themselves tested as a matter of extreme caution. By chance all three of them also tested positive and it was decided to celebrate Christmas on low key without any further elaboration or guests. While the youngsters recovered, Aunt developed breathlessness and she was immediately hospitalised. To cut a long story short, both- the patriarch as well his sister die within few days of each other due to Covid related complications. There was a pall of gloom in the family but the surviving members decided to continue with the decoration to overcome the grief. While the life was limping back to normal, a letter was delivered to their house that read – “ please take off the Christmas decoration as it’s going to be Valentine’s time soon ! This insensitive message really reopened the wounds and the siblings decided to face this indecency and insensitivity heads on rather than taking it lying down. They took to social media and the local FM also supported their cause. In fact, it became such a mass movement that the entire neighbourhood expressed their solidarity by taking out their Christmas decoration and lights from their stores to honour their neighbours, who had lived by the tradition for decades. The entire neighbourhood wore Christmas like look in February and unseasonal snowfall further added to the magic. The response of the people at large to the cause of the the family’s plea was unprecedented and overwhelming and an ample proof that even the worst of tragedies cannot fully sag the undying human spirit.
I immediately identified myself with the story because it was in 2020 only that on the morning of Diwali Day my Corona test report came positive and I slept through the night of splendour, gaiety and lighting. Of course, I defeated Corona and celebrated Diwali of 2021 with full fervour.
There’s some magic about these traditions associated with our festivals. Metro Christmas!