Once upon a Christmas time, a little girl ran up to her mother. Making herself comfortable in her mother’s cushioned embrace, she asked “mommy who helps Santa with buying all the Christmas gifts?”. It was a crisp afternoon in December and warm light filtered through pink translucent curtains. Sipping on hot tea, her mother answered, “Well darling, Mother Mary helps Santa. She also makes hand made gifts for children who’ve been good throughout the year doing homework on time”. Amused at the prospect of receiving a hand made gift she asked “Will Mother Mary make me a red purse? Also since she lives in heaven, it will be easy for her to put a few stars from the sky onto it. I’ve been a good kid mommy”. Her mother laughed and hugged the seven year old. “Of course Mother Mary will make one for you”, she said.
Christmas was still ten days away and school holidays hadn’t begun. While the girl was off at school, her mother bought a yarn of soft red wool and knitted a small purse with embellishments of small white beads and sequined stars. On evenings preceding Christmas eve the little girl would tell her mother that she prayed at the school Chapel to Mothet Mary. On one day she also gave elaborate descriptions of the anticipated purse to Mother Mary!
On Christmas eve, once all the decorations were put up on the Christmas tree, she climbed onto the window sill hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa. It was about time and Santa would be out on the sleigh and who knew if she could also see Rudolf! With sleepy eyes staring into the night sky, she finally went to bed when her parents told her that Santa only came once children went to sleep.
The next day, the little one was up by 5am. Excited she ran up to the window to find a gift wrapped in golden glittering paper! The red purse embellished with stars peered out of the box! Her joy knew no bounds!!
Two and half decades hence as Christmas approaches, I’m nostalgic of my innocent childhood days, of my mother’s hand knitted red purse, my father who took on Santa’s role, exercise of decorating the Christmas tree, making a crib, singing Christmas carols, hymns, visiting friends and relishing tasty Goan Christmas sweets!
I clicked this picture this evening at a shopping mall close to home. I hope Santa & Mother Mary continue to answer innocent childhood prayers!
Wishing all my near and dear ones Merry Christmas and a happy festive season!
(C) DIKSHA SHAHI