December! It’s that time of the year when you’ve completely forgotten about the resolutions you made 11 months ago to not eat cake ever again. It’s the time to buy yourself that pretty looking, uncomfortable red stiletto you will hardly wear. It’s also that time when you can stuff yourself shamelessly with plum cake, galgals and rose cookies from All Saint’s or Fathima Bakery.  “Thom’s Bakery!” you’ll scream at me if you’re from the Cantonment area unlike me.

I get into the Christmas spirit from the first week of December itself. Cards for my friends from school are already done but I seem to have misplaced their addresses. I am nagging my mom to come with me to bring home a lovely cardboard star to put in the balcony. Last year I took so long to choose a star that my mother grumbled, “You’re not choosing a husband! Make it fast!” which left the salesman in splits and me slightly flustered.

December was the best month even when I was a school going girl. We would have special assembly sessions because of which the first period almost always got eaten up. Carol singing would begin mid-December. A lanky senior would play on the 100 year old German grand piano. All of us would sing along as well as we could. Even after coming back home I would sing my favourite ones in a high pitched false voice just like the grim-faced music teacher would. “Stop whining like a dog!” my mother would scream from the kitchen.

December is the time to lie to Santa that you’ve been a good girl and also for the notorious game called Secret Santa. I went to a girls’ school. The internal rivalries and jealousies came out in full colour during this game. The first hurdle was making the chits and getting everyone to pick one without cheating. Then came the part when we quietly exchanged chits so that we got the names of the girls we were on good terms with. Then the politics that almost always ended with two or three girls crying and calling it unfair. So time to make new chits and pick them up again and trade again till everyone was happy with their Christmas child. There was a year when we picked chits almost five times!

Nasty letters, sweet letters and funny ones were passed around. Language classes were the best time to do this as the two sections of our class would be mixed up. It was easier to send letters anonymously that way. The finale was always on the last day before vacations and we would all wear our best Christmassy clothes with Santa caps. Gifts were exchanged amidst squeals of joy and some groans of disappointment. We would always get a slice of plum cake from our school. We ate like it was the last slice of cake on earth!

The Cake Show is another event every Bangalorean associates with December.  My earliest memory of it is that of awkwardly posing in front of the “Titanic” cake. In those days my father always came with his Minolta Camera. My mother insisted he take pictures of me in front of each cake model. He would end up taking a photo of the crowd in front of the cake. To my mother’s utter dismay I would be in some corner of the photograph visible only to her.

I gradually lost interest in the cake show and went to Sweet Chariot to eat cake instead. Cake is always better to eat than to see. This year Bangalore has a different kind of show. There’s a Great Barrier Reek in SJP Road, Doesn’tMatterhorn just around the turning to my street and the Valley of Leftovers along the Jyothi Nivas College compound wall. All made of real garbage! The nasty smell doesn’t help in drawing crowds though. I’m planning to take my DSLR along and take a few snaps so that I can show off on facebook that I’m a responsible citizen.

Anyway, in the true spirit of Christmas, that of sharing and caring, I’m planning to lead some cows from Doesn’tMatterhorn to Valley of Leftovers as there isn’t enough food for all the forty odd cows to graze on Doesn’tMatterhorn.

Well, Feliz Navidad…ooooo…. (Imagine me singing that in soprano) and a Happy New Year! Belated Happy New Year if your year began on Lakshmi Pooja and wishes in advance if your year begins in January or in March or in April or whenever.

This article was published in the Editorial of Deccan Herald on 22/12/2015 DHArticle


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