Christmas is just round the corner, and like each year it kindles memories of a long ago. Childhood seems like yesterday, but time has swept away the years, taking along with it a special person who kindled the love for music and creativity in me, right from a tender age – MY PAPA.

As I sit down and type this post, my mind stirs up memories of the many Christmases I celebrated with dad.  Making the crib, putting up the star, and decorating the house, all with music playing in the background, seems like yesterday. Unless Jim Reeves or Boney M songs were played, Christmas wasn’t complete.

The highlight at our house was the crib that dad would build from scratch, using thermocol sheets, brown paper and hay. He would also sow wheat, well in advance, so that the seeds would grow just in time to resemble fields. Of course, I would be instructed to water them on time and I would follow instructions to the T. Watching dad painstakingly set up the crib is an image I’ll never forget. He would place each item carefully as if they had a life of their own.The paper mountains, the framework for the crib, the hay, the statuettes, the thermocol sheets and finally the grown wheat.

Painting the brown paper to make them resemble mountains was my favorite activity, as a kid. Hands, face, and dress covered in paint, I used to spread myself all over the paper, just to make sure I cover all corners. That and running into the kitchen occasionally to grab the sweets or savories Mom would be preparing, only to be called back by Dad to complete the task at hand and then fool around, still brings a smile. And then Mom would be yelling at me from the kitchen not to touch anything with dirty hands. Stuffing my mouth full, oblivious to her anger (much to her annoyance) I would be spread-eagle again on the paper.

Christmas evening, friends from the colony would visit our home to wish and share in the celebrations. Offering them sweets and savories, after stuffing my mouth with the same (not to miss out the admonishment by Mom), and being complimented on my dress would leave me floating in the air. And then the yummy dinner of mutton biryani and my favorites items. Those were one of the best memories of Christmas, ever.  Sitting here, miles and memories away from the place I love, my heart still yearns for THOSE CHRISTMAS TIMES. But then some voids can never be filled. Here I am, still wondering how life took such a turn.  Time sure flies!

Not to be sounding negative, but the present lacks the fervor of the past. Though people say time will heal, it’s doesn’t ring true here. It just is a cruel reminder of what is missing. However, life, sadly, has to go on…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Daddy, wherever you are! I miss you.