Sunday, 14 December 2008

Christmas and what it means to Christians like me

This Christmas in 2008 will be the first I will celebrate away from home and family. In a way it makes me appreciate this time of the year and more so my loved ones who I was always around this time of the year.

All my life until now I lived in a town called Ambernath near Mumbai in India. Ever since I can remember, Christmas was always about celebration - new clothes, gifts, decorations, the Christmas tree, carol singing and the time of the year when all was forgiven and forgotten. It was that special time of the year that I knew I needed to spend with my family. I always knew it signified the birth of Christ our saviour and we celebrated it.

I lived in a kind of joint family set up and Christmas eve was very special; everyone would put on new clothes, and it being winter the night felt extra special and the sky looked clearer. We always went for midnight mass, wished each other "Merry Christmas" and then returned home to cake, wine and chicken roast. It was our own little family tradition. I always looked forward to it. The next day we would have our joint Christmas lunch where all the family got together, cooked different meals and made the best of the Christmas spirit. It was the time of the year when you believed miracles happened.

I never questioned the little intricasies like why do we have a Christmas tree or why do we make believe in Santa Claus, or why we hide gifts under the tree.

I was at a friend's house yesterday in Melbourne, Australia and his non-Christian wife asked me the significance of the tree and Santa Claus and I paused, but I knew the answer. I told her it was a tradition that was started some centuries ago and we just keep it alive. I will miss my family this year at Christmas but I know in my heart the tradition will be kept and although I know they will miss me too, we will celebrate because it is Christmas and next year I know I will be there to take part in the tradition, exactly how we have been doing it for generations.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Friday, 18 July 2008

Train to Ajmer Sharif

Well delayed as usual

I scrambled with my duffel bag and laptop tucked into my haversack, changed over from the central railway line to the western just so that I could make it on time for my long distance train due to depart at 2 p.m. from the terminus called Mumbai Central. Well the effort paid off, I made it, only to discover the train was delayed by 4 hours something you get used to over time in India.

I was traveling to Ajmer with a friend. Rishi and I got acquainted during my Diploma at Xavier's Institute of Communications in Mumbai, India and have been in touch since. Rishi who worked with Unilever as a brand manager for Dove was on his way home to tell his parent's he was detected with Crohn's disease and he was required to undergo a minor surgery. Trust me, news like that can take the wind out of your sails but Rishi was very optimistic for words even.

Now getting back to the delay. Since we had 4 hours and nothing to do, we reckoned a Hindi movie would provide the apt filler. So after a quick bite at McDonald's off we were to a nearby theatre to watch Indian Cinema at its silly best - "De tali". Like all Hindi films a love triangle with a twist and off course not forgetting the song and dance sequences. I like Indian Cinema that uses the conventional mix, its stupid at best, but thats what they're trying to portray right. We left the movie 20 minutes early so that we had enough time to get back for the train. Arrgggh.... the suspense - we missed. Back at the station, we figured 10 minutes to pick up some bottled water and chips and hey I could afford some bars of chocolate, it was going to be a long journey.

Getting comfortable

It had been many years since I took a long distance train and it sure can take a while to get used to. The on board tit-bits kept us going through the journey and we spent the time talking, the occasional game of cards and taking some pictures. I was always a fan of capturing important memories, what better than the digital age photograph. I had recently upgraded to an a decent prosumer camera - Sony Cybershot DSL H 50. Point and shoot at its professional best, I would say. We spent the remaining part of the day eating whatever came our way, from South Indian Idlis, to the Maharashtrian Wada Pav to the North Indian Dry Bhel - all the junk food you could possibly eat in a day and not get sick.

That was easy

Friday, 11 January 2008

Flash Back 2007

July 01,2007; not the perfect photographic moment, but then you can't expect much from a 2Mp mobile camera in a moving car.

The Indian monsoon at what it does best - the different hues, wild as it is calm. Roadtrip to remember - Bushy Dam, Lonavla.