An Unusual Christmas | Aishwarya Roy Beyond the Panorama December 24, 2020

An Unusual Christmas | Aishwarya Roy

The disappointed look on his face 


It’s the Christmas eve.

The enormous Christmas tree,

Adorned with glistening ornaments

And glowing fairylights,

Looked brighter than his own house

Ever did.

Draped with lights his father could never afford.

His father —

The Santa Claus for others’ Christmas parties.

Until last year.

They said he couldn’t play his role too well,

For he was thin and lanky.

So this year, a more suitable Santa

Has replaced him.

Scent of freshly baked Christmas cakes

Is coming from a neighbouring bakery,

Amidst the bustling streets

Of the Christmas Market.

The hand-crafted greeting cards

Made with papers which smell of jasmine,

Folded with warm smiles

And stitched with love.

More love than the little boy

Has ever received.

Stalls tossed freshly roasted,

Golden brown chestnuts, carefully

Into paper cones,

And added generous layers

Of whipped cream.

The little boy hated Christmas.

To him, love never came in a box,

With a pretty ribbon, and a prettier price-tag.

As the evening sky faded away,

The pink and orange hues were replaced

With dark shades of blue, whilst the amber light of the street lamps

Spilled on the stone-paved streets.

He dared to lurk

Behind the inky black curtains

That hid reality, and saw children

Enjoying love.

Life was a carousel of little adventures,

And he was a silly kid on sugar rush

Not knowing it was a sin to dream.

Valleys grew deeper and mountains inched higher,

But the little boy and his eyes,

Full of gleaming hope and delicate dreams

Were like a hamster on its wheel,

Kept running away stationed to the same place,

Moving not an inch. 

The giant church bell rings.

It’s 12 o’ clock.

Skies tainted in nostalgia.

Trees hazed,

Like his father’s vision.

The boy begins to miss his father,

Father, whose arms were warmer

Than the thin blanket in their house.

His lullabies and tender sighs.

Their entangled limbs, untangled minds.

The boy chokes and crumbles,

As he hears a terrific thud,

The sound of black boots falling

Fom the earth’s heavens as they slid 

Down the chimney,

And covered the white floor with grey ash. 

The outside as dead as the dreams

He’s still mourning after.

His face glowed,

And so did the cuts, the scars,

The deeply etched marks on it,

Like on the barks

Of a tree,

But only some you could see.

The little boy hid them well,

In the cobwebbed corners of his mind.

“Santa? Is that you?”

The dark room illuminated with the blinking of his eyes.

And when Santa’s numb fingers found his,

The way braille finds the blind,

For the first time,

He felt a tinge of happiness

That for once didn’t slip

Through his little fists,

Like quicksand.

The gift-wrapped diary felt like

A friendly neighbour 

On this forlorn land.

His father, after all, was never too thin

Or lanky,

To be his child’s Santa Claus.

Written by Aishwarya Roy

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