| Students of Mount Carmel High School celebrate Christmas at their institution on Monday. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
Santa Claus does exist. In fact, there is more than one, one just needs to look more carefully.
Shreyashi Shukla, a 13-year-old, who lives in Nageshwar Colony, will play Santa to inmates of an orphanage at Padri Ki Haveli in Patna City. Shukla and her parents have decided to visit Padri Ki Haveli on Christmas and distribute some clothes and other goodies among the orphans there. “I would also distribute some chocolates as I know children love it,” said Shukla.
Shukla has been visiting the orphanage with her parents every Christmas for the last four years. “Christmas is all about giving. This is what my parents taught me and I think I would be able to live up to the message of Christmas by bringing smiles on the faces of these orphan children,” Shukla said.
After lighting up the lives of the orphanage children, Shukla and her family would head for some fun. “On returning from the orphanage, we would go to a restaurant and enjoy some delicious food there. The celebration would end by cutting a homemade cake, which my mom prepares,” said Shukla.
Like Shukla, many other children in Patna have different plans for the festival, irrespective of whether or not they are Christians.
Sandip Roy, deputy director, agriculture, said he and his daughters — Riyanka and Rimita — would decorate their house on Christmas, as has been the tradition. “We would decorate the Christmas tree with stars, bells and chocolates. We would also hang some LED lights on the tree to give it a sparkling look. My daughters and I just love decorating Christmas trees.”
There is one more aspect of the festival, which, though, great fun has lost some of its surprise element. “Earlier, I used to keep gifts secretly under the children’s pillows and tell them Santa Claus left them the night before. It was a lot of fun, as my daughters totally bought it and would tell Santa a silent Thank You. But now, they have got to know it was I who played Santa so I give them the gifts directly,” said Roy.
Roy also said cutting the cake was a family ritual on Christmas. “And the cake has to be special. My daughters won’t settle for a simple cake on Christmas. So I have to order a designer cake in advance,” said Roy.
While Roy has stopped the practice of hiding gifts for his daughters on the night before Christmas, parents like Rajkumar Mishra, an advocate from Boring Road, still do so to bring a smile on their children’s faces.
Mishra said: “Like last year, this year, too, I will bring some gift for my daughter, Shatakshi, and keep it under her pillow. Next morning (Christmas day) when she finds it, I will again tell her that her favourite Santa Claus left the gifts for her. My parents did not believe in all this. In fact, they still don’t understand all this. But I believe anything that brings a smile on the face of my little princess is worth it. I, also, don’t worry about what Shatakshi, my six-year-old daughter, would think when she grows up and sees through the Santa trick. I know she would only understand that her Papa loves her a lot.”
Even Shatakshi’s mother, Pragya Mishra, a homemaker, is readying a surprise for the kid. She plans to prepare her favourite pineapple cake this Christmas. “She was asking me to make it for last few days but I didn’t oblige her. She will be very pleased if I make it for her on Christmas Day,” said Pragya.
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