Staring at the Christmas bells, she remembered how every year her son and she would pull up a massive Christmas tree at home and decorate it with similar bells and lights. They’d prepare a grand Christmas dinner as well.
‘Indians are overhyped about Christmas’, her son would always say.
Thinking about her son filled her with a sudden sense of melancholia like the snow hits the pavement on a Christmas evening. She remembered all the fun and the frolic that would go about the house and all the hype about the grand decorations. And how this year, her son was cramming up for exams in London, just like the last two years. How wonderful would it have been if he could have made it home this year. They could pull up a massive Christmas tree like all those previous years and decorate it together. Maybe, they could place a few scented candles around the house and get fresh poinsettias and cranberries.
The commotion behind brought her back to the reality. She realized she was queuing up other customers behind her.
“Dada, give me two dozens of these bells, please. That’ll be all”, she directed the shopkeeper.
Returning home with the bells, the thought of getting fresh poinsettias and cranberries crossed her mind several times. She was always in love with the idea of her house being grandly lit with scented candles and poinsettias all around. But, her son not being home somehow made her miss the point of it all.
She tried calling him a few times after being done with dinner. She was constantly being greeted by a foreign voice saying that the phone has been turned off. She silently kept the phone aside after a few more trials and got back to decorating the Christmas tree.
How enthusiastic her son used to be while decorating the Christmas tree! It was his most favourite part of the entire occasion. Opening the gifts was his alltime favourite job. She was worried about his well-being and the fact that his phone was out of order. All this worry made her wonder how fast she was ageing. She had seen him last at the airport, waving away happily at her. Oh, how she wanted to see him again, soon.
Walking down the memory lane had flooded her with nostalgia. It was Christmas Eve and she was only half way through the decorations. But, she was too tired to go about with the rest. She decided to call it a night and retired to her chambers.
She woke up with a startling sound coming from somewhere in the house, almost in the middle of the night. She had recently read a few news headlines of burglaries in the neighborhood. The thought of a stranger in her house in the middle of the night filled her with dread. She put away the covers and softly tiptoed out of the bed, being overly cautious to not make any sound or raise an alarm.
Moving towards the stairs, she could see lights coming from the large hall below. A few soft steps forward, and she saw little lights winding down the staircase, disappearing into the hall. She rushed to the hall to find it grandly lit and sitting in the middle was the grandeuse of the now fully decorated Christmas tree. Scented candles lay all around the room, the air wafting with the smell of fresh poinsettias and cranberries. Just like she had always wanted.
She would tell her son stories of Christmas magic and Santa granting wishes. She wondered if this is what magic felt like.
“Maa”, bellowed a voice behind her.
Out of nowhere, came two arms. A very warm and familiar body engulfed her in a warm embrace from behind. In that moment of denial and joy, she knew that her son was back home. She turned back and embraced her son with a warm hug and tears in her eyes. Yes, this was Christmas magic indeed, and he was her Santa.