“So dad, I think everything’s done”. Said Anna.
“Yea, seems so.” Said Mr. Harry. “Let’s check out, the bells and ribbons are all hung, the Christmas tree has been decorated, the gifts are all packed, sweets are packed, lights are put.”
Said Anna, “That’s all dear, everything’s ready. We are going to have great fun tomorrow.” Said Mr. Harry .
Anna smiled,”You know dad, this time I’m very excited for the Christmas Eve!”
“Okay that’s good, but it’s too late now you and you should go off to sleep. Goodnight dear.”
Anna and Mr. Harry went off to sleep.
Anna was deep in her sleep dreaming of the Christmas Eve. Suddenly a keen sound brought her back to reality. It was a stranger in her room. She was as afraid as a rat in a cat’s cage! She felt that the stranger sat on her bed, just next to her. She had goose-bumps all over her body. She fortunately found a torch near her. She picked it up and with a great force she was about to hit the stranger. But… she shouted, “What a surprise, Santa!”
Santa whispered, “Hey, lower your voice.”
It was Santa! Santa Clause, the one with a white long beard and moustache. Wrapped in a red coat with his sledge carried by rein deers. He looked just the same as she had seen in pictures but Anna noticed an unusual sadness on his face.
“But Santa, I think you are forgetting something.” Said Anna.” It’s the 24th of December, not the 25th.” She added.
Santa replied disappointedly, “Dear, I’m well aware of the dates but you are unaware of the conditions of my home, the North Pole.” He added, “All the glaciers are melting , the mountain peaks are crumbling down, all of a sudden everything’s out of order!” Saying this his two little eyes hidden behind his two white thick eyebrows and his extra thick white moustache , started getting flooded with tears.
Anna was in the seventh standard and was well aware of the fact that our earth is getting warmer year by year and as a consequence of this, the glaciers in the poles are melting slowly. But she had no idea that this would happen so early. Global warming is a phenomenon resulted out of human negligence. So in some ways she blamed herself for Santa’s grievances. While she was lost in her thoughts, Santa wiped his tears and said, “So, now as my home is no more, I have decided to stay with you.”
“That’ll be awesome!” Anna jumped. At that moment Anna heard her father’s voice, “Who are you talking to Anna?”
Anna quickly answered, “No one dad, just to myself.”
“All right then, I’m off to work. Take care…” Said Mr. Harry as he left for work.
“Well, I’m Anna.” Said she, introducing herself. ” Aren’t you hungry Santa? “
“Yes somewhat.” Santa replied.
“I’m sure dad must have left some boiled veggies for me.” She said with a tired look.
“Boiled veggies? Well I have something more interesting than that.” Said Santa.
Anna with a face full of excitement asked,” What?”
“Candy sticks and a lot of cakes!” Replied Santa. And the next moment both of them found themselves grabbing the food items. Anna ended her breakfast with one single word,” Delicious!”
Anna’s winter vacations had begun and since the past few weeks she had been planning of a football match in the empty field with her friends. Around 11 o’ clock George with a football in his arms came to call Anna.
“Hey Anna, I’m sure you haven’t forgotten about the match.”
“Not at all George, but I think I’ll not come.” Said Anna.
George was astonishmed. “Why , what’s wrong?”
Anna calmly said, “Just have a look who’s here in my home and you’ll get your answer.”
George raised his neck as much as he could to peep in and whatever he saw was a miracle. At the first look he was not able to believe his own eyes, but did believe later. It was Santa, Santa Claus! The solo deliverer of happiness for a child.
“Liza, Kevin, John, Dora, come quick.” George shouted at the top of his voice to call all his friends. “Guys, have a look who’s here!” He gushed.
Kevin with an assuming look said, “Wait a minute, I have seen him somewhere.”
“Kevin, don’t you recognise him? He’s Santa Claus!” Shouted Liza.
And then all the children almost jumped on Santa saying, “We want gifts…we want gifts…we want gifts…!”
“Hey, hey children, hold on…,” Said Santa. While all of them were over excited to get gifts from Santa , Anna noticed that Dora was missing.
She asked, “Hey George, haven’t you all called Dora?”
“Yes we did. Liza wasn’t she with you?” Asked George surprised.
Liza saw all around but couldn’t find the girl. At that moment John burst into a sudden scream.
“Friends, Dora’s there!” He said pointing towards the door. Dora with a horrific look was gazing at Santa. Anna at once rushed towards her.
“What are you so afraid of Dora? Will you not meet Santa?”
Dora still with a pale and scared face stared at Santa and said, “Eh… I would, but honestly, I’m afraid of him.”
There was a second or two silence and then all the children along with Santa burst into laughter. John controlled himself and said,” Seriously, you are afraid of Santa, you mean?”
“Yes…”, replied Dora. “Guys, please don’t misunderstand me. Some days ago, one of my cousins had come to my place. She said that people are there who disguise themselves to be Santa and come to our house in the Christmas Eve.” She paused for a while.
“Then?” Asked Liza with a great curiosity. Dora continued,” They, instead of presenting us, steal our belongings and… and… even scare the children!”
“Okay, okay enough of nonsense.” Anna interrupted.
“It’s true Anna…! I mean just look at him, such a huge figure he is. The bushy white beard, rounded moustache, who knows he might be one.” Said Dora.
“Dora believe me he’s not the one to harm us. Come let’s shake hands.” Anna was Dora’s best friend so she could not refuse her.
“Santa meet my best friend, Dora” Said Anna.
“Hey Dora, seems you are scared of me; believe me I won’t harm you” Said Santa giving his hand for friendship. Dora gathered much strength to put her hand forward and both of them shook hands. Anna was surprised to see a gentle smile in Dora’s face. It seemed as if a single shake of hands had thrown away all the doubts from her mind.
All the children spent rest of the afternoon sitting around Santa and patiently hearing incredible incidents narrated by him.
“Santa, do you really stay in the North Pole, how cold is it there?” Asked George.
“Yeah, I do stay there, and you would be amazed to hear that it used to be around -50 degree Celsius in the winters! But now it’s just a couple of Celsius low throughout the year due to global warming, you know!” Said Santa.
Anna quickly said, “Friends, this is the reason behind his visit a day ahead. You know, the poles are melting and our beloved Santa’s house, it is all destroyed.” She added.
There was a complete silence for a minute or two. Maybe like Anna the same thoughts of Santa’s grievance were troubling them too.
“Friends, why are you sad? Let’s have fun.” Said Santa suddenly. “You know, the North Pole was once attacked by a Polar Bear.”
“Then?” Asked John.
“How did you escape ?”Asked Liza.
Santa narrated the whole incident of this dreadful attack by a bear, and how the whole day it kept annoying him. At last during the sunset when it was exhausted and took a nap, Santa slowly tip toed out of its reach.
Anna asked, “Wasn’t the bear a scary one?”
“It certainly was.” Replied Santa.
“Santa, I have heard that each year you get 100 million gift wishes from the children, is that true?” Asked Kevin.
“No my friend, even more than that… Oh God…! I had just forgotten.”
“What?” All the children screamed together.
“The gifts, I had forgotten to get them!” Said Santa.
“There is nothing to worry Santa, we’ll help you buy them.” said Dora.
The next moment all the children took Santa to the shopping complex. As soon as they reached there Santa exclaimed, “Wow…it’s so huge…!”
“I can assure you Santa, you’ll get all those thinks that you require.” Quipped Liza.
It took them four hours to shop the items. And why shouldn’t it take, after all they had to buy gifts for the children around the world!
Shopping was done. Santa’s gift list, which was even a couple times lengthier than those fat story books lying in one corner of the library, was at last complete.
While they were on their way towards home, they saw some poor children sitting.
“Friends, let’s start our distribution from them.” Santa said pointing towards the children.
“Good idea.” Said Anna.
Santa distributed the gifts to the children and got to know that they were orphans and had no home to stay in.
Soon they started walking towards their home.
“Just like those children, even I have no home to stay in. My own house is all destroyed by the nature.” Said Santa taking a deep breath. Anna thought, it was not by the nature but by her, or rather by the human beings. How selfish the world was. Thinking all these she felt her heart getting heavier. She closed her eyes.
“Anna how long will you take?” Anna heard her father’s voice calling her. She at once opened her eyes, and was startled to find her father standing in front. She rubbed her eyes to verify, but yes, no doubt that it was her father. She looked left and right to understand where she exactly was. She found herself in her bed. She was in her own room!
“Seems you were again lost in your fancies.” Said Mr. Harry. “Now wake up, its Christmas!” He added. Anna took a minute or two to understand the whole matter. As soon as could finally comprehend her situation, she uttered a single word,” Incredible!” The morning surprise, the arrival of Santa, the fun, the enjoyment was a dream! She thought, Santa, a symbol of joy in the season of Christmas, who never fails to deliver gifts to children of every nook and corner of the world, is now in grief. Moreover the reason for his grievance is none other than the humans! What a grand tribute the human beings are presenting to Santa!
Anna was still in her bed, engrossed in her deep thoughts when she heard a faint sound coming from the city church. “You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town.” It was the Christmas Eve. Since 2016 long years Santa had been coming to each and every town of the world with an aim of blending the flavour of happiness and love all around, she thought. “I can’t be so selfish, neither can the others be.” She spoke aloud. She hurried till her friend Dora’s house. She gathered all her friends. Soon Liza, Kevin, John and George were all there. Anna described the whole incident that took place in her dreams. They even took Mr. Harry’s help. Kevin said, “But what good is going to happen with only some people?”
“Always remember children, in this world everything starts from one. Don’t be disappointed start you work.” Advised Mr. Harry.
All the children were so fascinated towards Mr. Harry’s words that they went to the big city garden and started planting trees. Many people were astonished, some even asked about what they were doing. Anna explained all of them and what a surprise, those people also joined their helping hands to assist the children. Not only that, they even conducted an awareness program about global warming. There they said that if Santa can love us so much, in return to that, can’t we sacrifice a little for him.
In the evening Anna, her father and all her friends went to the church. Anna looked at the crucified statue of Jesus and felt as if he was smiling at her. She knelt down joined her hands, closed her eyes and prayed,” Oh God, let no evil power harm our beloved Earth and bless the countrymen and me with so much of strength that we can abolish this hazard for ever, Amen…!”