The Christmas Gift.

 On the christmas night,the chillest of the winds blew as I walked past the street, my hands felt icy, my teeth chattering their own music, my heart dancing on its own tunes and my mind hoped that I reach home on time. Moreover I was eager to see the gifts Maa had got for me.

The snow covered roads,the houses accessoried with shimmering lights,the humming sound of christmas carols; every single thing appeared to be coordinated with the other. Even the night seemed to be decorated beautifully by  the glittering stars and the gibbous moon. As I advanced towards the bridge, which is  usually calmer than the summer seas,was filled with the echoing sounds of laughter and giggles.And then I realised; how festivals can give a person a reason to smile,a reason to be happy. 

As I reached the other end of the bridge, the appetizing odour of freshly baked plum cakes made me feel hungrier. Ignoring the urge to eat them, I continued walking,this time I walked faster.My house was about forty five minutes walk from the bridge,I looked for cabs but could not find any.

After walking for a few more minutes,my foot felt extremely cold, I looked down to see what was wrong,to my surprise I noticed that I had stepped into a frozen puddle and my foot got stuck inside it.And then in my struggle to carefully take my foot out of it, I broke the zip of my newly bought,’CARTLON LONDON’ , brown, calf-length boots.After a lot of struggle,I finally managed to take my foot out of the freezing cold water.On doing so I felt as if it was the happiest moment of my life.But my happiness did not last long, as even before I could sense it, the snowfall began.The chillest snowfall of the year had begun,the violent winds made it impossible for me to walk.So I decided to run,in my attempt to run,the zipper that I had broken earlier, unzipped my booots. So there was no way that I could walk or run either.The strom was growing wilder and there was no way I could go home. I decided to seek help,but could not find any single person in the entire street.The street at the end of the bridge does not have many houses, you can not even find a lot of people there,so I lost all hopes that I could get any help.

And then I came across a house,at first sight anyone would believe that no one lived there, as even on the Christmas night,  it had no decorations,no fairy lights,no Christmas trees,nothing. But the light coming from the windows indicated that people lived in that small house in the lone street.I decided of going in. I approached the door and knocked it thrice.’Does someone live here?’,I asked .There was no answer.Just as I turned back to head for some other place, a pair of wrinkled hands opened the door.’Merry Christmas’, I greeted the old lady.’Merry Christmas to you too’,she wished me back, without much enthusiasm.’Come in, the storm is growing wilder’,she  said politely .I stepped in and sat into a red velvet sofa,next to the entrance. The lady sat beside me in chair that was kept next to the sofa. Though small, but the house was beautiful.’I actually need some help’,I said hesitantly.’I live nearby,I have broken the zip of my shoe…’, I continued. She handed me a cup of hot chocolate and some cookies. Though I never liked hot chocolate much, but that night, I loved the hot chocolate or whatever she have me.Sipping from my cup, I said,’ And then this storm started..I need to go home’. She looked at me from under her specs and smiled.’ ‘That’s okay dear,I think I have a pair of snow shoes that would fit you perfectly,and an umbrella…don’t worry you’ll reach home safe and soon’she said. I thanked her for being so kind.As she stood up to arrange the things for me, I gulped in the cookies and the hot chocolate together.’Do you live here alone?’I asked breaking the silence.She nodded.’What about your family?’ my series of questions continued.’Try them’,she handed me a pair of boots and said.’They fit me well,thank you’,I said.’Can I ask you something if you don’t mind?’, I whispered.’Yes you may’,was her answer.’ All houses in the city are decorated for Christmas, everyone is so excited,so delighted ;but I don’t see any sort of enthusiasm in you, I just wanted to know why’,I spoke without thinking anything.’Don’t you celebrate Christmas..don’t you celebrate happiness’, I asked curiously.’Have you ever seen people celebrate despair?’,she asked me.I stood there confused, how could Christmas be sad? I was puzzled until she continued.’You asked me about my family..remember?’ Her teary eyes made me regret having asked that.’ My only son, daughter in law and grandson lived abroad..every Christmas they used to visit me..my grandson would be eight the coming year’,she spoke slowly but clearly.’That’s nice’,I said casually.’I used to eagerly wait to hear that Merry Christmas grandma from him..and the way he would pull my cheeks and giggle endlessly .’,she continued. ‘Are you sad because they did not visit you this time?…I am sure they must be stuck up somewhere…’,I told her in a consoling voice.’No,because I won’t be able to visit them the rest of my life’,I stood dumbstruck.’Three years back,on 25th of December,on there way here,their plane crashed..none of them could be saved’,she said,her voice shaking.I said nothing..rather could not think of anything to say.There was dead silence all around,until my phone rang.”Maa calling”,it flashed.’I think I should leave’,I said without wasting much time. She gave a blue umbrella and smiled,wiping of the tear from her left eye.’Ah! blue,that’s my favourite colour..but when should I return the umbrella and the boots to you?’, I asked. ‘Keep them as Christmas presents!’,she told me.’Thank you so much..not just for the gifts but also for being so kind and helpful’, I smiled.She smiled back.’I wish I could give you a gift too’,I said and turned back and headed towards the door. Secretly I so wished to bring a smile on her face, but I kept walking towards the door.Then an idea struck me.I turned back and walked towards her.She looked at me,knitting her brows.I went near her and did something she never expected.I pulled her cheeks with my hands and gleed.’Merry Christmas grandma’,I said cheerfully,wiping off her tears.’There’s no better gift than this you could give me’she said.More than her words,her expressions conveyed her delight to have heard that.I left.

That one Christmas night taught me many important leasons of life.Perhaps,it’s not the festivals that matter but only the people you celebrate them with make it joyous.And it’s not the presents that make people happy but the feelings they are given with is all what matters.That night taught me that no materialistic thing can beat the power of love and affection.That one Christmas night changed my entire perspective towards life.

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