Christmas Story

Thanks, everyone. It is a privilege to receive so much love and good wishes. Of course, I am privileged right from my birth because of the special date, 25th December! A birthday that is celebrated the world over. Birthday of the most loved Son, the apostle of love, compassion, and peace.

Interestingly, I was brought to this world with a bit of help from Annie Doctor; that is the way we used to address all doctors: name first and then the profession. Annie Doctor was a very lovable and caring doctor and a friend of my mother. My birth was at 12 past few minutes, the intervening dates of 24th and 25th December, and Annie Doctor created a great event by decorating her hospital with help from white-clad nurses and announcing the birth of a new Infant Jesus. Naturally, I don’t remember any of these, but my mother might have narrated this event to me more than a hundred times with an inexplicable joy on her face.

Then, at least for the next 3-4 years, I was the Infant Jesus in our neighbour’s Christmas celebrations, every time replacing the doll of Infant Jesus in the manger, part of the little cowshed, with me. Now again, I have no memories of this, but to date, the members of that family keep telling me such stories whenever I visit their home. And this was always endorsed by my mother till she was alive. But one thing I clearly remember is that the second eldest daughter of that family insisted that I should be the Best Man for her marriage, though I was only 9 years old. She also insisted that I should accompany the party, escorting her to her in-law’s home and staying back for a day and night.

Whenever I visited my hometown, my mother insisted that I pay a warm visit to Annie Doctor and tell her what I become, a kind of update about my growth. This lasted till I turned 50, and the doctor was close to 100; I am not sure whether she understood the update on my last visit as she was already in a different world, a world of her own. But I remember that she smiled and waved to me while parting.

At 61, I cherish these memories that influenced me a lot and helped me to understand the diverse, multicultural, multi-religious aspects of our great country.

Thanks again, dear friends.

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