|Ballet in front of our Christmas tree, Bbay, Dec '89|
Long time ago in Bethlehem,
so the Holy Bibles say,
Mary's boy child Jesus Christ
was born on Chri-istmas Day!
Hark! the herald angels sing, as we gather round our fires. Impossible that it is really snow on the trees outside, and not the cottonwool we used for our Christmas tree in India. We had a real one growing in our garden, and a little rubbery one for Santa (and our presents) inside. On Christmas Eve, a softly gathering chorus would wind its way up the gentle slope where we lived. It would fall silent, and coins would tinkle, and then the music would drift towards us again. The Salvation Army singers. How I miss the sounds of hush and harmony, and the lantern that lit their journey for them, and lit them for us. And on Christmas day, we did the strangest thing. We went to Breach Candy Hospital, and mooched around from ward to department - each one more heartily decorated than the next. There were delicate mangers and tinsel and baubles and food! And we were three little kings and queen, the children of Dr and Mrs Tayabali, who were both adored by the staff, and we basked then as we do now, in their reflected magic.
I am basking now in the reflected magic of my big brother and trying to absorb as much of his life experience and brisk global summary as I can before he heads off to new lands, new skills. And contemplating the turns in the roads awaiting us. For just around the corner, my little brother and his wife, five months pregnant, feel far away, and yet so dear. The blanket is knitted and awaiting its owner. I think Aunty Shaista is ahead of the game, for now, but let's see what Uncle Riz comes up with!
Do you remember my brother's wedding took place on an island called Nikoi? Well, there were only 40 of us gathered in that jewelled setting of sun and sea... and five of the couples are now expecting babies! Five! So on that happy note, I wish all of them safe deliveries, with stars colliding and magic manifesting; and wish you, dearest of readers and writers, Merry Christmas!!!