For more than a week, the ladies and the kids of our housing colony were excited about the Christmas party they wanted to hold on 25th December, that was yesterday. It has been a tradition in our colony; so, every year, the mothers of little and young children take initiative to host this Christmas event in a grand way… The colony is lit up with lamps and stars… there is a beautiful crib and a Christmas tree decorated by kids… This time around, the kids had given the snowfall-effect to make us feel it was so cold out there!
Last evening, the party went on till 11.30 (I did not attend; my wife did)… with carols, games, Santa’s gifts, music and dance… and, of course, lovely snacks, too. I had gone off to sleep quite early as I had to be up at 4 for routine exercises and walk. Slightly before 12, our doorbell rang. “Who could be this?” was my reaction as I dragged the sleepy-me to the door. As I opened the door, about seven of those brats – both boys and girls – screamed, “Merry Christmas and thank-you Gerry uncle.” They had come with a large-sized gift, beautifully wrapped. “Why all this, darlings?” I shied. “Uncle, just to say thank-you,” they cried with joy. (You see, I am the Hon. Chairman, and was a support for this party all the way!)… I enquired about the party… whether all had gone well… and they sounded terrific! “Chalo, so sweet of you to remember me… Go home and take some rest,” I said as I closed the door.
This morning, my wife and I got up at 4, completed our routine exercises by 5.25 and sharp at 5.30, we were down for our walk. What shocked me was the unpleasant sight: Paper plates, plastic glasses and gift wrappers and more such waste stuff were littered all around. I immediately realized, that someone had forgotten to place the dustbins (drums)… So, a small oversight had caused a rampage in the open space where the party was held. I immediately called our two young night-security men, Pandey and Das, and asked them, why they didn’t place the drums near the venue. “Sorry sir,” they seemed apologetic. Abhishek Patil and Shithij Golecha – aged between 11-13 and great cricket enthusiasts – were sitting near the littered site holding their bats. Obviously, it being a vacation, they had come to practice for their upcoming colony league-matches. But, how could they play? The open area was littered with mess. “You want to play sweethearts?” I asked. “Yes uncle,” they replied. “What is the problem?” I checked. “This… They showed me the mess.” “Did you both attend the party last night?” I enquired. “Yes uncle,” they admitted. “Did you both enjoy?” I probed. “Very much,” was the gleeful answer.
“Then, why all kids did this mess?” I asked them.
Well, it was not their fault… Somebody forgot to place the drums!
“Come, let’s clean it up,” I bent down to pick the paper plates, plastic glasses and gift wrappers. I asked the security to bring a trolley bin which was just twenty-foot away. The moment I bent down to collect the mess, the two kids and the security guards followed suit… It took just 10 minutes to clear up the mess and tuck it where it belonged… “Let’s go and wash our hands,” I said...
“Whose house is it?” I asked the kids.
“Ours, uncle,” they replied.
“Who should keep it clean?”
“You both are such wonderful kids… Thank you sweethearts… Now, go and play,” I sent them off patting their backs.
As I was doing my ten rounds of walk, I could delightfully watch how much thrill both Abhishek and Shithij derived doing what they loved doing the most… Cricket!
Once I went back home, I made some nice hot tea, filled it in a flask, put a few slices of plum cake and Christmas sweets in a container and called the security on the intercom. “Das, can you please come up for a while?” I said.
Das was a bit apprehensive, fearing one more morning lecture… But, as he knocked the door, he was pleasantly surprised to find the flask with hot tea and sweet box. “Just wanted to say, you guys have been wonderful… Thank you.”
Except my wife and one of our senior-most members, Bhadekar aunty, no one else knows what happened after the Christmas party…
Today, I wanted to tell this enchanting Christmas tale… So, I did.
Pic.: Anil Bedi