Jingle Bells .. Jingle Bells .. Jingle all the way!
Its Christmas time to munch our way and feel so happy yay!
So people, it is the happy time of the year. Christmas trees, carols, fruit cakes, snow (for some lucky people out there!) presents, and lots of red and greens.
Though Christmas is (originally) a Christian festival, for me it is an all faith happy time; a celebration of togetherness, love, peace and not to forget isnt it the King of the Holidays!
But the best part of Christmas that I like is the Secret Santa game.
Secret Santa (aka Secret Angel and/or Secret Friend) is a tradition where people in groups are assigned a person (which is a secret) to whom they anonymously gift a present. I have received my present from my Secret Santa this year and I am very happy; but my post today isnt about this.
I want to share with all of you of a true incident happening in Dubai, this festive season.
Navya (name changed) is a seven year old; who goes to one of the leading schools in Dubai.
During the first week of December every student in her class (Grade 1) was asked to pick names from a hat and the game of Secret Santa explained. But for the curios lot of seven year olds, they disclosed to each other who their secret angels and even went to the extent of asking what did they want as a present!
Z, Navya’s classmate had also done her bit and told Navya that she is her Secret Santa. Navya, like any seven year old loves to receive and give presents and had told Z what she wanted as a christmas present.
Every morning Navya would check if Z had an extra bag with her and was disappointed daily.
Z missed her deadline to hand in her present (to the class teacher) for her friend; now Navya couldnt take it any more and decided to take matters in her hand.
Navya: ” So what did you get me as a present?”
Z: “My mom said I am not allowed to get you a present.”
Navya: ” Miss will shout at you. She said we give our Secret Santa presents by today.”
Z (with a very disappointed look): “My mom said I cannt give a present
A very unhappy Navya gets home and complains to her mom that Z didnt get her any christmas gift and narrates to her what happened. Her mother consoles her that Z will get her gift the next day and not to worry.
But Navya is disappointed the enxt day too and comes home complaining to her mom.
Navya: ” I dont have a present”
Navya’s mom: “What you talking about?”
Navya: “Z is not getting me a gift. Her mother didnt give her a gift to give me. They dont like me.”
Navya’s mom: ” No dear, she must have forgotten. You will get it soon.”
Navya: “She is not giving me anything. She told me. Please call my class teacher and tell her to tell Z’s mother.”
Navya’s mom : “Are you that desperate for a gift? What do you want? I will ask your dad to get it this evening when he is back from work. Mole let me do my work now.”
Navya: “Please amme. Please call her and tell her what Z is doing to me. Everyone will get a gift and I will be the only one without a gift. Please amma”
Navya’s mom : “She hasnt done anything to you and so what am I supposed to tell your teacher? And we get you presents. Why do you want others’?”
Navya: ” Why is that you dont understand? Everyone will have a present and I will be the only one without one “, she now has tears rolling down those cheeks.
Navya’s mom” “Navya stop it now”
Crying Navya : “No one loves hgasdgflj”
Navya’s mom : “Navya stop crying. Navya. Ok I will speak to your teacher.”
Sobbing Navya : “When will you do it?”
Navya’s mom : “I dont know. Maybe sometime later”
Sobbing Navya: ” No now. Please amme”
Navya runs and gets her mother the mobile phone and helps her dial the number.
Triing Triing … Triing Triing
“Hello Ms. Seema. Hi, this is Navya’s mother speaking.”
“Hi Mrs. Ganesh. How are you?”
“I am good. How are things with you? I bet you are looking forward to the winter break.”
“Yeah. But before that I am busy preparing these kids’ Christmas party tomorrow. I hope Navya has told you about it. They have to be dressed in red and white.”
“Oh yes, she did. Actually I called to speak on something on those lines.”
“Oh why? Is Navya not coming for the party tomorrow? Is she okay?”
“No no. She is. I understand you have also arranged for the kids the Secret Santa and Navya already knows who hers is. And it seems that child told her that she has nt got her any present for Christmas. I am not sure how true this is. But do you suggest I drop a present for Navya? I dont want to mess her mood. Kids you see. And I am so sorry that I called you for such a trivial matter.”
“Mrs. ganesh. I am afraid what Navya told you is right. Z has not got her a present.”
“Oh okay. Why? I mean thats okay, i will come by the school tomorrow and drop a present for her.”
“Well there isnt a need for that. I had spoken to Z’s mom last week. I dont know what Z has told Navya; but the thing is her mother doesnt want Z to take part in this Christmas celebration because for them this is very Christian and they dont want Z to take part in any of the celebration associated with it. I tried convincing her that for the kids its all about fun and enjoying, but she doesnt understand. She doesnt want to send a present for Navya nor does she want Z to get a present from anyone as a part of Christmas.”
“Huh! Oh okay. Eeer but”
“Mrs. Ganesh, dont worry about Navya. I am handing the gift which Z gets to Navya.”
“So what happens to Z?”
“Oh lets not worry on that. That is what her mother wants! So that is what I am doing.”
“Miss Seema, I really think you must speak to Z’s mom. The matter doesnt end with my daughther getting a present. It is much more than that. That little girl is going to get hurt and more than that what is this being driven into her innocent mind? I feel …”
“I tried. I really did. But if that is what a parent wants then I must leave it upto them.”
“No No. It isnt right. When everyone has a present I dont want that little girl to feel left out. I hope you get my point and also…”
“Yes I do. But then there is nothing I can do about it. That is what they want. I am sorry Mrs Ganesh but I must hang up now.”
“Yeah okay. Thank you. Good day!”
Navya: “Am I getting a present?”
Navya’s mom (smiles) : “I told you will get one.”
“Woho. Jingle Bells Jingle Bells Jingle all the way”
Today is the Christmas party in the school and like the teacher said Navya and the kids would have gone home with their Christmas presents while Z might have gone home disappointed. I dont know who is right here, Z’s mother, the teacher or Mrs. Ganesh who wanted Z also to have a present for Christmas.
Why did that little girl have to go home disappointed?
Just because she belonged to a religion that didnt celebrate Christmas?
Does joy and happiness had a religion?
What reason would have the motehr given to Z?
What is the impact of all this?
What kind of person would Z grow up too?
How many more Zs would be growing up like this?
According to me religion is just a way of life; a framework to base your every day doings on. It should empower you to reason, teach you tolerance and most of all be sensitive to the people around you. What is life without happy and content fellow beings around you? For all of you reading this post; my humble request is not to raise kids with injecting poisonous thoughts about religion, caste, nationality or racism.
We are just humans and at the end of the day we will all have our own 6 ft box or would be that 54 grams of ash; there is no play of religion or nationality then.
With a prayer for a better generation than ours to shape up; wishing all of you a lovely and blessed Christmas. May the joy of the season fill light and meaning to all our lives.