Having spent 8 formative years with Irish Catholic nuns, with daily prayers and hymns, The Lord’s Prayer is instinctively my go to prayer. I feel the spiritual uplift in soaring cathedral spaces, the hypnotic processions of crimson clad cardinals, I have even attended Christmas mass at the Vatican. But for some reason I cannot remember the nuns doing anything extra special during the Christmas season.

A brown Santa Clause did arrive in a decorated van at the Defense Services Officer’s Club in Dhaula Kuan, Delhi immediately after the Fancy Dress competition. Ah- dressing up my little sister for that contest was a personal favorite of mine. Entire boxes electric blue, green and purple eye shadows were smeared all over her face (an act of permitted mischief that affected mom and the good girl), costumes constructed out of old silk sarees and curtains and of course, carrying various portions of my med school skeleton, I would also agonize over a suitably scary yet witty little speech that I would force her to rehearse till she was appropriately “cute” to appeal to the judges.

Took that prize home three years in a row!!

Oh yeah- there was that whole Santa distributing gifts to the kids who had been good. That lost its childish mystery when I was eight and saw the wrapping paper in my father’s closet. I was never that good any way.

Merry Christmas!!
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