Estd. 2006
Christmas gift!

Mousumi Bhattacharjee

IT IS December 24 evening; festive mood is being swept over everywhere. He is sprawled back against a pillar of the porch with his pet puppy Bhutu. He wonders about a matter. Uneasiness and tension grabs him and his small round face looks pale.

Both Bhutu and he, are orphans, were abandoned by their parents immediately after their birth. He is being raised by an affectionate old childless window.  Chennama works in this cathedral as a cleaner.   Eight years back, in an early foggy morning of December, while cleaning the huge court yard with a broom, Chennama found a bundle of cloth, kept on the gate of the Cathedral. A feeble sound was coming from it. Chennama took that bundle in her arms and found a new born boy. It was him, Pappu.

Few months ago, he has found a new born puppy on the road side, alone and abandoned. He took that puppy, named it as Bhutu. Now Bhutu is his only soul mate, the companion of his all kinds of adventures. He keeps travelling here and there, collect pebbles, broken pieces of plastics, toys. Bhutu follows him like a shadow, and encourages him silently, tries to express his feelings by waiving his tale. The gift he gets once in a year on December 25 morning.  A small packet, wrapped with a colourful paper, is kept under his pillow every year on the Christmas day. He asks Chennama, “Who has kept this packet here?”

‘’Hmmm, Santa has kept it ‘’, Chennama replies smilingly. He comes to know about Santa, who gives gifts to children throughout the world. He never knows how Santa knew his likings, his desires! He had a desire of a small remote controlled toy car, got it last Christmas morning, under his torn pillow.   All his dresses are torn. He wishes to have a new set of cloths. But how does he convey this message to Santa?  He has expressed his worries to Father Joseph few days back. Father suggested him to write his wishes on a piece of paper and keep it under the feet of Jesus.

There was a mysterious smile hung on Father’s lip, and Father’s eyes were dancing joyfully. He has learnt the basic knowledge of alphabets. Pappu has opened the lid of a small tin box, where he keeps all his treasures. A wooden broken pencil, a greasy exercise book, his collected pebbles, is kept inside it. He tears a page and writes over it his wishes.  But repeated use of eraser makes the paper filthy! It might be a difficult task for Santa to go through his writings and understand the meaning. Pappu is ashamed of his handwriting and decides to practice regularly now.

Pappu keeps the paper secretly on the feet of Jesus on the early afternoon of December 24. A lovely dusk appears with a handful of stars in the sky of Bengaluru city. Pappu lay staring into it with Bhutu, he keeps thinking, whether Santa will fulfil his wish or not!

(A keen expressionist, Mousumi Bhattacharjee, is equally proficient in both literature and music. An experienced science teacher with M Phil in English Literature, travels widely, and feels good to share her thoughts, observation, and ideas about the society, culture, and environment with the intelligentsia. She loves new ideas and suggestions and is obsessed with creative writing.)

December 24 2022