Fiction Fragment: Ananthanarayanan on Christmas

Walking around in London, Ananthanarayanan suddenly knows why he feels cheated.

It was entirely his fault. As a child, he had read so much about Christmas in foreign countries, with films beaming families heaving with the weight of cheer and filial joy. However, it struck him that all these films were eventually about Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas itself. He had been fooled for years, into thinking that festivals in foreign, mostly white lands were somehow any different, or more cheerful than the ones in his country.

(Yes, yes. He is aware that India has a lot of Christians. But Christmas strikes him as foreign. He shudders. He must sound like a bigot. He likes to maintain that Christmas is as Indian a festival as any other.)

This was a well kept secret. Christmas was not as cheerful as Christmas Eve. As the day progressed, the greyness of the city seemed to drag its feet into the windows of households. After 10 AM, the enthusiasm died. People discovered that they had spent more on gifts than others had spent on them. They discovered that their loved ones thought they had body odour, were too fat or had thoughtlessly bought clothes with stripes. As an outsider, he felt he read people’s expressions far better. He was more objective. Plus, he was a Tamil man. He was born to be objective.

The shops were closed. People couldn’t even distract themselves with office work.

Sure, there were the famed Christmas lunches. But the excesses of the week before Christmas eventually catch up, and the plate looks too full. Clothes bought in the November sale don’t fit. The other trouble is that there really is nothing like a free lunch. It comes with families. As Ananthanarayanan had discovered the previous year, people were more likely to hate their families right after Christmas than just before.

But once in a while, he heard the echo of a mildly drunk laugh. It strikes him that people who are happy on Christmas are likely to be happy all the bloody time, anyway. They don’t need festivals to be happy. He envies them. And wishes he could slap them. All of them. Bloody happy bastards. All of them.

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7 Responses to Fiction Fragment: Ananthanarayanan on Christmas

  1. As the most prominent Ananthanarayanan that I personally know, (apart from my maama, my periappa, my athimber, my maama’s paiyyan and assorted other males of my extended family), I demand a royalty payment for the use of my name. And yes, I accept checks, Amazon gift cards or electronic fund transfers directly toward my car’s emi payments.

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  2. Kavi says:

    “It strikes him that people who are happy on Christmas are likely to be happy all the bloody time, anyway. They don’t need festivals to be happy”

    How neat is that ! How bloody neat !!

    Seasons Greetings !

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  3. Jeeves says:

    Like this. I always thought christmas was bright in foreign country and India doesnt do justice to the festival. Except for a lone poor star hanging in some houses, the spirit of festival is not felt here.

    Last para is beautiful.

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  4. Shefaly says:

    “…people who are happy on Christmas are likely to be happy all the bloody time, anyway. They don’t need festivals to be happy.”

    Except when they have flu. And when that flu coincides with festivals so they cannot smell or taste their own roast winter vegetables with balsamic and honey glaze 😦 OK?

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  5. Grasshopper says:

    Happiness, and, even more happiness, all the time happiness, is something non-existent. But yes, there are people who are cheerful, confident, gay, patient … no I don’t envy such people, I aspire to be like them.
    Sorry Neha, I just couldn’t help it. 🙂

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  6. anand says:

    An accurate capture of a Tamil guy ………… Very good characterization…. 😛 …… though with a few slight ‘nerudals’ like anantanarayanan’s reaction to drunk person…. kind of strikes a 40 ish guy tamil guy living abroad image……..

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