There came a time in my life when I began to detest Christmas.
When I was a kid though, Christmas was kind of magic.
Santa was busy back in those days, bringing presents to kids all over the world, even distant South Australia. His heavy red clothes, long white beard, sled, and reindeer, didn’t prevent him from mysteriously appearing in Australia in the middle of summer – when 35 degrees centigrade was nothing out of the ordinary.
So there it was in our lounge: a synthetic Christmas tree covered in fake snow and bright coloured lights. Christmas dinner: roast turkey and vegetables followed by plum pudding and custard.
The air conditioner working overtime.
Even then I detected a kind disconnect about Christmas.
At the church I attended I heard about the supposed reason for Christmas: the birth of Jesus Christ. On the one hand this divine miracle and on the other, Father Christmas and his reindeer and a plastic pine tree covered in lights and the next morning, presents under the tree.
A time came when I was too old to believe in Father Christmas. I became rather cynical. Strip away the hype and Christmas was really just an orgy of spending, over eating and drinking; a consumer event accompanied by an advertising blitz. This whilst all over the world, there were so many people living in dire need.
From that point on, Christmas was to an event to be endured. The idea of having a memorable Christmas seemed impossible. I did my best to be somewhere in the world where they didn’t celebrate Christmas. Which was how I ended in a place which I thought was as far away from Christmas as you could possibly get: a small town in southern India famous for its Hindu temples.
Safe bet, leastways that’s what I thought…..