Christmas

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The first twenty years of my life I had spent the Christmas day eating cakes, chocolates, ice-creams, decorating Christmas trees and the house and lately baking cakes. But this year it was different altogether 
In the morning I went to the Assembly of God church, along with a dedicated friend, Indy and had a lovely time singing along with the choir the melodious carols and clicking photographs. Then I had to go over to a place for an interview with a friend Leima! How does it feel to work on a holiday? That too, to work for something you are hardly interested in… So Leima and I ditched it and went on a tour to the famous Park Street. The street probably best for the city gourmands, because you have every kind of edible shops in there, well not “shops to be eaten” but the ones that sell food and beverages. From coffee shops to bars, to pizzas to French bakeries to cakes, to rolls and many more. DSC_2623
We were hungry, both for food and celebration. So we started off with a heavy and tasty Chicken roll from the Hot Kati Rolls. We wandered about the street giggling at every stupid joke, and the horribly funny looking goggles selling like hot cakes in the mood of festivity. Some were large stars of various coloured rims-purple, yellow, and several other neon colours, some people even wore beer bottle shaped goggles, Mickey Mouse shaped goggles and many more! I wondered what the buyers will do with those silly things later on. But that doesn’t really matter as long as you let loose the crazy self in you and enjoy every moment of the day.DSC_2643
It was lovely to watch everybody smiling and enjoying spinning their heads to show off the little white pompom ball on their santa hats. The roads were so well lit and the crowd kept on getting thicker, but never will you find any unwanted disturbance in this crowd. Because everyone here has come to enjoy and spend a memorable Christmas, so generally no one bothers strangers. DSC_2580
I tried 3 flavours of ice cream, at a stall from the “Café Chocolade” an innovative snack dealer, the Natural’s ice cream almonds, nolen gur flavor and the pan flavor. All the flavours were amazingly tasty. Then we got back to roaming aimlessly and waiting impatiently for it to get dark so that the lights and the decorations would be more prominent. Then as it got darker we went to the Alan Park and attended the programmes there and accidentally met two friends after several months. It feels special if anything happens unplanned or comes in as a surprise. As evening approached the number of red Santa Caps increased and it became difficult to walk in the road, transportation was shut down in Park Street and the two sides of the road contained streams of people and the Santa caps and the crazy goggles! We were probably walking at the speed of a few meters per hour! On our way we got lured into MacDonald’s and I grabbed another ice cream while Leima opted for a coke. The people behind the desk really tested our patience, they couldn’t understand a thing we said, all they did was to stare and mishear. We then tried our best to speak out in every language we knew and place the order. Then coming outside with our share (since the place was full) we saw a little girl staring intently at my large ice cream and walking down the stairs, who eventually fell hanging by her shoulder and started pleading her dad for an ice cream. Leima and I circled the street several times and clicked pictures of the beautifully decorated street. All went well until…. It was time to head home.DSC_2598
Leaving Park Street was a disaster! The crowd near the metro station was frightening. I tried every possible way to avoid my feet from stampede but did feel a few heavy steps crush them! I saw a very handsome guy, right in front of me with a backpack, but it was no time to look out for boys, I soon felt it with a sudden push from the left hammering me to the wall. But the handsome guy’s backpack saved me, actually I grabbed onto it quickly or else I would get pasted on the wall like they show in the Tom& Jerry cartoons. Now was the difficult task of proceeding toward the platform, everyone was trying to get in and out desperately and this desperateness resulted in absolute tantrum. The policemen were terrified, they could not manage so many people, even they got pulled into the crowd and struggled to blow their whistles to announce their authority. This metro station has two platforms on either side of the rail tracks, and only two exits on one side, the people coming from the other side have to come through the tunnel and exit the station from the only side with exits to the road. Leima needed not to cross over the tunnel so she made her way through the crowd and waited for her metro, while I had to cross over to the other side and go home. And I made the mistake of using the tunnel! Believe it or not, it took me 20 minutes to reach the top of the other platform! Though it wasn’t very hot yesterday, it was at least cool, in non crowded roads people needed to wear woolens. I had my jacket in the bag even though mom had advised it would be cold and so I needed to wear it, but at that point of time how I cherished the decision I made. I could see people getting out of the tunnel all sweating and sighing. I took a deep breath and stepped in and within a few moments I wanted to run out from there. It felt as if the temperature in the tunnel was above 35 degree Celsius! I could see babies screaming, highly made-up girls panicking with their make-up melting down, people wearing woolens struggling, and men trying their best not to get blamed for any misbehaviour. It felt like one of Hitler’s concentration rooms he used to torture and kill the Jews. We couldn’t breathe, everyone was shouting to get the crowd moving, but here was the tragedy, inside that tunnel one stream of men and women were going to the other side while another stream of people were coming from the other side! I was feeling so hot and sick without wearing any woolens that I thought how much trouble was it for the people who were heavily decked in woolens?? This thought kept me alive in the tunnel for the 20 minutes. Once we got to come out over to the destined platform it felt like I have just finished a battle and was returning drenched from a battle field. The sudden loss of pressure though soothed me it also felt a bit awkward as I stumbled a bit to every direction having lost control of my corporal movements. The journey homeward from now on was quiet normal, but the struggle prior to this had made me week. I knew on returning home after sundown it is difficult to get auto-rickshaws from the station to my locality, because of the rush hour you either have to stand on an anaconda like queue or hang all the way from a bus door. I had the energy for none, so I decided walking down the 3km distance. Luckily I got an empty auto-rickshaw and headed home, and even fell asleep for a minute in there, but a pleasant memory woke me up, guess what? I got a free journey back home. Courtesy? Kolkata Metro Railways, I guess it was a compensation for suffering inside the tunnel! The extensive flow of humans in and out of the Park Street Metro Station had forced the metro officials at Park Street to enable the emergency service and allow the visitors to travel free of cost. The immense pressure in the street and the tunnel resulted in several black photographs in my camera; the pressure had turned on the camera and had clicked many photos with the lens cap on!
Well then coming back home was a sign of peace. I just sank down in the sofa and thought of the sweet and sour experiences of the day.
So I guess even without the cake Christmas was well spent, and it proved that Christmas is not only about cakes and Christmas trees but much more.

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