It’s been bitterly cold here and winter hasn’t even officially started yet! (It starts tomorrow). The mercury was married to Zero-O degrees celsius for most of November this year. And yet my town has seen only a dusting of snow flurries. No major snow yet! Which is a mercy for all car owners and a bit of a let down for all romantics.
Guess which category I belong to?
Surprisingly, some of my friends from Mumbai have been talking about buying a sweater and Hyderabad has had a 9 degree C day. I have in my 22 years of stay in Mumbai never needed more than a thin cotton bedsheet through winter. I have never worn a sweater during my childhood. And now when I swaddle myself with jacket, sweaters, scarf, gloves and hat, I smile at the delicious irony of life.
Born in warm to very hot climates, I now live in icy cold temperatures. A complete turnaround. I used to look at pictures of Manali, Dehradun and fight the desire in my heart to go make snow angels. 🙂 Now I go out at -2 degrees, and pray that there is no wind blowing.
Last year, we had suffered (yes after the first few snows it is suffering) several snow storms. So this time round, We are thanking our stars we haven’t yet needed to dig the car out of a white mound.
But and here’s how I justify myself as a romantic, I am hoping for a white Christmas. Somehow, Christmas is incomplete without the grounds covered with ethereal white fluff.
What’s been making Christmas special the past 3 years, is the ability of the people here to give. There is a smile on everyone’s face, a genuine cheer, and hope. Times have been very tough for the average Americans, but the holiday season brings out their best. It does of course bring out all the burglars too. But hey every silver cloud has a dark lining.
I have been genuinely impressed at how much effort people put in to make the season special for the less privileged. Some time ago, several hundreds of volunteers built homes for Hurricane Katrina victims. Some of the top designers were there too, lending their skills. They weren’t building dwellings, they were building homes. Attention was paid to the decor, art work even the paint colour. That’s giving!! That’s powerful.
Apart from Oprah Winfrey’s usual fireworks (she usually makes history while giving away gifts during the holidays), several other shows give away fabulous gifts to a carefully chosen audience. Even if they are doing it just for publicity (as some cynics would say), at least they are giving to the right people. Not fat bonuses to fat bankers, or fat grub to fat bureaucrat.
Nor is it given with the knowledge of giving. During the several emergency situations in my life, I have found 3 types of helpers:
1. Pure helpers – People who help because you need it and they are there to give it. They never mention the act again nor do they go around talking about their benevolence. In fact some of them help and then disappear. It’s been my privilege to know these highest form of humanity several times.
2. Help to get – Epitomised by the greedy money-lender in Bollywood and these days by credit card companies in real life, these people help you in need because they see an opportunity to get something even bigger back from you.
3. Help to gloat – Some people help you as barely as they possibly can, sometimes even when you don’t want it. So that they can go out and tell the world they are great. 🙂 It’s been my misfortune to meet quite a few of this type.
Getting back to the spirit of giving, here I saw the glow in the faces of volunteers. This glow is that of a genuine helper. It cannot be faked. That glow warms me up this winter. 🙂 I love being human! I love the holidays! Happy holidays everyone.