Childhood Signifiers for Winter
Christmas is here. This year, as I geared up for the occasion - especially the ritual of decorating the Christmas tree with my daughter - I couldn’t help but think back to my girlhood. Studying in a Catholic convent as I did, Christmas was an eagerly awaited time of the year and undoubtedly the highlight of the winter season for us in school.
For me personally, though, there were always two signifiers of the season – apart from the nativity play in school, it was my mother’s silk sarees and shawls coming out of the almirah (wardrobe).
|This is one of the silk sarees Ma had gifted me - worn in Dec 2014.|
Christmas in school was a rehashed affair. I remember, in my final year, I was very relieved to think that it was the last year I’d be going through it. Couldn’t really blame myself. After all, every year, for 14 years, I’d seen the same nativity play enacted in school and sung the same hymns. There was immense excitement about it in my childhood, especially on the occasions I got a part in the play. But in high-school, I felt bored. And the songs too lost their magic for me.
But Ma simply loved the carols - ‘Silent night’, ‘While shepherds watched their flocks by night’, ‘O come all ye faithful’. On Christmas Eve, I dutifully sang all of them for her in our balcony. And as always, our neighbour Minku aunty would compliment me, saying: ‘khub bhalo hoyechhe’!
This year, I sang them to my daughter.