In the Kumar household all festivals are celebrated with much delight and festivity. They believe that every festival is of importance and therefore their children have been brought up understanding the reasons for such celebrations and the history behind them that holds great meaning and significance. Shefali and Mayank would listen with rapt attention to all the stories narrated by their parents that depicted various festivals and as to why people celebrated them.
Approaching the last week of December of every year, the joyful season of the holidays and the essence of Christmas are usually celebrated worldwide. The best part is that all schools are shut for the vacations. This is a time of fun and laughter for one and all…renewing old ties, strengthening bonds, rejoicing, celebrating and hopes for happiness and peace to reign in the coming year. Christmas trees are decorated, gifts are exchanged, tasty dishes are whipped up, and melodious music floats around while the children are pampered and spoilt. The pets have a splendid time as well with all the treats and oodles of love.
Christmas is also the day when the Kumar family celebrates Tashi’s birthday. Li’l Tashi came into their lives one cold morning in the month of February. He was lying curled up outside the door, terrified and hungry as he had just been attacked by a pack of dogs. His parents and siblings were nowhere to be seen. He was about six weeks old then, judging by his size and behaviour…they have no idea about the exact date but the little girl of the house, Shefali called him their Christmas gift and thus Tashi’s birthday is celebrated on 25th December every year.
Mama Kumar says, “I don’t know if we rescued Tashi or Tashi rescued us as he has brought in so much joy and happiness in our lives.”
So Christmas last year was when Tashi turned eight. Having grown up with the children, he was more like their buddy and the three played together endlessly. He was a favourite with the neighbourhood children as well. On the eve of his birthday and Christmas the kids took him to the park for a special treat and even gave him a small cup of vanilla ice cream! Tashi just loved all the attention. On the morning of Christmas the whole family trooped out for some shopping for last-minute gifts, a small cake for him… Yes, all for him mind you… small knick-knacks and decorations. In a tiny road-side shop, they found the cutest stuffed Santas…including a ‘Paratrooper’ Santa hanging from a parachute! “I want a small li’l Santa just for myself, to hang on my cupboard,” said Shefali excitedly. So they finally found one to her liking, picked it up and made their way home.
While Mama Kumar got busy with the household chores, Tashi was being molly-coddled by Shefali and Mayank. Shefali had quietly hung her new Santa around Tashi’s neck, on his collar. “What an absolutely delightful sight I must say,” said Papa Kumar when he saw Tashi as he had the Santa cap on his head as well! Whenever Tashi saw the Santa red cap, he knew good things were in store for him… So he could be seen licking his chops in glee as the delectable aromas wafted out of the oven.
After a hearty meal was enjoyed by all and Mayank had taken Tashi for a short walk down the road, everyone decided to get into bed and watch the television together. One tends to forget your surroundings especially if everyone is tucked into bed with an electric blanket and a cosy duvet to boot. Tashi was at their feet, probably in ‘la la’ land as everyone had presumed, but Shefali who usually couldn’t stay without hugging Tashi every few minutes found Tashi arduously busy with a task.
“Oh my goodness Tashi… What are you up to?” gasped Shefali. That made everyone jump out of their warm, cosy beds. He had demolished one of Santa’s green fur-ball ears and was all set to chew on Santa’s cute pudgy nose! With a loud shriek from Shefali poor Santa was rescued but Tashi looked pleased as punch as he had certainly not appreciated Santa hanging around his neck of all places!
“How could we reprimand our Christmas angel in any case!” said Mama Kumar. “He looked so adorably cute with a look of pure innocence.”
Even though a rather wobbly and lop-sided Santa was hung back on the cupboard, the Christmas cheer continued and the bantering and giggling continued into the late hours.That night the kids slept soundly with Tashi tucked firmly between them and smiles on all their faces. There was just one wish on all their lips, “May joy, peace and love that are wonderful ingredients for a festive season reign and may the spirit of Christmas dampen any negativity being generated. Pets have this amazing character of spreading unconditional joy all around.”
I am sure most of you have pets, or have kept pets, or are wanting to keep one desperately. Animals are God’s very own special creatures that help us form a stronger bond between nature and mankind. Dogs are highly intelligent, faithful and sociable and have been man’s companion since time immemorial. They give us pleasure and teach us better ways of living life with patience, contentment and love. Remember, always be kind to animals and you’ll gain from this.
- duvet: a type of quilt
- bantering: exchanging of good-humoured remarks
- time immemorial: long-established