If you have to ask you'll never know ! [L.Armstrong]... thats Louis not Lance.

Dec 3, 2007

Cribbing !

The wheat was planted three weeks ago.. Not for the karif or rabi crop but for the crib. To line around the meadows of your little Bethlehem in Bandra. You get the figures together . Joesph and Mary in a football huddle over a missing baby Jesus. [ He can only be put into place after midnight mass on the 25th. ] The shepherds , one with a crook and one with a lamb slung over his shoulders [ Is it for warmth? Is it a fashion statement ? ] The donkey and the cow. Chewing their cud looking on at their manger being used as the delivery room. Angels doing their balancing act on the roof of the crib . The star that you hang from the curtain rod so that the tinsel drapes down to the angel like starlight. A flame that flickers with the cosy warmth of red and yellow cellophane paper. Wine shops would be visited to get the hay for the roof and to be strewn around the cow and the donkey. Liquor came packed in wooden boxes lined with hay then. Corrugated paper packaging makes for hungry stable animals. A mirror to look like a little Bethlehem pond. Then came the snow storm. Enough snow to make even the Hummer need snow chains on it's tires. Until Mr. Know It All Cousin Reggie told us it does'nt snow in the Middle East now and it did'nt snow in the Middle East 2000 years ago. So no more cotton from Bandra Medical { non sterile type } was flaked down.The crushed brown paper that formed the bricks and mortar of the manger was splattered with wet mud to make it look earthy and realistic. The three kings with their one camel would be genuflecting near the showcase far away from the altar to a baby Jesus they would reach only on the 6th of Jan. Every day they would move a little closer. Showcase to coffee table. Coffee table to sideboard. Sideboard to the pelmet for the great leap across the front door. Pelmet to fish tank roof. Drawn by the star with their gold , frankincense and myrrh. And the tallest of them says " Oh for a handheld GPS " . You wish ! The sheep inhabit your agricultural endeavaours in recycled plastic containers from Jimmies Kitchen and Pals Fish Fry.
All is well in the manager until the next morning when LeelaBai , the maid, troops in to work and you are away at school/office/putting up your mother-in-laws crib. She cleans and she dusts and then proceeds to rewrite the nativity. Mary is hanging out with the shepherds. The sheep cows and donkeys are being shepherded by Joesph. Two kings are heading towards Japan while one waits in line for his Amercian visa. And the tallest of them says ' Oh for a handheld GPS.' She's destroyed your hills and valleys of Bethlehem and it now resembles the plains of the Punjab. Wheat grass in neat orderly rows. Spin in your graves Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.
You being a purist reunite Joesph with his wandering bethrothed, and the shepherds with their wandering sheep. The three kings are once more looking at the star and their camel has been made to toe the line.
In the midst of it all lurks the Santa Claus candle. With a stringless snowman that can't be hung from the nearest Chritmas tree anymore. Baby Jesus safe on the altar hidden behind himself aged 6 and looked at by a slightly aged Joesph and Mary in their Holy Family avtaars.
Waiting for the heavens to open up and choirs of angels to burst into Gloria in Excelis Deo while he takes his rightful place in the manager and in our hearts.

2 comments:

Anders from Anderi said...

The family just did the Crib and Xmas decos this weekend and so much of this still rings true. I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry. Next installment on Xmas decos please - Threeee/Ishtaar/etc. We still import our stars from Hill road and have given a few to our neighbours.

Remember a sign outside St Andrews decades ago - Don't crib this Christmas...make one.

Bhavik said...

Total Recall! Leelabai's in her clean up queen avtaar is hilarious and so very true!
U know we have a "mixed" God altar in our home and I can't forget how we had this Catholic maid who refused to clean around the "statue of the infidel God" but was always careful with the Crib...If I was'nt a strong advocate of
religious tolerance, we would have been "maid-less" very swiftly..!

-Bhavik