December Ramblings

I woke up this morning because the sun was in my eyes, and because it was cold, just a little. And the first thought that occurred to me was, it's December. For three minutes, I felt a familiar rush of excitement, a feeling I've gotten every year, on the first day of December. Then sleep took over, and didn't release me until half an hour after I was supposed to leave for work.

It's always reassuring, the feeling of excitement. I felt it at seven, at ten, at fourteen, at eighteen, now, at twenty-three. December's still my favourite month of the year.

When I was in school, it meant bringing out the blazer (after I turned twelve). Man, I loved my school blazer. It made me feel so grown up. I'd look at the brats who hadn't graduated from sweaters yet and I'd be all, ha-ha, snot nosed children with lice, I was one of you once (minus the lice), but now I am more validated than ever before, because I have my blazer.

I regret to say that this was a recurring monologue. It didn't stop after the first year or two, it went on firmly until I graduated.

And December also meant Christmas which meant PRESENTS. I've always had my list prepared since August. Post August, new things are added, old ones are removed. Finally, I decide on one big present, or maybe a few little presents. That hasn't changed. What's on my bucket list this year that I am hugely excited about?

A cycle.

That's right. I am going to re-embrace one of the facets of my old Delhi life and use a cycle to commute between home and work. But because I am grown up and evolved, it will be a mountain bike. In further evidence of my maturity, I've actually researched different cycles in order to short-list the one that's best suited for my requirements and personality. I will go to the shop and actually try it once before buying it (i.e. before my mother buys it). See, I am now sensible and careful and level-headed enough to care about these things. It doesn't detract from the joy. Nor the incongruity of being excited about a cycle at twenty-three. Twenty-four.

Which reminds me. In exactly a month and a day, I'll be twenty-four. That first grey hair I found is a poignant reminder that my youth is slipping away. But then again, I've been saying the same thing since I was about thirteen (minus the grey hair).On the bright side, as I was telling my father the other day, the hair was most definitely silver. This is extremely reassuring - my father's side of the family, whose colouring I've inherited, get silver hair as they age. Not grey. It's a very nice silver actually, quite attractive, so I will just let my hair go about its natural course and laugh at all the poor souls who have to hide their common, plebeian grey-hair with dye.

Although I devoutly hope nothing will show until I'm forty.

I have completely lost track of what I meant to write about - something to do with December and childhood and nostalgia, blah blah blah. I don't need to feel nostalgic, come to think of it. Last Christmas, I woke up alone in the room flat I shared with no one. For the first time in my life there were no presents, there was no tree, there was no Mum with smiles and hugs.

But the day was still beautiful and I felt grown up and I celebrated with rum in my coffee before going to my brother's to be with people I loved. So really, you could say I've made Christmas my own.

All the same, this year, I will be back in the Christmas of my childhood. Back in London. Waking up in Pria's room on Christmas morning, jumping on her bed, then going to jump on Rajeet, and then insisting on opening presents before breakfast, not after; and eating traditional Christmas lunch with about five hundred members of the family (just kidding, one of the regulars is arriving on Boxing Day so it'll only be 499 of us) and rounding off the evening with mulled mead and Monopoly (which I hate).

Those are the sort of things December brings me every year, though the forms they take on change. A pause from my incessant complaining and pessimism to just be thankful for my life, which is a pretty lucky one; and the comforting knowledge that it's absolutely okay to eat pudding three times a day because Father Christmas, no matter how old you grow, will always bring presents: a magical calorie deficit being one of them.

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