Christmas in Pondicherry

After an excellent Christmas at Agra in 2012

it was time for a decent Christmas celebration in 2013.

Why I call the Christmas in 2012 excellent?

1. It was the first Christmas I and my catholic wife were spending together in India.

2. We were very new in Agra and did not have a home.

3. Agra was bitterly cold and foggy with almost no sun.

4. I had joined a new job and my office was open on Christmas day.

5. I did not have a transport of my own and the local transport is not reliable at night.

6. The road in Agra, dark without street lights and deserted as night which ultimately gives you a feeling of insecurity.

 

When I was back from work on Christmas Day it was already 8-30 pm.

It was bitter cold out the dark roads were empty with a thick fog cover.

It did not seem like it was Christmas,

A day of celebration and merry-making.

Just like another cold winter night.

People preferring to stay indoors for the biting cold.

I was happy to find that my wife had managed to move to the new hotel alone,

with our huge luggage.

Although we wanted to spend the evening outside,

the dark, deserted and foggy roads prompted us not to risk venturing outside.

We ate our simple Christmas dinner in the quietness of the hotel’s dining room.

On that day I said to myself, Next Christmas we will not be in Agra.

 

On 24 December, 2013, afternoon we reached Pondicherry (also called Puducherry)

a French colony for many years, now a union territory of free India.

It has a fair amount of Christian population.

After checking into our hotel we walked down to the nearest Catholic Church

on Mission road.

It was an old church whose cleanliness, inside decor and paintings on the dome thrilled us.

The Church was gearing up for the last-minute preparation.

The big number of chairs in the open space suggested there will be

a huge turnout for the mid-night mass.

The priest also said that we must come well before the mass begins to have a seat.

The only concern left was how safe are the streets of Pondicherry after mid-night?

we have to walk back to our hotel after the mass.

Everybody we asked said that the streets are safe and secure even after mid-night.

Pondicherry being in south India has a tropical climate,

houses have no fire-place or chimneys.

Santa has to come through the door.

On our way to the church after dinner we saw women and kids busy

putting up colorful Rangoli designs in front of their house.

The shops along the street were brightly lit up had Christmas tree

and other Christmas decorations, “in the air there is the feeling of Christmas”.

Lindsay also dressed up for the occasion with flowers in her hair.

The road in front of the Church was closed for traffic by night.

There was a huge turnout for the mass, inside the church was full

The outside chairs were full. People who did not get a chair sat on the floor.

The mass started a bit late and stretched for two hours and was in Tamil,

the language we Do Not Understand. 

Never mind be it in any language God is God.

My wife was very happy as we walked back at 2-30 am to our hotel

with our hearts filled with Joy.

It was a Merry Christmas after all.

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About Sanjoy Dutt

Sanjoy Dutt, an engineer, and a linguist is passionate about traveling and writing. He has lived and worked in various places in India and Nepal and now lives in America. While exposed to the struggles of life in early childhood he is a strong believer that challenges in life makes you stronger. He and his wife Lindsay enjoy exploring areas of the US and occasionally struggle with the pots and pans in the kitchen. Sometimes the experiments are delightful.​ Sanjoy has written travelogues and short stories for various journals in Bengali and English. As a child, Sanjoy loved drawing pictures. He has done all the illustrations for his book 'Calcutta in Shorts'.
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