In the blink of an eye, it's already the 3rd Christmas since I've plunged into the painful business of living off money made by myself. For the last 2 Christmases, both of them spent in Calcutta, I had managed to get myself to a church for midnight mass. I am hardly a religious person, but it just seemed like a fun thing to do - hang around and actually see masses of people on Calcutta streets at 12 in the night, a rare sight. Back in 2006, it was in the cavernous hall of St. James church that I managed to find a seat in. The 180 year old church looked grand in the light of all the candles, the only source of light used for that special night. 2007 Christmas Eve was spent at on the baclony of St. Peter's cathedral which was huge and unfortunately highly impersonal too. The hall was so large that the pastor seemed to speaking from across the sea and the hymns sounded like someone playing overused cassettes from a music system below. I'd make it a point to leave before the rest of the attendees began the whole "Merry Christmas" circus in between them. It seemed to me that this socializing on such an extensive basis puts paid to all the feelings of peace and calm that the service itself might have initiated.
Ironically this year when I am in a country where Christmas is actually the big thing to celebrate, I am grounded at home. Taunton is a small town so I never had too many expectations about Christmas from it. Still it does have many houses done up prettily with the lights, reindeers and St. Nicks along with the snow from last weekend's storm making for a picturesque white Christmas. New York is where the Christmas glitz really is, they say and that's where I was supposed to be right now! But my plans for New York got nixed at the last moment. I am yet to decide that was due to my bad (read non-existent) planning or just my bad 'karma'.