It was a cold winter evening and the darkness was slowly engulfing the valley. People were out on the road, some enjoying the late evening walk others finding their ways towards the market of the town. As the valley was being engulfed in the darkness the festive mood of the residents and the signs of joys of festivals were making their way in the mainstream life of people and made their presence felt in the city. The Shops were lit with colorful lights and Christmassy carols and the jolly songs were played on the tape recorder. The market looked as it was bathing in different colors from different corners of the market. It seemed that the town has found its purpose for some days to come.
Generally Kasauli was a regular hill town with plain and monotonous life. In this boring blend of life for this small city, these were the times when the whole town forget about everything and celebrate the festivals of happiness and joy. It seemed that no one was happier that Jesus was born than the residents of Kasauli. Their happiness was evident from the long line outside the pastry and the wine shop. A cold evening, a good spicy meal, a warm bonfire and a fine glass of wine, what more could anyone ask for from life? Ah, yes and a delicious dessert of cake. Kasauli was on vacation.
Mr. Smith was as usual sitting in his study by the window overlooking the road. He had his cigarette in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other hand. He was just sitting there staring at the people going and coming, people dancing and singing and celebrating. After looking through the window for a while, Mr. Smith got up from his chair and began walking down the room. He filled his glass and again went on to sit on his arm chair. The maid then came to the room to tell him that the food was ready. Mr. Smith asked the maid to put the food in the freeze as he would eat it later. The maid was going to take the leave when Mr. Smith called her and took out some leaf of money and gave it to her and said to buy cake for her children. The maid was filled with joy. She blessed Mr. Smith and wished him a hearty Christmas. Mr. Smith nodded his head and returned the greeting with a smile. It had been several years since Christmas had been celebrated in the Smith residence. Mr. Smith always used to say that there was hardly anyone close enough left for him to celebrate Christmas with. Usually he used to get to bed early on the Christmas Eve, but this year he had been up surprisingly. He was staring at the little quarters of tea estate laborers down the road from his house. He could see a big and beautiful Christmas tree in the center of the quarters and the lights all around. Children were playing all around the tree and singing jolly songs. Mr. Smith was taking sips from his drink and looking at the raw happiness and joy of the little souls. The residents of the quarters were too poor to afford separate trees for each family so they used to club their money to buy one giant tree. So, Christmas was more like a social gathering for them.
Amid all these celebration, Mr. Smith’s eyes were searching for a small boy who was nowhere to be seen. He was his gardener’s son, a small boy of twelve or thirteen of age. He had a lean structure but always wore a smile, he was a curious kid. He usually came to the house with his mother and used to sit and play in the study with Mr. Smith while his mother worked in the garden. He was very excited about the Christmas and had been waiting for the day for a long time. The boy was probably the last person with whom Mr. Smith felt comfortable with and used to talk to him for hours. Mr. Smith used to tell him stories and was also teaching him to read and write. He used to demand different sort of stories from Mr. Smith and Mr. Smith used to quench his thirst with different stories of magic and thrill. Mr. Smith always used to wait for the boy. But today the boy was nowhere to be seen.
Lately the boy has been asking all sorts of stories about Christmas and Santa and Mr. Smith had been telling them all about them. He also told him about the gifts Santa come bearing at the Christmas Eve. Mr. Smith can see through his window the little sock on the gate of the boy waiting for the gift.
Late at night when everybody was about to go to bed and the celebrations were coming to the end, Mr. Smith decided to take a walk. He put on his overcoat and took a bag from his table and went for the walk. He went to the quarters and stood there deciding whether to knock on the door and ask for the boy but he refrained to do so. He decided to ask for him from his mother the next day. Mr. Smith stood there for a while in the dark and finally put the bag on the doorstep of the house and walked away towards his home. The bag read, with love from Santa.
The next day when the gardener came to work, Mr. Smith asked about the boy and she told him that the boy was sick and at home. Mr. Smith took the whole account of his health and offered some money to the gardener and went back to study.
At night when there were still lights going on and people celebrating Mr. Smith heard the doorbell. He went to the door to see one of the boys from the quarters at the door. He had an envelope in his hand addressed to Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith took the envelope and offered some candy to the boy. He then came to his room and opened the letter. It was a handwritten letter written by the little boy. He told all about his health to Mr. Smith and how he was getting better.
In the end he wrote, “You know Mr. Smith, Santa is real and he delivered me lots of Gift. I’m writing this letter on one of the pads he gave me. I am very excited to tell you all about them. I will come soon and tell you all the stories of the Christmas and the gifts of Santa. Put out a sock by the door and probably he would send something for you too, Merry Christmas to you.”
Mr. Smith put the letter on the desk and again sat by the window looking out to the merry people of the merry world. He had a smile on his face. He raised the glass and said “Merry Christmas” and sat by the window in holiday bliss singing, “Jingle bell, Jingle Bell……”