Archive | December, 2010

It’s like the Cheers theme song

27 Dec

Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, not small, but circumscribed, which is inevitable when you live in a small town on top of a mountain. Kodai is large enough so that if you walk into town, not everyone will recognize you, but its small enough so that when the obituary people (who drive around in a car announcing the names of the deceased – yes Kodai is weird) state the names of the locals who have died, my grandma will go (in tamil) “ohh peter the taxi driver! aiio pavam (so sad), I know his mother. Her husband used to have that small shop in the budge. He used to cheat all the tourists” (I’m unsure whether she was talking about the taxi driver or his father – probably both).

Sometimes living in this circumscribed circle is suffocating, for instance, buying any sort of contraband is annoying because we’re still wary that locals who know our parents will report back to them about our ‘activities’. Thank goodness for ‘Smoker Satans’ – teashop of essential supplies.

Smoker Satans

Anyhoo, what was I rambling about? Right. A circumscribed life. Though sometimes its tough, I love living in Kodai. I realized just how amazing this place is and the people who make up my community are, this Christmas. I’ve never been in town for the holiday and this time since Resham and I both happened to be here, we decided we would go caroling. We had no idea who would go with us, where we would sing and which songs we were going to sing but we were determined to do it anyways. So on the fateful evening, nine of us showed up and we all quickly realized that we’d completely forgotten the lyrics to most of the carols. We decided to stick to ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ and ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ – these being the songs that we were SURE about. We walked over to the staff houses, all set to spread the love of Christmas..and quickly realised that most of them had left the mountain. The troops started to lose their morale so Resham and I insisted that we hold a trial anyways and so the first ‘person’ we sang to was: …. Ms Block’s dog

After that performance, we hit the town and sang at the hospital, the polio home, Pastry Corner (we were rewarded with brownies), sang at a couple of other houses (with people in them this time) and ended up at this oold British lady’s house. The plan was to sing them our three carols and leave but then they gave us booze, so we sat down on their couches and sang other carols for them (they had sheets with lyrics) for another three hours amidst a LOT of laughter. We even sang a round of ‘ Are You Sleeping Brother John’ in different languages 0_0. yeah it was good booze. By the time we left we were all happy and warm (no, not just because of the alcohol) and Resham and I were so proud that we’d pulled off caroling.

The next day was Christmas Eve, so my sister and I set off to the chapel for the service at 5 p.m. The chapel looked lovely bathed in a yellow light, with a pretty decorated Christmas tree next to the piano and the pews filled with people listening to the string quartet.

The service was lovely,absolutely lovely. There is just something about singing in the chapel with so many people, some of whom are singing the harmony to everyone else’s melody, with accompaniment from the piano and strings, that just made me so happy. I was smiling all through the carols. And we sang some of my favorite carols. It sounded so good..it was one of those rare times when you’re just beaming at everyone and you’re not at a rave.

After the service, everyone mingled in front of the chapel – tourists and alumni both. There was coffee and many aunties had made cookies and sweets and were handing them out. I met my pre-school teacher, my seniors when I was a freshman in high school, other friends from town. Everyone was so happy to see each other – this could also be because of the sugar rush I’m sure everyone must have been experiencing, but gosh, its so good to be loved isn’t it.

My sister and I had dinner with the Chettri’s and then headed home. We exchanged presents at 12:oo.

It was the loveliest Christmas I have ever had.

Kodai life may be circumscribed but I would not change it. Everyone has their ‘bubbles’ that they live in, and its to these bubbles that we retreat to when the real world becomes too much of a nuisance.

It’s like the Cheers theme song : You wanna be where everybody knows your name/ And they’re always glad you came/You wanna go where people know, people are all the same, You wanna go where everybody knows your name.

Goodnight, dear void.