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Friday, March 27, 2009

A Christmas Carol

I know! I know! This is March, and Christmas is still too far away. Then why am I writing about Christmas carols? Well, it is because a story shared by a friend made me remember a story that I had heard once.


It was a dark and gloomy winter night. He was alone at that lonely place he called home. It was supposed to be Christmas but there was no gaiety in his heart. The two friends he shared an apartment with were out of station for some work and would be returning sometime later, and here he was, burning with fever, with no food and medicines in the house.


With great difficulty, he summoned up his last reserves of strength, and decided to fetch a strip of Crocin and something to eat from the market. His lethargic feet carried him towards the centre-table, where the car keys were. With a sigh and a great effort, he picked up the keys and made his way towards the car park, stopping by at regular intervals to catch his breath.


He tried cranking the engine multiple times, but to no avail. The motor, which normally purred into life at the first turn of the key in the ignition, wheezed and coughed like an old lady. He tried to curse, but no words escaped his dried lips. On the umpteenth try, the motor finally struggled into life. He cautiously reversed the car out of the car park, and drove towards the market.


The world was a hazy blur and he was driving more by instinct, than by direction. A few minutes later, he felt the car was slewing a bit to the left side. He stopped to investigate, and found to his utter dismay that he had a flat tyre.


Despite having high fever and being battered by the icy fingers of the cold wind, he managed to pull out the jack, and remove the spare tyre from the boot. However, completely sapped of energy, he sat on the kerbside. Cars drove past him without bothering to stop. Some of them slowed down, but no one stopped. He tried calling his flatmates, but they were still nearly an hour away.


What a wonderful way to spend Christmas! Alone and frozen in the fog, by the side of the road, with no one to turn to for help. He remembered all those times when he’d been a good Samaritan and stopped by to help those folks who seemed like they needed it. Well, where were the Samaritans now?


In these dangerous times, a chap with dishevelled hair and three days of stubble, would probably look more like a robber or a highwayman than a decent person in need of help. Probably, that’s why people slowed down, but didn’t stop.


After god knows how many minutes spent in the cold, finally a car pulled up just behind his incapacitated vehicle. A big, burly old man got out and asked, “Looks like you have a flat tyre, son. Let me keep the lights on, so that you can change tyres without darkness.” After thanking the kind man, our hero got down on his knees and attempted to loosen the nuts holding the wheel in place. However, he must have been making really heavy weather of it, because the man said, “Move over son, let me give you a hand.”


To his horror, the man who was dressed immaculately in a nicely tailored suit that could have been an Armani knelt in the mud and took the spanner from his hand. He obviously protested, “No sir, please… you’ll ruin your suit sir… I‘ll do it myself, but please….”


The man refused to listen to him, and removed the wheel deftly. He replaced it with the spare tyre, and had the car ready to go within no time. He did not seem even remotely bothered by the fact that his expensive suit was ruined with grime all over. A stray spot of mud peeked out from his neatly-ironed white shirt too. Our hero was almost tearful with gratitude. He told the kind man, “Thank you so much sir. I am terribly sorry about your suit. Thank you so very much. Please leave me your card, and I’ll contact you for sure.”


The man merely smiled, waved off his protests, and drove off after telling him, “Don’t worry, son. I could be living on the North Pole, for all you know. If you want to thank me, just don’t break this circle, son. Never miss the chance to help someone. That’s more than thanks enough.”


A few minutes later, when his flatmates arrived, they found him unusually quiet and lost. They asked him about the tyre, and who changed it, and he whispered, “Santa Claus.”


He’s a big, burly old man with a kind, grandfatherly expression. He has a booming laugh and radiates cheer. He doesn’t ride a sleigh or have reindeer. But, ever since that Christmas day, I believe in Santa Claus. And yes, I’ve never broken that chain. I hope you won’t either.


Corinne Rodrigues nee Campos said...

What goes around, comes around, eh? :) - lovely story, Sauron. And thanks for the link.

Sauron said...

Thank you, Corinne! :)

Nikita said...

reminded me to be more human ;)

on a serious note, though, lovely as always! :)

Sauron said...

Thanks Nikita... :)

I guess we all could do with being more human...

Abk said...

very touching. brings back a lot of memories.. and gud ones at that.. :)

Sauron said...

Abhishek, as long as they're good memories, I'm glad! :)

Kadambari said...

Lovely story. The world would be a better place if we became a little more selfless. Very inspiring.

Sauron said...

Thanks Kaddu, and yes, we can all make the world a better place. Together.