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     Volume 4 Issue 27 | December 31, 2004 |

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Slice of Life

Santa Gets It Wrong This Year

Richa Jha

When Santa came calling last Christmas with presents galore, mom said that was because he felt I'd been a good boy. Few days ago, mom announced that it was Christmas season again, and that I'd better have my list up for Santa. I asked her if I had been a good boy this year, and she said, "You decide. I can tell you what makes a child good." She rattled off certain non-essentials like eating proper food at regular meal times, sharing potato wafers and chocolates and even toys with friends, wishing all uncles and aunties hello, and sleeping early at night. I wondered if Santa was buying the gifts all for himself. Where would he find such good boys to surprise them with his presents? Maybe at the North Pole. At least I was certain none of my friends was getting anything from him this year.

Which would be just the kind of revenge I wanted for all those boys and girls who bully me. I decided to try being all those things Santa is happy with, and then when he would leave presents for me and not for them, …can you imagine how wonderful it would be to show off my Santa treasures.

I like Santa. Mom says I used to be scared of him when I was a tiny baby. I'm sure mom is just making it all up, because I have never been such a little boy! Uff. Mom, and her silly baby stories. I'm not like a few of my classmates who cried last year and hid behind our teacher when Santa walked in. Fact is, I like Santa, and I like all Santas. I like the one who comes to my classroom and distributes gift boxes to all of us; the one at my school winter fair who makes me sit on his lap; the ones I meet at the other parties who give me lots of sweets but nothing much else (mom says that's probably because we reached these places late); but most of all I like the Santa that comes to my house.

I have never seen this Santa because he visits my house only at night. Mom says he looks like the other Santas I see elsewhere- all round and big- but he is the best because he gets me the best presents. In fact, he is the only Santa who reads my e-mails and my lists and gets me exactly the things I ask for (and he adds several surprises from his side too, and I love him for it). He is my best Santa friend. Mom says he tip toes gently to see if I am deep in my sleep, and makes sure he doesn't wake me up with his "Ho-ho-ho". I must admit I don't like the other Santas when they do this.

I once asked the park Santa to run with me and catch me across the field. Will you believe it, he was so fat he couldn't even run?! I don't know why he was behaving like the dwarf-man clown I saw at the circus. At one moment he would hold his tummy up tightly and at another, suddenly start tickling his beard and moustache, and then lift up his hands and say, "I give up. I can't play this running game anymore." His mamma shouldn't have given him so many chocolates to eat. Mom says if I eat more than one bar of chocolate in a day, I too will become fat like Santa.

When mom announced that Christmas was round the corner, I knew I had to be a good boy. Last year, he'd forgotten to put in the space-ship I'd asked for. Mom said I should have been even better than the good boy I'd been, though I personally feel Santa may not have found it at the North Pole toy shops. These Dhaka shops don't have them either; trust me, I've looked enough. But I decided not to take any chances this year. I would be the best boy he'd visit this year, so he'd have to give me everything on my list. Everything. Even that big scooter mom and dad have been refusing to buy me. Since I don't know the alphabet yet, mom said I could draw out my wish list. Don't tell this to mom, but I cheated there: I made maasi do all the drawings, and I just coloured them. But I was certain Santa wouldn't notice.

I did my best. Each day at bedtime, I would ask mom if she thought I'd be Santa's favourite this year. She would hug me and say, "I'm so proud of you." I assumed it meant a yes.

Our count down began nine days (that's only as far as I know to count) before Christmas, and every night I would dream of Santa taking me to the park on his sleigh. Mom has been quite tied up of late, so I'd not been able to show her my list. Unfortunately, for the last two days she was in bed with high fever, but suddenly last evening she jumped out of bed and said to dad, "Oh my God. Tomorrow's Christmas! And I haven't done anything yet…". Whatever she meant by that, but she asked me to show her my letter to Santa. Dad was soon sent out with a set of instructions…

I was the first one up this murky morning, and like every year, was ecstatic to find presents by my tree! But this time, Santa seems to have got it all wrong. Instead of a pokemon card, I had received a pokemon tattoo; a Pooh pencil in place of a Pooh mask; a toy scooter rather than a big scooter I could ride around the house; and several more of these goof ups. When mom sensed my disappointment, she threw a fiery glance at dad, but all he managed was a feeble shrug. I think they also had an argument after that, "Will you ever do anything right…?"

Poor dad. What did he have to do with this? Mom is being unfair with him, as always. Anyway, I think I know why Santa didn't grant me my wishes: he was unhappy because I had cheated with my list, remember? Next time, I have promised myself, I will be a very good boy, and shall write out my list myself. Then Santa will be very happy. I know it.


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