Sunday, January 22, 2017

Christmas Eve

"And Cindrella danced her heart out as graceful and elegant she can be. The beautiful Cindrella" read out Annie with excitement in her pleasant voice. 

She looked at Jinny, her 5 year old daughter who dropped her ears eagerly to listen to the rest of the story blinking her flimsy eyelids in between. Annie was a good story teller who knew the trick to put her impish daughter into slumber.

By the time the story got finished, Jinny was fast asleep. Annie glanced at Jinny's serene and innocent face. She relieved a deep sigh and moved a forward to kiss on her forehead. Just then, Lorden entered the room to check if Jinny was awake. Annie signaled him to keep silence. They both moved to their living room closing the door of bedroom gently. 

"How was your day at work?"asked Annie breaking the daunting silence.

"Hmm good" replied Lorden in a monosyllable unenthusiastically. 

 Annie could read her husband's mind. She made an attempt to unveil the worry bothering him. She asked "Are you thinking about the forthcoming Christmas celebrations and the barbie gift you promised to Jinny? 

"Actually, Mr. Jonathan's products didn't do well this year and the chances of bonus or pay hike is going to be a dream and I am afraid I couldn’t afford a Barbie this year?" answered Lorden dejectedly. 

Lorden worked in manufacturing department in Jonathan's firm. Mr. Jonathan is the owner of the firm which produced cosmetic and household products out of Agri wastes. Lorden has been working there from past 8 years dedicatedly with barely any absence from his work. Lorden's style of work often gained appreciation from his co-workers. Year on year Lorden has put more hard-work and devotion so as to earn good Christmas bonus. However, Mr. Jonathan being a miser never paid fully his taxes or bonuses to his employees. Even when the company did well, he paid in peanuts and now he has a strong reason to escape from this sharing. So, he declared losses to the company hinting the staff about the zero bonus for the year. 

"Lorden, we have come a long way with our sheer perseverance that paid us till date. We shall figure it out soon." Annie remarked consoling her dejected husband. 

"Ms. Wales was supposed to reply on the Bake House work. Did you hear from her?" inquired Lorden.

 "Not yet, but I am pretty sure on the deal turning in our favour" came the confident reply from Annie. 

Both said their good night prayers before calling off for the day.

The day next began with Lorden attending his work, Annie in her daily household chores and Jinny playing at their backyard.

Annie and Lorden had an arranged marriage but their mutual love and affection never ceased to amaze their families and friends. Both hailed from lower middle class families and they feared similar lifestyle for their daughter Jinny. The very thought of it was depressing and disheartening. Therefore, they worked relentlessly to make their ends meet, provide Jinny a decent life and fulfill her small wishes.

Lorden worked at Jonathan's factory while Annie worked at domestic households helping them with Baking, Cooking and Cleaning. They lived in the outskirts of a small town to the North of Hampshire. They lived in a quaint cottage with a single bedroom, a living room cum hall and a moderately spaced kitchen. From outside, the house looked dull with patches of faint paint here and there. But the house was well ventilated and was surrounded by bushes and a rusty fence to protect them from wild animals and reptiles. Theirs was the last house in the row and the muddy road ends abruptly at their house. The area is surrounded by huge mountains capped with thick forests on two sides. If anyone walked straight from their backyard they would find themselves in the woods in next five minutes. Yet, Annie and Lorden loved the place for the fact that that was the cheapest house they could afford in the entire town. But, Jinny was disappointed as she never had any children to play with in the neighborhood. The nearest house was 300 meters away, owned by a grumpy old woman who often gave terrifying looks. They lead mundane lives with the couple working their asses to earn  bread and butter and satiate Jinny's little wishes like a cheap pencil box or a piece of chocolate pie.

Time flew by; Christmas was just two days away. That night at dinner table Annie spoke merrily "Lorden, I am delighted we got the Bake house deal. We should be thankful to Ms. Wales".

Ms. Wales was a stout lady with curly hair hanging around her shoulder. She is kind hearted, benevolent human who lived with her family in the plush area of a nearby town. Annie helped her in domestic chores during weekends. Ms. Wales assured Annie of any additional work for Christmas so as to help her beat financial crisis. She has many contacts in the areas and helped Annie get in touch with the owner at the Bake house.

Lorden pompously gave a broad smile and expressed his elation by kissing Annie on her cheek and said  "Love, I knew this was coming. Heaven has never disappointed to grace us". That meant buying the barbie doll that Jinny had wished for the Christmas was inevitable.

For the next two days, Annie worked at the Bake house baking nearly 26 cakes a day. Bake house was looking for a good baker who could help them make cakes and cookies for Christmas. Annie was paid 2 pounds for each cake she prepared. This was later decorated with rich cream, nuts and sold at higher rate with a reasonable margin.

On the day of Christmas, Lorden and family attended mass at the Church in the morning. They came home and took rest for a while. Later in the second half of the day, they decorated Christmas tree with glittering bells and vivid decoratives.

That evening, when Lorden gifted the flamboyant barbie dressed in red, Jinny exclaimed delightedly “I absolute loved it. Thank you so much Mommy and Daddy. You are the world’s best parents. And…..I have something to tell you..actually kind of confession to make. Firstly, I am sorry. Without your permission I have invited a guest tonight who would be here anytime now. I hope you will forgive me".

They heard a door bell the next moment.

Annie opened the door and was surprised to Ms. Sequeira Daniel, their old grumpy neighbor at the door. Annie welcomed her and requested her to join the family in the living room. On seeing Sequeira, Jinny jumps from the sofa and walks towards her. Annie and Lorden glance at each other in astonishment.

Jinny meekly said "Thanks for coming Ms. Sequeira. Happy Christmas to you. Oh actually we are waiting for you. Please join us at the dinner table".

All of them sat on the dinner table. Christmas cake is served to Ms. Sequeira. Mr and Mrs Lorden served scrumptious dinner with wine and freshly baked bread. Post dinner, old women thanked everyone for a delicious dinner and staggered towards the door to take their leave. 

Just then Jinny said "Ms. Sequeria, can you wait for a minute? I will be back in 2 min".

Jinny rushed to her bedroom and came out with the new barbie in her hand. Looking at the old women she whispered "This is for you Ms. Sequeria. Please accept it” and extended the barbie to Ms. Sequeria.

Mr and Mrs Lorden looked at Jinny annoyingly. After all, that was bought with their hard earned money for their darling little heart.

Jinny further added "Ms. Sequeria, I know you stay alone all through the day. You must be feeling sad and upset sitting lonely all through the days and nights. I vividly remember someone mentioning that you lost your only son in an accident and since then you are all by yourself staying far away from this cruel and indifferent world. Hence, I have decided to gift this barbie to you on Christmas. I do not need a barbie anymore because I have found a family of own. I am no more alone since the day I came here from foster school last year. I have been through this pain of loneliness and therefore this barbie is for you so that you could play and chat with it. And God will never dare to take this away from you".

Tears rolled down from Ms. Sequeria’s eyes. She just looked at the little girl warmly, placing her hand on Jinny’s head blessing her. Her eyes expressed gratitude and she was out of words. 

Mr and Mrs Lorden winked at each other with their moist eyes and wondered if their daughter has grown up to this.

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