Piklu woke up as usual -- to the sound of his didi crying. Piklu’s sister wakes up in the morning and without any reason starts crying. Generally she cools down only after a half-an-hour of crying. But if in between father comes and begs his favourite child to forgive the world for its folly, she pitches up the sound. He has to tell all sorts of false things to her to really make her stop whining.
There is one more alternative. Mother comes and gives her a tight slap. She cries for a minute or two more and stops. But between the beating and her stopping, Piklu wakes up.
Today was no exception. She had just received a slap and was in the process of falling silent. Piklu always wakes up when she is at her best, but doesn’t leave the bed until she slows down, which means the day has started.
So they both woke up and went for the tooth brush. Both had forgotten that only last night they had made some wishes.
Piklu was the first to remember, “Didi, where do you think my gun is?”
“That Santa brought last night.”
Tuli was sitting quietly in front of the tap. It’s winter and the early morning sunrays were very comfortable on the shoulder. She sprang up hearing Piklu’s words. She started running towards their bed.
“Wait for me, didi wait for me. Don’t leave me alone …”
Piklu was also chasing didi by this time. Both were back to their usual form.
By that time mother was putting on a new bed sheet.
“Where’s our socks?” didi demanded.
Mother pointed out to the floor.
“And where are the gifts that Santa brought?”
“What gifts? Are you day dreaming?”
Didi knows her mother doesn’t like her. So she gave the task to Piklu. Piklu embraced her mother and enquired, “Where’s the gun that Santa gave me maa?”
“What gun? I have no clue.”
“You must be sleeping when Santa came in. He came last night when everyone was sleeping. We know for sure.”
“You mean someone entered our house when we were sleeping? Oh my God! Did you see him? Was he with a gun??? My God! How he looked like?”
She ran to the other room to inform father about the stranger the kids saw. After some hollering about the man-in-charge’s inability to protect the family she cooled down. Father was explaining something to her.
She came back sober. She was again concentrating on her work. Her eyes met with anxious Piklu’s.
“No one came last night. Those are all in fables. Go, wash your teeth.”
“Nooooooo it can’t be. John always gets gifts from Santa. I know Santa had come.”
“Well, then, go and ask from John how he gets that.”
Didi was sure mother was just playing a trick. She knows where the gifts are, she is just playing with them. God knows why adults play with kids.
Didi winked and Piklu again embraced mother, “Please please tell me …”
“I said No! No gifts from Santa. Don’t disturb me. It’s already too late.”
The kids gave up after two hours of investigation. Except for the high racks where they cannot reach, they left no stone unturned. And was finally convinced, Santa gave them a miss.
So John really didn’t give him the right formula. Such a betrayal!!! It was time for Piklu to cry. And he sobbed a lot.
Evening there was a party at John’s. Christmas party. Time for that fat pig to show off. “See my motorcycle … see my gun … whoaw! That plane … all by santa!”
Piklu was determined to break his nose today.
The first thing he did after arriving at John’s place was to drag him near the bathroom and demanding an explanation. Wasn’t it a deal?
John pledged to be truthful. And something in his words made Piklu convinced too. So what went wrong? They were both in deep thoughts. Both had forgotten the wild party going on with confetti and chocolates and red and yellow sweet drinks doing the round. Both were sad and Piklu was happy because John was sad.
“I know why you didn’t get the gifts,” John sounded serious.
“Because you are not a Christian. Santa only gives toys to Christian babies.”
“Oh. What do I do to become a Christian?”
“Put Jesus’ photo on your house and go to the church every Sunday and be silent when people pray. Ask your father, he would be knowing better.”
“So does that mean next year I will get gifts?”
“Absolutely! Kill me if you don’t get one”
They had a huge fun after that. John for a change let Piklu use santa-gifted gun and declared in front of others that Piklu is his best friend!
At about nine their father came to take them home.
“I want to be a Christian baba,” Piklu declared.
“Me too. Make us Christians,” didi expressed her view.
“What!!! Who told you all these things?”
“Santa always gives toys to Christian babies. Let’s go to the market and buy a Jesus’ photo. Come,” Piklu was dragging his father towards the market.
“Oh no. Wait! It’s a terrible misinformation. I can buy you toys! Why do you need a Santa.”
“You will buy us toys? Hah,” didi did not trust father. “You don’t love us anymore. You didn’t buy me even a rubber when my old one became black. You were not like this before. You never beat me. That is maa who is always after my life. You also beat me that day, remember! You don’t love me anymore. It’s only Santa who can give us toys.”
“Yes yes! Let’s buy a Jesus’ photo,” Piklu was still dragging his father.
“Wait wait. What have you asked from Santa? Let me have the list. I know in which tea-stall Santa sits and sip tea all day long. Give me the list. I will catch him now.”
“Can we go too?” Piklu enquired. He has forgotten to write about a flute on the list. He will personally tell Santa.
“No. you kids stay back. He doesn’t give gifts to kids who go and meet him. He doesn’t like that”
They ran to their bedroom and found the list. Both their parents were having a conversation. Mother was very angry for some reason. She gave a burning look to didi when she was going to give the list to father. “Listen you devil’s child …”
“Oh … no please, leave them aside…”
“But … don’t you …”
“I will manage. Don’t worry.”
“I know you won’t be able to manage. Take this. … HEY YOU LITTLE BASTARDS … GET LOST FROM HERE.”
The kids promptly ran to their bed and opened their books. Suddenly they were the most studious kids the world has ever seen. They were convinced; their neighbors love them more than their mother does.
Father came back after an hour with a small bag and a gun in his hand. Yes, the same one Piklu wished for.
“Did Santa give it to you?”
“Of course. And he apologized for not being able to make it last night. He was scared of the dogs.”
“Oh, poor Santa. How he will make it next year,” didi was concerned.
“Don’t worry. Next year he will manage to come, he said. He will put on an invisible cloak and come. He said. And he said he loves all the kids in the world and you don’t need to be a Christian. Actually there’s nothing like a Christian or a Hindu or a Muslim. We all are humans and he loves all the kids, he said.”
“Oh … ok.”
But Piklu by that time was at a pitched battle with his invisible adversaries. He won’t let the enemy enter his house. He was shooting blindly at the bushes. Blood was oozing out like a river from the bushes. Green blood!
After having killed all the enemies, he came panting. Drenched in sweat. “Where’s the other toys?”
“Yes, where are the other things in the list, I didn’t get my dollhouse and many other things. Where’s my jewels?” didi too enquired.
“Oh, Santa fell into the pond in front of your school and lost everything. He managed to salvage only these. He has apologized again for this. Don’t worry next year he will come up with all things due.”
“Look Piklu! Mother is bringing a cake! Such a beautiful cake,” didi was very excited.
Santa’s cake was very tasty. Both the kids relished the plum cake. It was even tastier than what they had eaten at John’s.
Didi was the one to notice that.
“Mother, where’s your earrings,” she exclaimed. She wished to wear those earrings when she grows up. She always has an eye on those sparkling golden earrings. It’s the best she has seen.
“Oh, I just lost it. Don’t worry dear, Santa will give it next year. He has promised,” mother took didi on her lap.
“He better be, if he wants to see another Christmas,” said father and hugged Piklu tight.