December 19, 2016, by International students

Free Falling into December

By Megha Viswanatha Rao from India, studying MA English Literature at The University of Nottingham.

A family photo in our traditional attire

A family photo in our traditional attire

When I left home in September this year, I told my mother that for the first time in my life, I’d see a white Christmas. Although snow hasn’t arrived in Nottingham just yet, there are also other things to be excited about. Christmas, for one, is being welcomed by Christmas markets, trees and carols, as the year subtly settles into its final month. With the holidays starting, some of my friends would be returning to their hometowns, while some will stay back and greet Christmas in Nottingham itself. On Tuesday morning, I leave to Tenerife, an island that is a part of Spain, and I can just tell the sun is waiting for me. What’s Christmas going to be like there? I have no clue. But I do know that whenever you celebrate something, you do it with people, so the more, the merrier? Where’s the spirit if you’re alone during such a lovely time? When does solitude slowly start turning into loneliness?

I’m going to Tenerife with my cousins. On Christmas, we will be opening the gifts we left for one another under the Christmas tree in our Cambridge home. My little nieces have been playing Christmas songs on their laptop since the start of December. It almost feels like I’ve got all the lyrics memorized. My eldest cousin is going to dress up as Santa Claus because his tummy is the closest size we can get to Santa’s. And then we are going to sit and eat mince pies. Bake cakes. Drink wine. Talk. Laugh. Have a good time.

Celebrating in Kerala

Celebrating with my family in Kerala

This time, last year, was so different. I can’t help but remember what it was like to celebrate Christmas in Kerala, India, the place my parents are settled in. We are all migrants from a rural place called Udupi, Mangalore, which is situated in Karnataka district of India. But I grew up in Kerala, and it feels more like home than anywhere else. And in Kerala, Christmas is pretty huge. Back home, we put up lighted stars outside our houses and decorate them. We make one mandatory fruit cake, something healthy that even my grandmother could have, without worrying about Diabetes issues. We have carols making rounds. I smile a little when I think of my dog, Dumby, barking at them, when in reality, she was terrified out of her wits. She hates crowds and loud sounds. I wonder if the carols have reached my house yet, and if they have, has Dumby made a big fuss again? I think of how all the kids in the neighbourhood got together and scribbled down their names on small pieces of paper. It was a game we played during Christmas time. We picked a Christmas friend from the lot and got them a present. It was called Chrismom- Chrischild. And then we bought plum cakes. Rang up our friends and wished them. Now it felt like it was happening on the other side of the world.

This Christmas is certainly going to be very different and special for me. It’s the first time I won’t be spending it with my parents. But it’ll be beautiful nonetheless, because despite everything, despite occasionally feeling homesick, how can one not be happy on Christmas? And besides, I have no right to crib about anything. It’s the holidays! And that means food, drinks, friends and a jolly good time!

So here you go, everyone. Merry Christmas! Have a blast and spread the love! Sending light and positivity to everyone who is going home or staying back, don’t forget to treat yourself!

Celebrating Diwali with my little sister

Celebrating Diwali with my little sister


Posted in Celebrations