The Secret Santa

The Secret Santa

5 mins 16.9K 5 mins 16.9K

Dec 22, At office:

It was the day of Christmas celebrations at office. The Secret Santa game was on. She also got a gift to be given to someone randomly in the team and was thinking about what she would be getting this year. Book, Photo frame, chocolates, pen stand, some utility item. Sigh! She reached office. The day was filled with fun activities, games and secret gifts. She got a ‘laughing buddha’ which she placed at her desk. The snacks and cake were ordered for the team. She took some snacks and a piece of cake in her plate. Everyone was on an eating-spree. She felt bad for herself. Her dieting for past 2 months has already gone in-vain with the team lunches, celebrations at office and celebrations back at home. She felt guilty. Could not eat the cake. Kept it down and later packed it. She thought of giving it to her daughter back at home instead. She giggled and shrugged it off.

She called it off for the day and reached her usual bus-stop. Waiting for a bus was a painful task. She was tired and eager to reach home and get some sleep. She was checking the FB notifications on her mobile when she saw him.

A small kid, 2 years old probably, with shabby clothes and no footwear. He was pulling her kurta, babbling some stuff and looking into her eyes. He was asking for something. Some money. She stared at him for a while and started searching for something in her handbag. The boy seemed optimistic now. He started tapping her leg and repeatedly babbling "Madam, madam".

She was skeptical. She was just searching for her headphones. She felt bad. She does not give money to beggars, instead if she is carrying some eatables, she just helps them with it. Today she was not carrying anything as lunch and snacks was planned in office. Oh wait! She remembered the piece of cake she packed while leaving the office. She looked at the kid still standing there gazing at her with his brown black eyes.

She remembered her daughter's face. Oh kids.. They all are the same!! She took out the cake and offered it to the kid. The kid was elated. He stared at the cake for sometime, then stared at her. She smiled. He smiled. Then he shouted and called a girl (probably his sister) who was selling balloons at far corner. The girl came running carrying a pink balloon. The last one. The kid broke the piece of cake into half and gave it to the girl who instantly gulped it. The girl found it tasty. It was visible with her gestures and facial expressions. The kid was not in a mood to finish the other half so quickly, so he took a small bite. He was happy too. And then they started to walk. Together. Then, he turned back and waved. She could see his small content face, his gleaming eyes and his other hand strongly holding onto the half eaten cake piece. And then, she saw the pink balloon with a smiley-face on it. She now knew who her Secret Santa really was; this time. She got the best gift this Christmas.

Dec 28, At home:

It was a usual day. The alarm clock buzzed. 7 in the morning. I got up, took a bath, made unfruitful attempts to wake my daughter up and then started off with the household chores. The domestic help (I call her Maushi, which is a Marathi term used generally to address house help/maids) was running late. I glanced at the wall clock and sighed. I was about to give her a call when she arrived. "Kaay maushi?!" I had a little chit chat with her and asked her why she is getting late frequently. She told me about her grandson keeping her awake at nights. (Oh yes! she is a grandmother to a 2 month old, but let me tell you she is just 40 something! and definitely does not look like a grandmom! :)

I clearly remembered my mom keeping awake like this at nights, taking care of my new born daughter few years back. I sighed. Oh kids.. They all are the same!! I smiled and told her to check on the cleaning stuff while I prepare the breakfast and lunch. I asked her to hurry up as I was getting late. Clock was ticking. Being a working mother is a big task! I went back to check on the sleeping beauty and made 2nd unsuccessful attempt to wake her up. My mother-in-law took command of the kitchen for the meantime. She was preparing tea and asked Maushi if she will have some. Maushi generally refuses. But she agreed today. She told that she could not have her tea and even did not prepare her lunch today. I overheard their conversation. She works in 5 houses and reaches back her home at 4 in the evening. She sipped the tea quickly and got engrossed in her work. I packed the lunchbox for my husband and he left for office. Maushi's work was also done. She told me so and went to our neighbor’s house. She works there as well and then goes to a different society. While she was leaving, I told her to come to me before leaving for the day.

After half an hour she came back. I asked her to wait. Packed a lunchbox and kept in my daughter's school bag. Packed another lunchbox and handed it to Maushi. She was amazed. She tried to decline and said that it was not needed. I laughed and said "2 more rotis is not a big deal! You should have your lunch properly. The champ is waiting back at home to trouble you more!" She laughed, and was staring at the lunchbox. She thanked me. Then, with little awkwardness, she took out an apple from her small bag. She asked for a knife. I gave it to her. She sliced it and gave a half to my daughter. My daughter giggled, took it, thanked her and waved us bye. Off she went to school. Maushi told me that she kept an apple today as she could not get anything for lunch. I smiled. She smiled. Then she took my leave after giving lots of blessings.

The Secret Santa game was still on!

Santa disguises this time in 'a 2 year old shabby kid' and a 'Madam'(Oh! I don't like that word! but still!! :)

Merry Christmas all and May you have a great year ahead!

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