As the world awaits the coming of Santa and the sack of joys that he carries on his back, I reflect on the deeper meaning of the celebration of Christmas by narrating the story of a recluse boy, named Abel. This story is of this five year old introvert boy, who sat quietly in the classroom while the rest of the children in his class jumped with glee on hearing that this Christmas Santa would come, showering them with gifts and goodies.
Abel’s extreme quietness was disturbing for his class teacher. While the children dispersed into the playground, in groups of threes and fours, Abel sat in the classroom vigorously colouring his book. As the teacher approached him, he quickly shut his colour book and lowered his gaze, as if caught doing some crime. The sadness reflected through his soft round cheeks that hung low till the teacher stood. Realising the uneasiness of the child the teacher left, caressing his head. Touched by this gesture, Abel lifted his head and looked at her till her image became faint in his eyes. Then he looked down again and continued with his colouring.
Days passed and so did weeks. Abel remained the same shy boy in the class. December approached and there was intense activity in the his class, as December also meant a month long vacation after Christmas celebrations.
Finally, it was the Christmas eve, children were rejoicing and were ready for a long vacation. But, Abel remained unmoved. He waited to see the Santa. His eyes glimmered with awe as he saw the Santa approaching the children of his class. His plump face had a subtle smile, which he tried concealing, but as happiness always has a way out, so Abel too naturally flashed his charming smile at the Santa. As the Santa came closer, Abel spread his hand. This time not take but to give him something. Surprised by this gesture, Santa asked, “What is this my child? I have come to give you this gift of love, but I am surprised to be gifted by you.”
Being his reticent self, Abel did not utter a word. He gave him the envelope and took the “gift of love” from Santa. Everyone left. It was time for vacations. Amidst the rumpus, Abel walked down to his house thinking what would Santa do with the envelope. His faith in Santa made him keep a calm composure. One fine day when Abel was lying on his bed at his home he heard the door bell ring. Something in him told him to follow his mother to the door. As she opened the door, Abel, who came till his mother’s thigh when standing, peeped from behind, hoping for something that no one knew.
Addressed to Abel Charles, C/O William Charles, his mother became curious and quickly opened the letter. Able sat beside her, looking blankly in her face. She seemed touched and quietly handed over the letter to Abel, which read,
“My dear friend Abel, I am good here. I got your letter through Santa. He said that you don’t keep happy like you use to earlier. I was very happy to receive a letter from you. But promise me that you will go back to your old naughty self, laugh and befriend others in the class. I cannot come back, but you can find me in whoever you wish to. I am always there with you, my friend. Write to me again, next Christmas. This Santa will come every year to you till you know where I have gone. Yours forever, Federer.”
As he perused the letter, Abel’s mother could notice the heights of emotions on his face. Passing through anxiety and then a complete changed expression of contentment, Abel stood up, smiled and asked her mother, “where is the Christmas cake?”
School reopened, Abel was seen in different form altogether. He had lost his closest friend Federer a year ago on the day of Christmas and waited for the Santa this year to reach to him and know about him. Things changed for Abel. One letter from a lost friend made him reconnect with himself and with the beautiful world around him. His teacher who was worried about him finally sighed in relief.
Time passed. But nobody came to know who was Abel’s Santa.