Santa Claus looked at himself in the mirror. What he saw was a horizontally- challenged man in a red night suit. Enough is enough, he swore, his new year resolution, no more carbs at night. As it is he was finding it tough shimmying down chimneys. This was going to be a vital year — he’d set himself the task of spreading good cheer in the ‘difficult countries’. Russia and China he was certain would accept him, given their flags were red. Pakistan he would bypass. But modern India was the final frontier. He considered wearing black for its slimming quality. But Google politely informed him that black was what women of Islam wore. Plus they covered their faces. He was a fat Christian man, he certainly didn’t want to be mistaken for a rotund Muslim lady, however slimming black was. And if he hid his face, how would the kids know who he was.
His all-knowing brother Banta Claus said to him, “How in heaven’s name are you going to India, bro? I hear they’re turning 100 per cent Hindi. They’ll never accept you.”
Santa answered: “Uh! First of all it’s not Hindi, its Hindu. And what do you mean turning Hindu? You don’t just turn Hindu, like you turn 100 per cent vegetarian.”
Banta was a plethora of information — “Santa man, there’s this ugly-looking dude who’s vowed to make the entire Indian population Hindu. And another of his tribe wants to root out Christianity from India. You won’t be allowed into India, trust me.”
“But PM Modi has reassured all of us from the North Pole that we can get a visa on arrival into India,” Santa insisted.
Their third brother Ganta Claus piped in: “Yeah bud, but you can’t just show up with several reindeers, sporting names like Prancer, Blitzen, Donner and Cupid — there’s an email from some group called the VHP demanding that you better rename them Prateek, Bipin and Durga. Also Cupid will not be allowed in considering all the past troubles India’s had with Valentine’s Day.”
Santa’s wife butted in, “Honey, I have an aunt who lives in Amritsar, she suggests that you should consider getting converted — okay, Christian to Hindu for you is too radical, maybe you can become Sikh. We can change your name on your passport and Adhaar Card from Santa Claus to Santa Singh.”
“Does she also suggest that I convert my pom pom cap to a patka or turban?” Santa uttered
“No, no,” said his sister-in law, “Don’t go overboard, but are you sure that you’re dressed appropriately, you don’t want to bring notice to yourself.”
His wife added, “Plus I’m so done with your outdated clothes. Look how other God men dress. So smartly.”
“Yeah, we need to speak to Dolce & Gabbana about his styling. Only Brad Pitt can pull off such a feminine colour,” his eldest daughter butted in.
The Claus family were at sartorial crossroads. And then, Santa’s youngest son jumped up.
“I’ve got it, Pop,” Santa junior said, “I got it, forget this obnoxious red. Forget everything. If you’re going to India, wear saffron.”
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62 @gmail.com
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.