Christmas: I made a dynamic Santa, says stand-up comedian Navin Noronha
Growing up in the suburban town of Bhayandar, in a pocket that was primarily filled with people from other communities, we Christians, who were just a handful, got only one occasion to spread the festive cheer
Gay stand-up comic artiste
Mangalorean Roman Catholic
Grew up in Bhayandar
I may have distanced myself from the Church after I became an atheist, but even today, I don't miss the midnight mass service on Christmas Eve. Growing up in the suburban town of Bhayandar, in a pocket that was primarily filled with people from other communities, we Christians, who were just a handful, got only one occasion to spread the festive cheer. And, we made the most out of it.
For me, especially, Christmas preparations revolved around the church. As a child and even in my youth, I was very active in my parish, Divine Mercy. Initially, I would serve as altar boy for mass, and later in my teens, I joined the youth group, where every year, we were tasked with different activities. One year, I made the Christmas star, on another it was the crib, and sometimes, I would participate in choir or the collection drive for the poor in our neighbourhood.
I still remember how during my engineering years, my exams would always fall in December, and once, I ended up failing my maths paper, just because I was so caught up with the preparations. There have been times, when we'd stay up the entire night in church, to get things in order. What I miss about those days, was the camaraderie we all shared. I also ended up excelling in making that star and crib, and sometimes, I'd put my creativity to use at home, too.
There was this one time, I made a well [for the crib] using a tea-cup, and arranged the fairy lights in the form of an Xmas tree, and, everyone thought I was being super creative. Also, since I have always been fat, I became the natural candidate to play Santa Claus when we'd go carol singing from door to door. That doesn't mean, we had a dearth of fat people in our church, but I think I was the most dynamic one (laughs)... I always was.
How to celebrate Christmas: Spend more time in areas inundated with Catholics, mainly Bandra West, most of South Mumbai, and Orlem, Malad. There's just a different joy one feels, while walking through the colourful Christmassy streets in the pitiful winter that Mumbai offers.
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