Father Christmas is spreading festive cheer among children
He’s making a list and checking it twice. Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice. Santa Claus is coming to town. A favourite of children everywhere, the big-bellied, jolly old white-haired man dressed in red seems to have landed in the city. And he can be spotted handing out goodies at the malls of Bangalore.
An excited Sirisha poses next to Santa at a mall, along with her little brother. “I’m meeting Santa for the first time and this makes me happier than getting gifts,” says the eight-year-old. All the same, she’s overjoyed when Santa hands over some chocolates to them.
The real deal
Keeping the story of Santa alive for children like her are the people who don the masks, the false beards and the signature costume every December. Adrian Cavinder, principal of an international school in the city, turns into Santa once his school closes for Christmas vacation. This time, the 59-year-old decided to jingle all the way to a mall in Rajajinagar, where he was seen sitting on a sledge full of gifts surrounded by fake snow. Excited children stare at him in awe; some murmur: “Wow, he is actually Santa!”
Mr. Cavinder says he first volunteered to play Santa when his brother-in-law, an event manager, was in search of one. Initially, he borrowed clothes and an artificial beard. But, he loved playing the role so much that he decided to grow his own snow white beard and buy a red Santa suit. He’s even been invited to sneak into a few houses and eat the milk and cookies left out for him! “As I enjoyed being a Santa so much, I decided I might as well look the part,” smiles Mr. Cavinder, who is originally from London. As his work revolves around children, he feels being Santa is a natural extension of his work.
Joseph, another mall Santa, says he has been doing this for over a decade. “Christmas is special as it is all about giving and I wanted to be a part of it. I’m just the delivery boy in this grand scheme,” says the 61-year-old.
But it’s not all about the gifts for everyone. Umar Rupparel, clasping the star given to him by Mr. Joseph, says he likes Santa because he asks for doing good and encourages giving the gift of love. Says the astute nine-year-old, “Hugs and kisses are free.”