Children

Night time visitor

Anita was eager to see what Santa would bring her. But, Anil was unconcerned.

It was Christmas Eve. Anil’s younger sister Anita was so excited that she couldn’t get to sleep.

“What do you think Santa will bring us?” she enquired for the nth time.

Anil had long since outgrown his belief in Santa Claus, but respected Anita’s faith in the great gift-giver. “I’m sure he will,” he said. He knew that the doll was wrapped and ready. Their parents had bought it the day that Anita had been unable to tear herself away from the shop window where it was displayed.

Soon after midnight, Santa Claus paid a visit. He struggled to push a big parcel into Anita’s stocking. Anil, who hadn’t known that his father owned a Santa Claus costume, controlled his laughter. Anita was wide-eyed with wonder.

Gifts in the stocking

“Is it really you, Santa?” she said, putting a small hand into his big white-gloved one.

“Who else would it be, dear Anita?” said Santa, in the gruff but kind tone.

“And have you brought us presents?” said Anita. Santa had squeezed himself into an armchair.

“Oh yes! I think you’ll find what you want in this box,” said Santa, indicating the colourful rectangular object sticking awkwardly out of Anita’s stocking.

“What about Anil? said Anita, turning towards her brother. Anil gave the little girl a hug. It was so like Anita to think of him in the midst of her own happiness.

“Anil didn’t ask me for anything,” said Santa, taking out a list from the pocket of his red suit and studying it closely. No, I’m afraid I’ve received no request from Anil.” As Anita’s face fell, Santa added quickly, “Of course, that doesn’t mean I didn’t bring him something. Anil is getting what he has wanted for a long, long time.”

Anil was puzzled. Whatever did his father mean? He knew that his parents were going through a rough financial patch and had told them repeatedly that he would wait for his birthday in May for anything they might wish to give him.

Two things happened at the very same moment. Santa Claus vanished, and the electronic keyboard that Anil had always wanted appeared on his bed. Shortly after, the children’s parents entered their room.

“Still awake?” said their father. “You could have come to church with us. Anil, why are you staring at me? Is there anything wrong with my clothes?”

“Merry Christmas!” said the siblings drowsily, as they dropped off to sleep.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 9:52:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/night-time-visitor/article25788027.ece

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