Auld lang syne

NOSTALGIA IS back, once again. And the merry days of Christmas have turned Kochi into a scintillating show of celebrations. However, as everyone is warming up to welcome the baby of Bethlehem, in grand traditional way with spruced up homes and warm thoughts, a common yet strong feeling is gripping many old timers that the quintessence of Christmas spirit is missing.

Most old-timers echo this growing concern .The exuberant bonhomie and camaraderie found among families during Christmas celebrations is not present today. "The old charm and traditional values of Christmas have been lost. Today, we are observing an artificial, ready to fix Christmas with our artificial lifestyles," rues Mr. George Pazhampilli, a sexagenarian who values the lost ethos of Christmas.

In this high tech era , the much awaited festivities of Christmas have ceased to hold out the flavour of the past. It is fast shifting its presence from homes to clubs. Today it is the clubs, institutions and women's organisations that celebrate Christmas in a grand way. Alarmingly, children are getting alienated from the old fashionedChristmas celebrations. The good old days of children thronging the countryside to arrange the crib and adorn Christmas trees in their courtyards has become a thing of the past. "No one values Christmas as in olden days. Children no more decorate the crib, as they are busy browsing the net ," says 65 year old retired school teacher from Fort Kochi. She confessed that her three sons working in the different corners of Kerala seldom find time to visit her during Christmas.

Many admit that the old values and bonhomie of Christmas is fast vanishing in Kochi. the glorious traditions and rituals of Christmas too is undergoing a sea change. This is fuelled by the mushrooming margin-free supermarkets and seasonal traders. Step into one of this bewitching super markets and one can have everything for a designer Christmas. It is said that Christmas feasts should be prepared in one's own home. "Yes, while one can have everything for Christmas delivered right at one's doorstep, why bother?" asks a young computer wizard dwelling in one of the towering flats in the city. Truly enough, today one can have a sumptuous Christmas feast served on glittering paper plate, just by making a phone call!

In the fast changing Christmas scenario, propelled by quick fix remedies and instant food packs, readymade Christmas kits, designer stars and optic fibre Christmas treeshave just become the latest fads in the city. Many in Kochi feel that Christmas and its traditions are now truly celebrated only on television.

While the great festival is gradually loosing out its traditional charm, ironically what the Kochiites has in plenty is a plethora of discount sale, melas and trade fairs. Today, Christmas is getting more associated with sales and thus has turned commercial. Thus traditional Christmas is losing out at the altar of new age lifestyle, but is the Christmas spirit too missing?

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