aboutWe are Akila and Patrick. Our minds (and waistlines) expand as we travel, cook, and eat our way around the world with our two dogs.
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our santa

Christmas tree


On a Christmas day many years ago, my cousins and I played Sega Genesis on a 13-inch television, our mothers stirred pots of sambar in the kitchen, and someone placed a Santa hat on Thatha.  Our parents never expected to celebrate a Christian holiday a decade after they immigrated from India but, that year, they put up a Christmas tree to satisfy my generation’s need to be “like the other kids” in suburban Pennsylvania.  To our childish minds, Thatha’s round belly, white hair, and tortoiseshell glasses made him the perfect Santa Claus.  He took each present from the tree and placed the red and green wrapped packages into the eager hands of his grandchildren.

In the years since, we have dispersed throughout the country, distracted by the commitments of our own lives.  Thatha is 93 now, the weight around his stomach has fallen away, and his hands shake when he writes.  Yet, he continues to live as he has for the last thirty years, reading, traveling, walking, and writing.  When we see him, he blesses us and reminds us that we must exercise our minds and bodies to live a long, happy life.  And, at Christmas, he still dons the red fleeced hat and gives us our presents.  We grandchildren know better now: he is not our Santa because of his age or his hair color.  He is our Santa because his joy for life mirrors the happiness of the mythical saint we believed in as children.

* This post has been entered into the Grantourismo and Homeaway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition.  We hope that your holidays were filled with joy.

01/02/2011 12:36
Christmas with sambar does sound fun! I'm a first generation immigrant btw and found myself celebrating the holiday in less than 3 years since getting off the proverbial boat. My best wishes to thatha.
Priyank's recent blog post: Gudhi Padwa, 1993
01/02/2011 12:38
What a beautiful post!
01/02/2011 12:40
That is a lovely post! Thank you for reminding us of what the spirit of the holidays really means.
Connie's recent blog post: Happy New Year!
01/02/2011 12:42
That was beautiful.
01/02/2011 12:45
Agree with the others above - what a beautiful post, Akila.

Thanks for entering our competition again! Best of luck!
01/02/2011 12:47
Thank you Priyank! It amazes me how well people adjust now to new customs in the US and abroad because when we were young, we waited longer than most of the people in India to adopt "western" customs.

Notabilia, Thank you so much! I hope you had happy holidays!

Thank you Connie. The spirit of the holidays is sharing time with our family and memories, as well.

Thank you Dave and Deb!

Thank you Lara and, thank you for hosting these competitions! I always enjoy participating.
Akila's recent blog post: our santa
01/04/2011 11:50
That's a beautiful post Akila! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years and may 2011 bring lots of delicious travel for you! :D
01/04/2011 17:12
Thanks Lorraine! Happy New Year to you, as well.
01/06/2011 05:33
Thanks for your entry Akila, and Happy New Year!
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