Christmas in India after so many years

It was our second Christmas in India after my marriage. In this post, I will talk about our Christmas celebrations this year (2011).

It has been about 6 months after we moved from USA to India. Being closer to family was one of the reasons for our move to India. So we made sure we will be with our family and parents for Christmas this year.

One of the challenges in travelling from city to city in India is getting a train or bus ticket during peak seasons, especially during Christmas days. Advance reservation for train travel starts 90 days before the date of travel. On the day when the reservation starts for our intended date of travel, we woke up early, opened the Indian railway web site, typed all necessary information in a notepad and waited until the reservation opens at 8AM. Once the reservation was open, we finished the booking in few minutes before the tickets were sold out in less than an hour. (Later I figured out I had wrong information on the day the school would be closed for the Christmas but ended up booking the ticket 1 day before closing the school. Luckily, the exams would finish 1 day earlier and the last day was some special programs, which we missed.)

Kids rarely experienced train journey before. We boarded the train at 9:50pm and most passengers were getting ready to sleep. But kids started going up and down on the 3-level berths. We were afraid that they would disturb other passengers, but the 3 boys going up and down, falling down etc were more like an entertainment for the rest. We had separate berth for each one except the little Kevin. But when we woke up in the morning, John and Chris were on my left and right, squeezed in a single berth. Only disappointment was, I was expecting a lot of coffee and snack sellers in the train as I used to see during my early years of train travels in India. I think since it was A/c compartment and it was night, no sellers came in the train.

After reaching Kerala, one of the biggest challenges is driving around. I am using an automatic gear car in Bangalore, so was not very comfortable in driving manual shift cars. I borrowed a small car from my brother and used it during the 10 day vacation. We spent most of our vacation for shopping in Ernakulam, searching for schools in the area for kids (we are considering moving to Kerala permanently) and visiting relatives.

We were in Manju's home on the Christmas Eve. The traditional Christmas carol was really great and kids really enjoyed. We got lot of fireworks and John really got crazy with some of them. We went visiting other homes with the Carol. Most homes welcomed the carol with fireworks, snacks, cakes, coffee and so on, reminding us about our childhood Christmas days. This was one thing that we always missed in USA. However, Christmas in USA was much more fun. We used to get together with friends, have parties, eat, drink and had a lot more activities.

On Christmas day, we went to my home. My sisters' families also joined us by evening. It was a day of fun with lot of firecrackers, lot of fun stuff for kids and of course great dinner. (I always wonder how our moms cook so much food for so many people and never complain about not having any rest!)

It was a really great Christmas this year.



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