’Tis the Season: Christmas, gifts and everything in between.

A reflection on how X Mas ’17 went. #Christmas2017 #AuthorGauravSharma #SpeakUpWriteAway #FamilyDiaries

This, my dear friend, is a Christmas Tree with balls, ribbons and some other cool stuff.

December 21, 2017: It snowed a little too much in Metro Vancouver. Had I been in the warehouse today, I would have shoveled off the snow. Luckily, I was out with the delivery guy. I came home a little late and was tired as hell, yet I had enough energy left to finish writing my short story. I opened my laptop, and before I clicked on my word file, I decided to revisit some photographs of last year’s Christmas. As I was glossing over the album, memories of some good old days propelled a sporadic phenomenon in the Universe. Confused? Those memories brought a smile on my face. You would barely and rarely see me smiling, and that is why it is a phenomenon, one of a kind! A few minutes later, I started working on my short story. Time went by quickly, and in about one hour I was done with my work. The clock was ticking 11 in the night. Also, I had to go to work next morning, so I decided to go to bed, err… the couch I mean.

December 22, 2017: I woke up at six, as usual, got myself ready for work and left home. Everyone was sleeping except Amrita. She too was getting ready for school. Not that she is a student, she teaches there! The temperature was minus three degrees, and it was windy outside. I reached work but did not want to do anything. I soon recalled the photographs and videos I saw last night. Time went by so quickly that I never realised it has been more than a year since I am staying with some beautiful people here. It seems as if I got my home away from home and a family in Canada. Submerged and lost in my own reasoning and speculations which might sound stupid to others, I pondered what am I going to give everybody for their Christmas present. What was the wait then? I quickly utilised my workplace internet to search for some cool stuff for everybody at home. After spending some time surfing the web I realised I am unable to decide anything. I had no clue what to buy for everybody that could be of some use to them. Puzzled and confused I shut the computer and thought of going to the store the next day. It was confirmed to me that I have a weak sense of shopping. Besides, it is a fact that I have a horrible style of clothing.

While coming back from work, I thought why not buy some greeting cards first and then decide what else I can get. Thus, I went to a Shoppers Drug Mart nearby. I peeped around and found an aisle filled with cards. I was overwhelmed with the quantity, design and types of cards I saw there. I had never shopped for the cards before and thus, had no idea that buying cards would be that challenging for me. The warehouse is closed for 10 days, i.e. from 23rd to 1st of January, so I was not at all in a hurry. I took all the time I could possibly take and selected seven cards to the best of my knowledge and belief.

While walking towards the bus stop, I saw an IHOP Restaurant.

‘Anjali likes pancakes!… And who doesn’t??’ I thought in my mind and rushed inside.

‘What can I get for you?’ asked the staff member.

‘Hey! I have never been here before. What does it cost to get a fulfilling meal for one?’ I asked her.

‘I think 20 dollars is enough for one person for one meal. You can get enough at that price.’ She smilingly replied.

That was the first time I ever entered an IHOP Restaurant. ‘Okay. Give me four $25 gift cards!’ I nodded my head in affirmative.

‘Ah! Christmas shopping, eh?’ she asked.

‘Yeah! Kind of.’ I said while she was doing her transactions on the gift cards.

She handed me four gift cards and wished me a Merry Christmas. I wished her likewise and went out. After de-boarding the SkyTrain at Metrotown station, I thought of buying some more gift cards as only four would not suffice. Thus, I went to Tim Hortons nearby and bought four more cards worth $25 each. There was a Subway restaurant nearby. I went there, purchased a sandwich for myself and another $25 gift card from there too.

‘Now that should be okay!’ I thought joyously.

December 23, 2017: The warehouse is closed for 10 days starting today. One central mission in my mind for today was to package Christmas cards. I shut the door of my room (again, an infrequent event as I always keep my door open for everybody) and decided to Google some fresh ways of putting gift cards inside the greeting cards. Google was all set to go fetch the results but instead of searching ‘Cool ways to place gift cards inside greeting card’ I searched ‘Gaurav Sharma’. Yeah! That’s right, I searched my name and Wikipedia page popped up. I knew it was going to happen, but still, I did it. I am a little self-obsessed with my Wiki page. After all, it was once in my thoughts only to have a Wiki about me and my works. Today, it has become a reality which is losing its thrill day by day. So what if I have a Wikipedia page? Hundreds of thousands have theirs on Wikipedia. Does it make me any unique or privileged? Does it change my actual social life? No! Never! It is all in mind.

Anyways, again I could not find anything nicer than what I was thinking of doing.

‘Wait! Have I written anything on the cards yet? Hell no!’ I was surprised.

I took out those cards one by one and penned down whatever I wanted to say. I jotted whatever first came to my mind. As simple as that! Then I glued gift cards at the back of the greeting cards and sealed them in their envelopes. I did some ‘creative’ things on the front of the card-jacket. What took me hours to do would probably be done in minutes by a 5-year old kid. Quite creative I am, I told you!

I could not believe I single-handily thought everything, bought everything, wrote everything and packed everything. I felt relieved and slept soon.

December 24, 2017: Amrita and I had decided to hit the gym at around nine today. As per our planning. We first had to go buy some stuff for the cheesecake she was planning to make for the dinner. Inderjeet came over yesterday, and she was going back to her place today. So, I could guess that everybody would get their present today only. After making Maggi for myself in the morning, I asked Inderjeet if she was up for a game of chess. She said yes, and we both were all set to take on to each other’s armies.

Soon, it was late evening, and everybody gathered to have Christmas dinner. We did it a day before this year as on 25th we would be quite occupied. After we ate some lasagna with garlic bread, samosas and salad, it was time for opening up the presents. We all sat in the living room where the beautiful Christmas tree was glowing. Underneath, there were so many glittering bags full of gifts and cards. Inderjeet was facilitating the packages to whomever name was written on it. I had a hunch that I might get something as well. However, I had no clue what would I be getting.

‘That is for Gaurav.’ Said Inderjeet and I was all ears and eyes. She handed me a nicely packed book-shaped thing. It was a gift from Hana. As soon as I tore the wrap, I realised it was a PS4 video game disc. I was excited about two reasons. First, I never played Bloodborne before. Second, I knew it had got excellent reviews, so I would definitely enjoy that.

After few minutes of seeing everyone getting and opening their presents with pomp and show, my name was called again. I was even more surprised and excited. Amrita gave me a card. I opened it, and it had a sweet message written on it. Also, she registered me for the Vancouver Sun Run that is going to happen in April next year. I was then able to recall that a day before she had asked me if I had registered for the run or not. Smart she is! We are going to run for a 10 KM stretch somewhere near downtown Vancouver I guess. Though she misspelt my name on the form yet it should not be a problem, I asked her about it.

I had got two gifts and was at my peace. I never thought there was more coming for me.

‘And that is from Anisha and Anjali to Gaurav!’ Inderjeet said.

‘What!’ This immediately surprised me. It was a surprise ‘surprise’ for me as I assumed that I had enough gifts for me. Moreover, I felt delighted after realising these two actually went and bought something for me. Like actually went to the market, and bought something for me! What a pleasant and memorable day it proved to be for me.

Inderjeet was about to be done with the gifts, and I was getting over with the delight and feeling X. I don’t know how to describe what I was feeling after receiving those presents. The actual product I get matters to me. However, it’s the feeling and appreciation of the giver that matters the most. Suddenly, I recalled I haven’t given them my cards. What was the wait then, I quickly rushed upstairs to my room and brought those cards downstairs and handed them respectively according to their names. I guess nobody was expecting anything from me. HaHa! But I had something for everybody. They all opened their cards, read what was written on it in my poor handwriting, discovered the gift cards glued to the back and appreciated my efforts. I was happy. Happy enough to promise me to do something for them. That something shall remain in my heart until I turn it into reality.

After some time, Amrita gave me the cheesecake she had made. It was tasty. After eating the dessert, everybody left, and we all went to bed. It was late, and we all were tired already.

December 25, 2017 (’Tis the Season!): This morning I woke up late. Took a shower and made Maggi for me. After that, I edited my short story that I wrote on the 21st. We had to go visit Inderjeet’s house for lunch. At around two in the afternoon, we went there. I had never been to her place before, so I was looking forward to it. After about half an hour drive, we reached. She had made sandwiches, pasta, potato salad and curried quinoa. I liked the quinoa dish and pasta the most. Though I enjoyed sandwiches with some ketchup as well. We then watched a movie while Paul and I played a match of chess. Paul had an exotic marble chess board with marble pieces. I was excited to see that chess board as it is hard to find those in the market. Also, they happen to be expensive!

Anyways, Paul beat me up in the game. Yes, it happened! It happened after long, long time though. However, I enjoyed the game very much as I did not realise we played for over an hour. After eating the cake, we retreated to home.

And now here I am sitting on a chair in my room, writing this reflection about how this year’s Christmas season went. May next year’s Christmas be equally (or even more) memorable and pleasant. Cheers!

In the kitchen, doing dishes | Author | Publisher @ Think Tank Books | authorgauravsharma.com