Celebrating the season

I didn’t know she was observing me! She had been checking out customers in her cashier’s counter ever since I entered the shop. She was one of the two cashiers near the exit door. That’s one of the reasons why I know she had been really busy. It’s the peak shopping season.

C20141121_210932I entered the shop and expectedly was thrilled, fidgety and restless. This happens every time I am there. This perhaps (no, not perhaps, I know it is) is one of the biggest crafts shops I have ever been to. I love it here. Think of any craft project you want to do and you will find the required things here. I am here for my Christmas decor shopping (check out my Pinterest Board on Festive Decor here).

C20141223_192450My trolley was quickly piling up with Christmas themed table clothes, cushion covers, and Christmas accessories. I love shopping before Christmas. I also love decorating my home in the seasonal theme. Red and white and green should be the ruling colours of this season.

It took me almost three hours to wind up my shopping here. I could easily have spent a few more hours here, but I realised that it wouldn’t be good for the health of my bank account. So I proceeded towards the check-out counter.

It was 8 o’clock in the evening. The rush had reduced considerably. I put my things on the counter one by one and she started scanning the bar codes. Continuing her scanning routine, she asked, “Celebrating Christmas, huh?”

“Well, yes and no,” I replied with a smile.

She looked confused and pointing at my purchases she asked, “Then all these!?”

I replied, “See, the thing is, I am not a Christian. So, I don’t really celebrate “Christmas”. But I like this season and its colours. I like to make my home vibrant with furnishings and décor with the colours of this season. And red is my favourite colour.”20141201_210458

She seemed excited. “Really? I do something similar too! I wrap small gifts for my nephew and nieces. Then I put those near their pillows on Christmas Eve, once they fall asleep. They get thrilled in the morning seeing the gifts. They assume it was by Santa. They learnt about Santa in school. We are Muslim and do not celebrate Christmas.” she replied. The girl in the other counter and her assistant came closer listening our conversation. One of them joined the chat saying that she loves to decorate her room with Christmassy garlands and wreath. She also likes to do Christmas themed art on her nails. The other girl said, “I love to bake plum cakes and ginger bread for my children. We are Buddhist you see, and we do not celebrate Christmas. But the excitement and festive atmosphere of this season touch everyone. My children are no exception. I like to compensate that by baking Christmas goodies for them.” The chit chat continued till a little after the check-out was done. We all laughed and exchanged our many endeavours to celebrate this season. At the end, I realised once again that everyone likes to be happy and Christmas is a time when it’s all about being happy, well at least that’s what I feel. Christmas, I feel, is not just about being Christian. It’s about celebrating the season in general. Merry Christmas everyone! Let the infectious joy of jingle bells take over!

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Takeaway Lunch

Some conversations make you, well, speechless. Today, I went to the nearby food stall to buy lunch. This is not my first time in that stall. They cook nice oriental food. The food is reasonably priced too. A boy and a middle aged woman usually serve and pack the food from the buffet display. The boy is terrible at English. People can eat in a limited sitting space inside the stall if they wish. I wanted to make sure the boy understood that mine was a takeaway order.

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The food stall always has a queue in front of its counter. Perhaps it enjoys its monopoly in the area. I was lucky to be the second in the line. The moment I queued up, the boy uttered, “Next!” I went towards his side of the counter and told him to pack me a takeaway lunch. He went towards the other side of the counter. I was waiting for him to ask me what food items I needed. However he called me from the other side and gave me a packet of red liquid (most probably black tea) in a poly pack. I didn’t understand what was going on. I asked, “What’s that?” He replied, “You say takeaway. This takeaway.” I didn’t know how to react. I said, “I need food to takeaway.” Now, he looked all confused. He forwarded the red hot liquid pack towards me. I said, “No, I don’t want that.” Then understanding the confusion, the lady came to help. She asked, “You don’t want this?” I said a firm and annoyed “No!” The boy murmured, “But you said takeaway.” I ignored him and told the lady that I want vegetarian food. She smiled and said, “Eh, vegetarian. Come on! Only Indians eat vegetarian food. Tell me what you want from the buffet.” For a moment I again didn’t know what to say. I just smiled back. I wanted to say, “Okay, first of all, that is not true! There are vegetarian people from other countries too! Second, I AM an Indian!” But I decided to keep quiet. I instead pointed at the dishes and said, “Give me this, that and this one.” She packed all to go. I thanked her. She asked me, “You are Malay (Malaysian), aren’t you?” I shrugged and smiled, letting her remain in that doubt and curiosity regarding my origin.