Christmas in India: Part seven

I have no idea what parades in India are supposed to be like, but I have a feeling they’re nothing like the one we were a part of Christmas night.

We’d just finished dinner, having eaten whilst someone else was putting on a mega-performance, this also a dance in front of hundreds of people. It was nice to watch casually, the pressure of performing having been transferred from our shoulders to theirs. We ambled away towards the bus after dessert, ready to ride back to Modern School and call it a night.

That’s when we were interrupted by the parade.

Actually its resemblance to a parade was minimal, but I can’t think of any other pithy word to describe the scene. A single flatbed truck was being led by a car with a power generator, its escort required so several large amps could blare Jingle Bells into the night on a continuous loop. A couple dozen Indians were standing on the back, dancing and handing out sweets quite generously to passerby. The truck itself was covered in Christmas-colored streamers, and decorated so that it no longer resembled something you’d find on a highway.

We got on board.

I hadn’t planned to see a parade this Christmas, let alone to be in one. But little about this Christmas had gone according to plan. Why plan when the enjoyable things always come on short notice? Despite the challenges of staying balanced on a moving vehicle (albeit a very slow one), we joined the spontaneous dance party, huddled together to keep each other from falling off. My mouth full of candy, my ears full of music, and my limbs doing everything possible to stay afloat the float, India had once again successfully overwhelmed my senses.

Music has been inseparable from and invaluable to our memories from this holiday. The songs from our performance set the tune for our Christmas Eve practice. The songs on Jakob’s laptop set the tune for our party at his house. Christmas carols set the tune for our ride to CP Club, and Christmas karaoke set the tune once we were there. Slow, nostalgic organ music set the tune for Midnight Mass, and fast, familiar music set the tune en route to Surabardi. Whenever, wherever, music was always with us to set the mood.

And now our mood was being set by an ear-assaulting, heart-pumping rendition of Jingle Bells. On a parade float. In India.

That ten-minute ride wasn’t the last we’d take that night, as the bus that would take us back to Modern School still awaited us. But it’s the one I’ll remember the most.



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