Feeling the cold breeze blowing, tingling his body Ramith was staring at the sky hopefully, out of the window, affixed to the crumbling walls of the house. His mother, Kamala as usual, wearing her worn house coat, was washing the kitchen pots near the water tank in a corner of the kitchen.
“Amma, will Santa come this time to give me a gift?”
Kamala could not resist a tiny laugh, and then a tear in her eyes.
“Yes. He will come, Putha. Keep praying.”, then she started pondering again while doing her task.
Ramith loved to read books and since he started school, it has always been the thing he did for leisure. At this time too, he beginned reading a book titled “Destitute in Christmas”, which he rented from the library in town. Before long, he could hear a bicycle bell ringing, and he recognized from the sound of it, that it was the postman of town. He ran towards the gate, took the letter from the postman; as soon as he read the letters on the envelope, the smile on his face vanished all of a sudden. He recognized that it was from his father.
The thought of his father evoked a feeling of aversion in his mind as he got to know from his mother some time earlier, that his father had eloped with a woman at the time Ramith was just months old, and he lives with that woman and a girl born to them the next year.
His mother, Kamala came from behind him and snatched the letter from his hand. Ramith saw what he expected to see; the last thing he wanted to see in this whole world -tears in his mother’s eyes. This is the reason he hated his father, the most. He sat on a tree trunk in the garden, discouraged.
After a short while, Kamala came with the letter and gave it to him. Inside the thin paper made envelop there was a half-sized sheet with two envelops of yellow and blue color. In the message there were just three lines of words saying, “Merry Christmas Kamala, Hope you are doing fine. This is a small gift to you and your son for Christmas. The blue envelop is for you and I hope you could buy something nice to wear for the midnight mass. Give the yellow one to Ramith, and tell him to buy something he wants for his studies.”
“I hate when he treats us like beggars, but I appreciate this.” Kamala said handing the yellow envelope to Ramith.
Ramith and Kamala were walking down to the village fair, the next day in the morning. Suddenly Ramith was missing; Kamla was so worried and started looking for him everywhere among the crowd. In a flash, Ramith appeared out of nowhere.
“Where did you go? I was so worried.”
“I’m so sorry Amma, I saw one of my friends over there and I went to talk to him.”
“Don’t ever do that again. What if something happens to you? I don’t know what I would do with myself.”
“Amma, stop crying, see I’m here, and nothing’s happened to me. You are being worried too much. Okay, I promise I will never do that again, alright?”
“Alright, just don’t do that again. I was so panicked.”
Though she said she was alright, she was brooding over it for the next few days because what happened on that day was something which had never happened before.
It was the 24th, another cold balmy day in December. Ramith was so excited to see the Santa at night, and he was painting a picture of him in the sledge with the reindeers. He was dreaming of what’s going to happen when Santa comes to his house. From early morning, he had asked his mother a hundred times whether Santa’s going to come tonight and what will be his gift to him.
The special night was going to arrive in few hours and Kamala said to him to sleep a little before going to the mass. It was so hard to make him sleep and she had to console him that Santa would not come while he was asleep.
The music had commenced in the church which was close to Kamala’s house. Ramith opened his eyes as soon as he heard the music, because he had to get ready to go to the mass immediately. When he was going to throw himself out of the bed, he noticed that there was a wrapped gift beside him. Tears filled in his eyes and they started trickling down his cheeks; he began to cry so loud that his mother had to come to him right away. But he was way too far from consoling, so Kamala waited beside him patiently till he stopped crying.
“Why didn’t you wake me up, when he came?”
“Because he told me not to.”
“You promised me that he won’t come before midnight. I never thought you would let him go, because you knew how it was important to me to talk to him.”
“He told me that first you need to know about him well and then only you can talk to him.”
“Yes, unwrap his gift. He said that you will find the thing he wants you to find.”
Ramith quickly unwrapped the gift and he found in it the book, “The story of Santa Clause.”
“I will read this with pleasure.”
He said with tears and a smile on his face.
“Amma, let’s get ready to go to the mass before it’s too late. Did you buy a new dress from the money he sent you in that envelope?” Ramith asked remembering the money his father had sent.
“Don’t worry about it. I have the one I wore for the last year. I will wear it.” She abruptly stood up and walked away from him.
She hadn’t buy a dress. Then what did she do to the money?
At that very moment he knew why she quickly went away, and the most important thing he wanted to know – that is who was his Santa.
Ramith jumped out of his bed and rummaged in his drawer and took something out. He grabbed it tightly and ran towards his mother, took her hand, and kept the thing he was holding, slowly on her palm.
“That makes two of us, Amma.” Ramith said.
It was a pair of ear studs made out of beads. Kamala’s eyes was brimming as she could not bear the happiness inside her heart.
“This is the reason why I got vanished in the fair that day.”
Ramith said with a victorious tone. Kamala hugged his son with pouring pleasure.
“You made this, the best Christmas of my life, Putha.”
“There’s more to come, Amma. I promise.”
The next day morning, before getting off his bed Ramith noticed another wrapped gift. He was fully confused, so he instantly removed the wrapping and discovered the great book “The Mother” by Maxim Gorky. He ran to the kitchen and asked his mother whether she had set this gift also for him. She had no clue where it came from.
“I can think of only one way of how this gift has come in here. I understand your message Santa and I’ll take good care of her.” said Ramith looking at the sky and kissed the book with brimmed eyes. Kamala too, though confused, looked at the sky thankfully.