One of the best moments of our childhood is the time of any festive season. I too have one but this one is one of the funniest moments in my life. Back then at that time, funny is the least probable word to describe it.
It was during one of those Christmas holidays in a cold December. I was in my pre-college days and loved to get a break from the hectic studies and timetable. To make the most of the time, we boys in the neighborhood, almost 25 of them, gathered to have a Christmas carol. It’s a nice way to make some money and roam the streets in the night, but most importantly, money. All those tips we get visiting the houses will got into our boys club.
Everyone was very enthusiastic especially me. During last year carol dance, I was handling the music system and was feeling like a DJ. We got together to create a list of things we need to make it look like a descent carol. There was stiff competition from the other group. Yes other group, the group that always beat us in cricket, boys who got good collection last year. There was a rivalry between us and this time we need to win at all cost and remove our name of shame as loosers.
The expense was simple, we need a Santa, a good music system, lot of balloons and decorations. Well, the dancing part will be taken care by Manish and we are safe in that department. He is a good dancer and I used to feel that his limbs are disconnected to him while he dances. We used to take his lead and impress the audience. We took our pocket money and got the balloons and decorations.
We had to setup Santa, so we chose the chubbiest one among us, Ginesh and began dressing him up. The dress is something we arranged 2 days before from a rent house. Last year we did not get proper dress and our club captain Denson pointed that it is one of the reason for our failure. But this time we are organized. Bijoy our previous captain, now vice-captain was giving all his vast expertise although we have done this only for 2 years and this is our third year. As senior in our club age Denson 19 and Bijoy 18, were the club decision makers and they were having a secret idea to out-class the rival club. Our spy in the rival club, Reju has got information that their Santa is even better. We had to do something.
Denson and Bijoy looked at each other with a grin smile on their face. We knew something is in their mind. Denson opened the secret bag and out came 2 beautiful white gowns. But these gowns had wings. Yes white wings and a halo ring attached to the back of the gown. I didn’t know what they were up to.
Denson said, “Let’s call Sunita and Sarita. Their father had agreed to make them angels for our carol.” Then it struck me. We would be the only carol with angels and that would be awesome. We would be a big hit. I began to dream of counting the money we get after the carol. Some of us started putting up the list of things to buy with the money.
But that bad news came as a shocker to us. Sunita and Sarita has gone to their grandmother’s house for the vacation. My heart sank and all those dreams began to fade away. But Bijoy took out the dress and said,” Someone must become the Angel, someone who can fit into that dress.” I noticed that it could fit me and had to escape. Before I could do that, Umesh said,” Anoop is perfect”.
I tried to find some excuse to not do that. But surprisingly I could not find any convinsing reason, even though I am good at lying. With some effort I became the angel and shamefully a pretty one. Umesh brought some balloons and began fitting into the right places to make me more attractive. Denson, the captain then offered a good portion of the share and as greedy I was for money, agreed to it. At the end I became a pretty angel in white looking like Merlin Monroe. The second angel dress was tried by Ratheesh, but it was too tight for him. Bijoy and Denson began to pull the gown from below to fit Ratheesh into it. At the end, the dress tore and Ratheesh was relieved. So all the pressure was on me to perform as the only angel.
The carol started. Our idea worked and our carol became sensational. Our money collection was increasing from just a dozen house visits and we all began to dream of all the money at the end. It was then few more house visit and we entered a far away street. This street was the mother lode. The houses over here would give good money for good carols and we were confident of a good collection.
We saw this big white house within a walled compound. We played the music system out load and began to dance in front of its gate. The Santa would walk first followed by me, the highlight, the angel, the crowd puller. All the other little boys were dancing and entering the gate. Suddenly we heard loud barks. We all startled and looked in that direction. We saw 2 pair of red bulbs. It was a pair of black Doberman dogs.
A chill went down my spine. I am noticed that I am the most vulnerable with the gown and wings. Santa has a stick in his hand. The others could easily run. The dogs could sense the fear in me and both came after me. Santa jumped onto the first tree he could find. I tried to climb but my wings are getting stuck in the branches. Damn you captain, you tied the wings so tight on to me and it won’t come off. Bijoy, the wise guy shouted from otherside of the gate, “Lift your gown and run for your life.”
I thought nothing more. I just pulled my gown up and ran towards the gate. But the buys had already closed the gates to block the dogs from coming out. I remembered all the high jump lessons from high school sports classes and made a leap with my wings. But our captain opened the gates for me. I hit the gate hard and the gate opened towards outside. The dogs were free.
I was out in the open with both my hands holding the gown up. The dogs looked into my eyes and I looked back. I did not think. I ran with all the strength I got, holding the gown up. The wings were all stretched out and my halo ring was broken. The dogs began to chase me. Boys who say me running from the tree tops later told me that they have never seen anything so fast.
I ran to my uncle’s house, which is one street away. The dogs were behind me and were like heat seeking missiles following a jet fighter. They would not go away and was focused on their lovely prey, me. I took a corner and saw our rival club boys with their carol.
They heard the noise and in the dim street light saw an angel with large wings and dress held high running towards them. There were some dark creatures behind the angel. I could see the whole carol disperse like birds fly out from a tree when they hear a shotgun. I could also hear some cry out loud while others calling God. I had no time to attend to them as I was running for my life.
I reached my uncle’s house and ran into it. My aunty saw me and ran into the kitchen screaming but uncle could not hold his laughter. But I was safe.
Later I came to know that the rival carol lost their money and their Santa and was too scared to carry forward. Our carol party somehow revived and was the only one left. We made a good collection, thanks to me.
The next day many of our rival club boys got fever and did not come out of house for some days. Others would not travel at night. Later they came to know about the true events and some of the rival team still call me the flying devil.