Mascot at the Mall

Update for Dec 21, 2009

The weekend ushered in winter in many parts of the northern hemisphere; Europe froze as airports shut down, rail services were disrupted and holiday-headers were stuck playing badminton in over-stuffed departure halls. The Americas too had their share of white snow, which the predictable weather guys confirm will stay till end of the week, so people can enjoy a truly white Christmas. This was the last weekend for people to catch up on their holiday gift purchases, and retail chains were not too happy with the weather Gods, but they were confident that the lost sales of the weekend will be covered during the week. They already had their mascots pulling in the crowds. The mascots are so popular and well known that children across America and Europe actually send request letters to these fictional characters. The local postal departments also play along and “deliver” these letters to the “North Pole” or “Lapland”, depending on where the letters come from. The mascot popularly known as Father Christmas was initially created as a means to boost “unreligious persons” during this festive season to attend church and participate in the festivities. Thus, the fictional character was dressed up in a Bishop’s overalls, and slowly as the legend grew, he focused on little children to prepare them for the festival. The capitalist Americans saw great opportunity here and used Father Christmas to attract footfalls into their retail stores – so although he wore a grey overcoat over baggy white trousers, his head was capped with a red pixie hat which enhanced the white flowing beard. Somewhere in the 1930s, a popular soft drink company took over the mascot to promote their blackish brown vanilla flavoured drink and dressed him in a red coat with white fur trimmings and his trouser also turned red, with white fur trimmings at the ankle, and he greeted children at retail malls, gave them some small gifts, and a bottle of the drink and thereafter has never looked back. This mascot still remains the most popular fictional figure of our times and although he is no longer the copyright of the soft drink major, the red coloured costume stayed.

The frost bites of a white winter were not particularly worrisome to the D Boyz of D Street. Mumbai is a city that gets “cold” weather for a week or 10 days at most, and usually coincides with the New Year, not Christmas. So the Boyz were out on the street, enjoying the warm sun and just waffling about, not knowing what to do – shuffling the SENSEX a few points up and a few points down, but most of the morning just keeping it steady or flat. Then after lunch, the D Boyz heard some metal bells ringing and loud throated shouts “Ho Ho Ho” and as they peeked out of their windows, they saw the Red Mascots of this season walking onto D Street and distracting everyone. The loud bell ringing and the metal clangs annoyed some Boyz who pushed metal stocks down (Metals Index down 1.6%); and the overall red colour of the street encouraged the BOYz to colour the SENSEX red too – taking it down almost 150 points down, but ending 118 points down to 16601. Strangely though, the European markets opened in the green despite the snow white landscape they see today, and all the green trees are frosty white – perhaps the European counterparts of the D Boyz have used this opportunity to add green to their lives through their version of the SENSEX!

American tradition demands that a glass of milk and a plateful of cookies be kept near the fireplace for the Father Christmas, as a sign of gratitude for the good work he is doing. So as the red dressed Father Christmas has arrived, he brings goodies with him that will bring cheer all round.



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