Update for week ended 23 December 2011
In the run-up to the dark winter, Hans got more busy in his lumbering job, than he would usually be as he headed to the woods that had been set aside for this year. His team of men had their tasks laid out as they snappily went about with their chainsaws cutting down the spruces. The fragrance emanating from the woods was getting heady as the trucks were being loaded with the trees to be shipped to the UK and the US. Hans always got the best deals from around the globe, and although there were fears that the global slowdown would also affect his business, he was a very busy man this season. There was no let-up in orders for the 8 ft, 12 ft and 25 ft trees. The men were busy slicing down the rows of cultivated forests and loaders were quickly labeling on the Forest farms and loading the ready trucks. The 100 ft specials were done a month ago, and they needed more manpower and special cranes to ensure that the trees were not damaged in the bargain. These trees would find a pride of place in the centre of many northern hemisphere towns and cities. Hans had shipped out the usual orders, but expected a slowdown in demand for the smaller house trees. But that was not so. He had his work cut out and the low lights and early dusk in this near Arctic country meant that he and his men had to rely on the artificial lights. The trees would find their way on ships across the fjords and the frigid oceans to markets and supermarkets.
Seamus lived on a farmhouse on the outskirts of Edinburgh and he had promised his family a special Norwegian spruce this year. He had placed his orders just after Guy Fawkes Day and was asked to collect his tree a week before Christmas. Seamus too was surprised because he too, thought that the recent news about a possible withdrawal of the UK from the Eurozone and the crisis brewing on the continent would have slowed down demand of goods and services, and he would not have to wait for over a couple of days for the tree – but this long, he had not waited for some years. And the day he visited his supermarket, there were at least 100 people waiting for their spruces and firs. He had to literally push through to “grab” his tree and get home. His son, Sean, was so excited when his dad brought in the 8 ft tree and he wanted to be part of the decoration exercise. He had already kept the candy canes and tinsel balls ready to hang on the tree. But the most anxiously awaited part was the hanging of the red socks that he put up on the fireplace mantelpiece. He had placed the largest sock with his name scribbled on a note to the centre so that no one would miss it. Sean chased his mother to keep the mug of milk and plate of American cookies for the Santa that night.
The last month was a busy month for the D Boyz. They were busy trying to keep their street ready for the festive season. Just as they had started getting their tree ready for the “Naatal” festival, they had to also try and protect the tree from the marauding hordes of bears and bulls that were running along the D Street – causing mayhem along the way. Someone also spotted some people setting up red carpets on the street and the D Boyz were trying to clear the squatters but with little success – as one squatter was replaced by another (there was news that it had spread to other parts of the city as well, like an old unused textile mill by the beach in Central Mumbai being taken over by some blue scarved marauders). The Boyz also feared that the crowds would gather for another agitation like Occupy D Street – except that it was aimed at the political institution but could impinge upon their rights to their Street…. And so in this entire frenzy, their favourite SENSEX rose high like the tall Xmas tree and also fell to kiss the red carpets. So during this month its journeys took it to as high at 17000 and as low as 15300, but finally looked like it was just skimming the surface by falling only 75points from November end levels – at 15738….
Sean hardly slept that night, all excited about the visitor who would drink the milk and chomp on the cookies. He too had a shortbread before falling asleep and he could hear the bells tolling as someone shouted out ho, ho ho, that sounded like a distant sound. He blinked his eyes and excitedly rushed to his window. He looked out at the clear dark sky and saw the twinkling stars and could almost hear them chiming. The church bell was tolling in the distance as the midnight mass was to begin. And then he saw an unusual sight – a shooting star that left a trail of stardust in its wake. He was so excited that he squealed and shouted with joy. His dream had come true – Santa had just visited him. Seamus came rushing into Sean’s room, and seeing his excited son, he rushed to pick him up and give him a tight hug. The happy and content Sean shut his eyes and went back to dreamland…
Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and wish you a great new year ahead….. and I take some rest before I return next year with more tales and stories from the D Street and beyond….