While Christmas in India is incomparable to Canada, due to religion and commercialism differences, I found myself lucky enough to take part in various festivities this holiday.
On campus, the only sign that it is December, are the occasional murmurings of students discussing their plans to go home for the two days we have off for Christmas day and New Year’s Eve. The weather is beautiful and since FLAME is in a valley about an hour distance from the nearest city, the commercial signs are not around.
I participated in the choir that met multiple times a week (starting at 10pm at night, as the schedules of students are so different here, that all meetings have to start really late, and continuing until 12:30am, which is the curfew). We learnt various Christmas carols. Even though I’d heard all of them before, I had never learnt the words. It was even more fun with the occasional Indian accent on certain words like “year” and “reindeer.”
(I’m in the first row second furthest to the right)
On the 23rd, we performed for the student body (a small, but cozy turn-out).
I was then invited to my host family’s house for Christmas. They even bought me a gift! It was wonderful seeing a Christmas tree and all the decorations they had, not to mention being back in the home I had started my exchange in.
We had delicious food, including wine and PANEER (my all-time favourite Indian cuisine).
We went to church to buy some candles for prayers, but ended up not being able to light them due to huge amounts of people, so instead said prayers and dropped them off again.
The following day we had a delicious Christmas brunch at the Taj (very fancy hotel in Pune).
I received an amazing Christmas gift of a visit from my parents. Upon hearing of my exchange opportunity (originally to Bhutan), they planned a trip to come to India for a few months. While my plans changed, they had already booked all of their travels. BY CHANCE, I was in the same city as their incoming flight, so they met my host family, and I had the chance to spend a few days with them before they went on their way travelling around other parts of India.
India, you are full of surprises.
Until next time,