Tag Archives: celebration

A Charlie Brown Christmas……………

About a year ago, I was decorating our house for Christmas and getting ready to move our family around the world. It was an overwhelming time and it felt a little rushed. In many ways, it is mostly a blur. Immediately after Christmas, I literally stuffed all the decorations into boxes, shoved them in the closets, and checked one more thing off my to do list. Christmas – done and undone – check. Then I began really focusing on moving my family to India.

What I didn’t realize is that almost exactly a year later, I would visit Singapore all decorated for Christmas and I would hear Christmas songs in every store. That I would buy candy canes in Singapore just because I could – they just don’t seem to be available in Delhi. And that when I got home I would just stick them in the cabinet. Because we were treeless. I don’t think I have ever been treeless. In fact, we usually put up two tress in the U.S. – one that has decorations the kids made and one that no one is allowed to touch but me. But now, all of our decorations are in the U.S. – except for a few that I bought at a craft show a few weeks ago.

My parents got divorced when I was pretty young, so I often celebrated Christmas twice. My mother’s birthday is Christmas day. It’s always been a wonderful time of year for me. After I got married, we started celebrating Christmas three or four times – just depending on how many different groups of family members were gathering together. Christmas Eve with number one hubby’s family is a wonderful, cherished tradition. Christmas morning with most of my family is magical. Then of course, we have our own party of five celebration. Throw in a few parties and some cookie baking and a white elephant gift exchange and you have yourself a Christmas season.

Well, most of that simply cannot happen when you live around the world from the people you hold most dear. Even putting up decorations seems like just going through the motions. But not being able to put up decorations is really depressing. We will be home for literally 20 hours Christmas day – the rest of the time we will be traipsing around the world. We are counting our blessings and know just how very lucky we are. But, something is missing.

Until last night. Last night, number one hubby brought home this. Now you know how he earns his status. Today after school we are going ornament shopping. We might even make some hot chocolate and sing a few Christmas songs.

Charlie Brown would be very, very proud. (For those of you not familiar with Charlie Brown – he is a cartoon character and one of his stories is about how he finds this little twig of a tree and brings it to life with love and lights. He turns nothing into magic with the spirit of Christmas.)

P.S. Someone is probably curious – so I will go ahead and answer the question now – yes, there are over a million Christians in India and they celebrate Christmas. Lucky for us! There are stores that sell trees and ornaments and decorations. It’s just that the town won’t be all decked out in red and green – it’s a big difference! But it feels better now.

Missing the point on SRK………

I wonder if most of you know who SRK is. At least my American-born readers probably do not. I live in India and I did not know who SRK is. Until yesterday. Now I am all too aware that he is a famous actor in India.

SRK is a famous Bollywood actor – apparently very famous – who decided to celebrate India’s Independence Day in Chicago – yes, the Chicago that is in the United States. As far as I know there is not a Chicago in India. At least if there is, it seems you have to get there via New Jersey. He was questioned by US Customs for what he claims was two hours (Customs says it was 66 minutes) in New Jersey on his way to Chicago to attend an Indian Independence Day celebration. I wasn’t there, so of course, I don’t have all the details. But there is absolute outrage in India that one of the “most famous men in the world” was bothered by Customs.

As you might imagine, I am not outraged in the least. He chose to enter the U.S. He is subject to the immigration process. Period.

First of all, he is an actor. Not a world leader. Probably not a humanitarian – at least none of the news reports focused on what a great man he is – just what a famous man he is – what a famous actor he is. An actor. This makes me crazy in the U.S. too. Why do we give so much credence to actors? It makes me insane. Please do not think SRK’s ego outranks the security of America.

Second of all, most Americans are probably not aware of a lot of international movie stars. The Customs officers are surely not trained on who is famous and who is not. It frankly does not matter who you are – famous people can do bad things too. Besides, we have enough drama going on with our own Hollywood crazies to keep track of stars from the rest of the world. So, while he is very famous in India – he might not be all that recognizable in other parts of the world. Part of the outrage is that US Customs should have known who he was and not bothered him. Seriously. I don’t think (reasonable) Americans would be insulted if Clint Eastwood was not recognized in India. Please do not think that Americans are dismissive of the importance of SRK in India. But, he wasn’t in India. And even if he was – should security be suspended for him? Really?

Even if he is famous all over the world – that doesn’t mean he gets a free pass at Customs.

And most importantly, why aren’t Indians upset that he chose to spend INDIA’s Independence Day in the U.S.? It would be like me going to Switzerland to celebrate the Fourth of July.

And isn’t it lovely that Americans in Chicago were holding a parade to honor India’s Independence? I think it kind of is. Very lovely. How did that little nugget of peace, love, and international bonding get lost in the reporting?

Part of the outcry is that he is quoted as saying that he might have been stopped because of his last name – Khan and that he is Muslim. I am sure you can find many, many Muslims who traveled into the U.S. yesterday who were not detained. He had the benefit of being famous and called the Indian Embassy. Besides a little ego bruising, I do not believe he was harmed in any way.

It is interesting that he has a movie coming out about racial profiling and now he has gotten quite a bit of publicity for that movie. Unfortunately, this issue has stirred up quite a bit of tension too.

What really surprised me is that this story about SRK ran as a headliner on the news before the car bomb story that happened outside of NAT() in K*bul, Afgh*nistan, before the Independence Day stories that happened in Delhi. Really? He is an actor. This was not a crime against humanity. Someone in U.S. Customs felt it was prudent to question him further. I am not saying that Customs doesn’t ever make mistakes. I am quite sure they do. But, if SRK does not want that scrutiny maybe he should celebrate India’s Independence in India next year where he can be recognized as the famous person he apparently is.

I am sad that Indians are upset with Americans over this. I believe it truly was not meant to make a statement or to be an international incident. I can guarantee that Americans are stopped entering our country too. It is a matter of keeping our country as safe as it can be. It was not meant as an insult to SRK or Indians or anyone with darker skin or a passport.