St.Nicholas to Santa:The Secret of Mr.Claus

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf. . .

Any kid can tell you where Santa Claus is from—the North Pole. But his historical journey is even longer and more fantastic than his annual, one-night ride of the globe.

Santa Claus comes from the Dutch words “Sinter Klaas”, which is what they call their favourite saint, St. Nicholas.

Nicholas lived in what is now called Turkey. He was born about A.D. 280 in the town of Patras. His parents were wealthy and he was well educated. While still a young boy he was made Bishop of Myra, and because of this he has been known ever since as the Boy Bishop. He was renowned for his extreme kindness and generosity – often going out at night and taking presents to the needy. It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick.Santa’s rise to fame can be traced to two legends – the three daughters and the children at the Inn.

The Three Daughters

The first story shows his generosity. There were three unmarried girls living in Patras who belonged to a respectable family, but they could not get married because their father had lost all his money and had no dowries for the girls. The only thing the father thought he could do was to sell them when they reached the age to marry. Hearing of the imminent fate, Nicholas secretly delivered a bag of gold to the eldest daughter, who was at the right age for marriage but had despaired of ever finding a suitor. Her family was thrilled at her good fortune and she went on to become happily married.

When the next daughter came of age, Nicholas also delivered gold to her.Nicholas threw the bag through the window and it landed in the daughter’s stocking, which she had hung by the fire to dry. Another version claims that Nicholas dropped the bag of gold down the chimney.

By the time the youngest daughter was old enough for marriage, the father was determined to discover his daughters’ benefactor. He, quite naturally, thought that she might be given a bag of gold too, so he decided to keep watch all night. Nicholas, true to form, arrived and was seized, and his identity and generosity were made known to all. As similar stories of the bishop’s generosity spread, anyone who received an unexpected gift thanked St. Nicholas.

The Children at the Inn

Another one of the many stories told about St. Nicholas explains why he was made a patron saint of children. On a journey to Nicaea, he stopped on the way for the night at an inn. During the night he dreamt that a terrible crime had been committed in the building. His dream was quite horrifying. In it three young sons of a wealthy Asian, on their way to study in Athens, had been murdered and robbed by the innkeeper. The next morning he confronted the innkeeper and forced him to confess. Apparently the innkeeper had previously murdered other guests and salted them down for pork or had dismembered their bodies and pickled them in casks of brine. The three boys were still in their casks, and Nicholas made the sign of the cross over them and they were restored to life.

Over the course of many years, Nicholas’s popularity spread and he became known as the protector of children and sailors. His feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, December 6.

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“She is pregnant”, whispered everyone in the class.

“How could she be such a bitch?” whispered one of the backbenchers.

“We should blame her parents. This is how they raised her.”

She heard everything but she pretended not to. The boy she desperately loved had made her see so many dreams and she stupidly believed whatever he said.

She reached home and her dad threw the newspaper down in anger and went inside his room. He used to call her ‘my princess’ but after this mistake, even the sight of her face disgusted him.

After the incident, her mom had started criticising her and telling her how because of her deeds they were not able to show their face to the society. But today, she said something she had never said before – her mom told her to kill herself.

She went inside the room and sat on her bed. All the beautiful moments of her life, which she thought she would always cherish, made her cry harder. She wanted to live her life. She wanted to raise that child on her own but the thought of her against the world was too much to handle.

She took a bunch of tablets in her hand and after a few seconds of hesitation, swallowed it all. She slit her wrist several times, crying all the way. But the tears were not because of the physical pain. She soon hanged herself. She didn’t want even a slightest chance of survival. The last thing she thought of, before her heart stopped, was the fact that she was murdering her child.


At her funeral, all her classmates arrived with flowers in their hands and tears in their eyes.

Her classmates whispered among themselves on what a great girl she was and how that boy ruined her life. One of the backbenchers agreed that she was a beautiful and a pure soul.

Her boyfriend said that he regretted his actions and if she was still alive, he would have accepted the child and that he just needed time to think. Near the door stood her father, wiping the tears that flowed down from his eyes.

Near her lifeless body was her mother, crying out the loudest. She was screaming out loud that they would have supported her and that she should have thought of her parents before doing anything. The neighbours nodded and some consoled her with tears.

It took all the Universe’s powers for the corpse to not laugh out loud.

Blind Date

‘Hello, yeah. I’m in front of the CCD. Now what?’, I said.
‘Come inside. You said you wanted to marry me even though you haven’t even met me. This is the test of your love. There are exactly 8 girls here. You get only one chance to spot me. Go!’, she dropped the call. Shit just got real.
I entered inside and took a quick glance. Nothing abnormal or out of the blue. This wasn’t going to be easy. I grabbed a seat in the corner so that it gave me a full view of the area. Some heads turned in my direction but only for some nanoseconds.
I looked closely towards each girl: their movements, their style, their voice but nothing clicked. May be this is how Watson felt on days he would travel alone without Sherlock. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine her face by replaying her voice. I realized that I wasn’t much of an artist and my Engineering Drawing grades came back to me screaming.
I changed tactics and applied JEE approach. I thought of it as an objective question with eight options instead of four. Elimination method was my personal favourite.
‘Too conservative going with the clothing style.’ One down.
‘Came with her parents: not a chance.’ That was easy. Two down.
‘Too much into her mobile. She doesn’t use WhatsApp or Facebook.’ Five to go.
‘Continuously checking me out since the beginning of the century.’ Definitely a decoy.
‘She’s with a boy. Could be a friend or brother or boyfriend.’ Probable candidate.
This could take a while. I thought of ordering something. Suddenly it struck me. She was always there, right in front of me. Very clever, a bluff-master. But she had met her match now. I went and stood in line to order.
‘Good morning sir, what would you like to order?’, she asked.
‘Morning, my previous order has not been fulfilled yet’, I exclaimed. She was puzzled.
‘Sorry sir, I don’t think you have ordered yet’, she replied. I knew it.
‘I ordered a romantic date with a beautiful lady so why am I playing Hide-n-Seek, huh?’, her cheeks turned into the most delicious colour I have ever seen.
‘How do you know? Even my name-tag is different’, she chuckled. She had a smile that cuts like a knife.
‘Well I have talked to you before and guessed that you were someone who interacted with people on daily basis. Second, you immediately counted all the girls over the phone. So you have to be somewhere you could see every body. Third and the most important if it were someone from the other girls she wouldn’t have counted the girl from the billing counter unless she herself was her. And finally, nobody gives a damn about every single customer so your obvious question should have been what was my order but you said I hadn’t ordered yet. You were paying more than required attention towards me. Did I pass your test?’
‘Wow! I’m impressed. You passed with flying colours’, she said.
‘Well, you impressed me first with your writing skills. Shall we order, I am starving Miss (looking towards her fake name-tag) Preeti. Nice to meet you.’

Fairy Tale Princess


I look at my husband who is lying on my side, sleeping.
He has vomited at least ten times since he arrived from his so-called reunion with his friends. Today, for the first time, he didn’t hit me after drinking as he had no strength at all.
He is whispering another woman’s name while I am nursing him to recover. I look at him and smile bitterly and I ask myself, “Is this the man I once loved so much? Is this the man for whom I went against my parents and friends?”
Deep down, I know the answer and thousands of arrows pierce my heart. I cry silently, dreaming of the life I would have had if I hadn’t chosen this one mistake. Since childhood, I wanted to be a fairy-tale princess and I got half of it. I am always locked in my tower and the sad part is, there was and will never be a prince to rescue me.
I take the opportunity to go outside and have a moment before my husband wakes up. It is a risk but do I care anymore?
I went to my parents once and told them how my husband treated me and instead of being worried, they were happy that they had been proved right. They practically slammed the door on my face, saying, “We told you. Now live the life you chose.”
I walk out on the street and it is quite foggy. The rain might fall any time soon. I see a man tying the shoe-laces for a woman who is holding a beautiful child. The woman says, “Don’t do that. People might think I am an evil wife”.
The man gives a brief cheerful laugh and says, “Or they might think I have a beautiful wife whom I love so much.”
He has a familiar voice but I can’t remember clearly. I know it is rude to stare but she was living the life I dreamt. I envy her.
That man says, “Choose a restaurant. We will have your favourite cuisine.”
I smile for them and wonder if that woman knows how lucky she is. That man turns and he sees me and he gasps, “Oh my god”.
I look at him and recognize him instantly. We smile happily and hug each other. He introduces me to his wife and tells her that we studied in graduation together. I look at him and laugh, “You are a father now”. He nods, laughing.
Three of us talk till I say, “I have to go”.
We say our goodbyes.
I reach home and then high school memories come rushing back to me, without any warnings.
There was once a boy who used to love me so much. He followed me for five years. I always insulted him and I used to say he didn’t deserve someone like me. He never gave up on me though I embarrassed him every time. My last words to him before departing were not good either. I told him, “I am happy I am free of you now.”
I sit on my bed where my husband has vomited and it stinks a lot. I remember that boy and a smile comes on my face which lasts longer than it is supposed to.
That boy was the man I met earlier on the street who treated his wife like a fairy-tale princess.



“Have you ever been to a psychiatrist before?”
“No. This is the first time I felt the need to come to one.”
“Okay. What is bothering you?”
He clenched his fingers and deliberated whether visiting a doctor was the right decision or not.
Dr. Archana Gupta, the desk nameplate said. She was a new psychiatrist, not so famous, not experienced.
Her last question was expected and he had come fully prepared. He needed an appointment, and he had gotten it. So, he might as well make the best of it.
“I… I am troubled by the crime stories I read in the newspapers.” he said.
“How exactly are you troubled by them?” doctor asked.
“I cannot stop thinking over and over again about the gore ways of committing the murders. And… I think over them to such an extent that I imagine myself in the place of the murderer and forget who I am. I try to commit crimes the very same way.”
There, he said it.
“Well, have you committed any such crime?” she asked.
“Can I take a walk around the room, please? I find it uncomfortable to sit for long stretches of time,” he said.
“Alright, you can! Coming back to my question, have you committed any crime?” She emphasized on the last three words.
“Sometimes I think so deep into the stories that the urge to commit a crime is irresistible. It is almost like a drug. A whiff of the drug is enough to make you an addict,” he carefully framed the sentence.
He was now standing right behind her, watching her closely
“Are you a victim of this drug, then? What is the recent crime story that has caught your mind? Talk about it.”
He looked at her straightened hair at the back of her head, falling over her white, crisp shirt. She was good, you know, throwing all the substantial questions at him. He took out the knife from his pocket and in a split of a second, stabbed it in her stomach.
She wanted to know the story that he had been occupied with, so he came close to her face, twisted the knife into her stomach swiftly and whispered, “The one where a guy kills somewhat like this.”
After ensuring that she was lifeless, he tore off the paper on which she had been jotting down ‘his problems’.
He took out the crumpled newspaper from his pocket and ticked off the heading that read – ‘City boy kills psychiatrist’.
His eyes scanned the paper and stumbled over another story, as his mind started formulating the plans to carry out the same.

Breaking Up

So it’s that one night, finally. Deep down, I knew this is going to come soon but never expected it to be tonight. I did everything to not get this feeling: ignored it, tried to procrastinate it, had a lot of ice cream, took a bath and even tried to watch a video about positive thoughts but nothing helped.
It’s that kind of a night tonight.You must be wondering what am I talking about and mostly guessing it’s about a breakup; well, you are right. The cribbing, feeling awful and terrible and miserable – it’s all because of my breakup. A breakup that has not happened as yet, but is just two days away. So now you’d wonder why am I so sure about it and many must have also passed a judgement about how I should rather save my relationship; but I cannot do that.
Two days from now, I am breaking up with my cozy bed, my gadgets and my home sweet home. I am moving away. Two days from now and I won’t have the privilege of fighting with my mom about not cooking a particular type of dish. I won’t be able to go to Wosti, my favourite Chinese food outlet with my best friends just because I feel like it. Nobody is going to tolerate me sleeping for twelve hours. Nobody is going to butter my toasts or make me tea. Clothes won’t be magically washed, ironed and always found at the right place when needed. Just a few more days and I won’t have the liberty of silently sobbing in my own little room with no one watching me or judging me just because I feel sad about an impossibly silly issue. Another week and I won’t need to emotionally blackmail my mom or dad into buying a new mobile phone.
Two days, and it will all end.
But then again, a nice college in a far away city- isn’t that what I had ever wished for at first place? Perhaps, it’s easy to wish about moving out of the place and away from the people you have spent an eternity with, but it’s this aftershock that hits you hard.
But then what do they say ? Life Goes On.

But He Is Hindu

There was pin-drop silence in the restaurant. Silence, like a tentative sea before a raging storm.

“But he is Muslim! I cannot accept him as the husband of my daughter,” said Mr Sharma after a few minutes of contemplation.

Ritika clutched Adnan’s hand tight. Her father’s reaction did not come as a surprise, but it brought some disappointment nevertheless, just like a expected death cannot stop the mourning.

Adnan’s father cleared his throat to speak.

“Sharma Ji, what world are you living in? The nation has progressed over the years and so should our mindset. Ritika is going to live with us just like our daughter,” Mr Rizvi said, pointing towards Zeba, his young daughter.

Mr Sharma shrugged. He truly wanted Ritika to be happy. He looked at her face and saw a silent plea. He saw her hand in Adnan’s and closed his eyes for a minute.

Pictures of his own youth came back to haunt him. He had loved a non-Hindu once, Grace. His father had managed to convince him not to marry her by threatening to commit suicide. Mr Sharma winced at the thought of it. Was he going to stoop as low as his father had, just to break his own daughter’s heart? No. He had always been a good father and he was not going to let his daughter down when she needed his support the most. Mr Sharma opened his eyes, now that he could see things clearly.

“RIzvi Sahab, I agree with what you just said. Truly, ours is a new generation. We cannot allow the burden of the ages to spoil the lives of our children. I am ready to accept Adnan as my son-in-law,” he said.

Tears of joy ran down Ritika’s eyes. Adnan smiled his broadest. Even little Zeba almost jumped with Joy.

They decided to talk out the details of the wedding over the phone and walked out of the restaurant together like one big, happy family. Mr Sharma and Ritika turned left towards their home, and Mr Rizvi, Adnan and Zeba turned right towards theirs.

Zeba had not stopped smiling even for a minute. She now saw hope, and a future for her own relationship with Raman, a Hindu.

It was hardly a week later, when Zeba excitedly approached her father to tell him about her own relationship.

“Abbu, I am so happy that you agreed to accept Ritika. I hope you will accept Raman too. Yes, Raman, my classmate. I love him,” she said cheerfully.

The slap left fingerprints on her cheek, and a bloody lip.

“Shameless girl! What nonsense are you spitting? He is a Hindu! You are never marrying into a Hindu family, come what may,” Mr Rizvi roared.