Decorating the house for Christmas is over. It looks nice, colourful. I never realized that there are so many ornamental items for beautifying a place. Each year new ones hit the market.
Most of them, I believe, come from
During my childhood, there were no Christmas decorations as such in our village. Every year stars used to be made at home with bamboo frame and colour paper. (Was it called
Only the churches and a few affluent Christian homes used to have cribs in our area. And they were made locally, except the figurines. I think those were imported, but certainly not from
He was seven or eight years elder to me and about 18 or so at that time. I think it was Ammachi. who put him on to making cribs. He could easily comprehend the idea – basically simulating the cattle shed where Jesus Christ was born.
Before midnight Narayanan had a beautiful crib ready for the statuettes to be placed.
The way he planned the job was remarkable. First of all he collected some thin reeds that grew along the edges of the rice fields and bamboo stalks. Now came the brilliant part. He looked around and selected a wooden stool that was not too tall, turned it upside down and placed it on the floor.
Presto, the base and the corner pillars of the crib were ready.
Narayanan made the roof with the bamboo sticks and fixed it on the posts. The sides and the top were covered with the reeds. Some hay was placed inside the crib for the cattle shed effect. That completed the job.
Having firsthand knowledge from watching Narayanan, I once tried to make a crib. I was with Ruby Rubber Works at that time and staying at Tiruvalla. I had collected the required materials and sat under a shade tree in the courtyard with a mug of chilled beer. My children were around me, watching with fascination.
Suddenly the elder boy, about four years at that time, vomited. ‘Daddy, he drank your beer’, his elder sister said, rather frightened. I took him inside, cleaned him up with the help of my wife and since he was asleep, put him on a bed.
Then I phoned the family doctor. He listened carefully to me and came out with statement, ‘Let the boy sleep it out. He will be okay.’
That year we didn’t have any crib for Christmas.
Coming back to Narayanan – I don’t know for how many years he went on making the crib exclusively for us. It must be some sort of a record. He is still alive and mobile, but unfortunately his eyesight has been failing for sometime now. His crib-making days are over.
Narayanan’s son Rameshan, a fine chap, is with us. He doesn’t make cribs, but is a driver.