I had given my final semester exams and my post graduation was unofficially over. It was a long journey for in this two years, I was too busy with assignments, projects and presentations. There was no time for pleasure and recreation. Relatives became strangers and talking with friends became rare. After giving my last exam, I felt so relieved that I slept peacefully without stress after a long time. There was a surprise in store for me as my mother had planned a trip to Kerala for she wanted to meet her mother and all her dear ones. She had planned it long back and she was waiting for all this months for my semester exams to get over. Now that my semester exams were over, we waited for my sister’s Christmas holidays to happen.

 We packed our bags on 20th December and left for Kerala, I was really excited to see my granny, my uncles and aunts, my relatives and all my cute cousins. The whole thought of meeting all of them was so exciting, for last time I had visited my birthplace was 5 years back and it was during my graduation days. I always enjoyed going there because all my relatives stayed there and everytime, I went there I always got a VIP treatment from everyone. I always cherished that special treatment from my granny, uncle and aunts. Even though I was the spoiled brat of my family but everyone loved me.

We reached there on 22nd December in the afternoon and me, my mother and sister got a grand reception. All my relatives and my cousins were waiting for us standing near the gate and as soon as we entered, they all welcomed us with hugs and kisses even though we smelled bad because of 2 and half days of travelling in train but they ignored the smell for their wait had finally ended and our’s too. My granny had cooked fish curry and prawns for us along with rice and curd. I had a bath after two long days and then savoured the yummy food my granny had prepared for us.

 Days went by visiting homes of different relatives, playing cricket, carom and chess with cousins, cycling along the country side and it was amazing. I felt so peaceful after two long years, but the most memorable day that I spent in God’s own country was when I celebrated Christmas with my family members. I had never celebrated Christmas in a joint family ever and it was my first time when I was celebrating Christmas here with everyone together. 

On 24th December night, I attended the Christmas mass in the church where my mother used to attend prayers and Sunday mass during her childhood and teenage days. I attended the mass with my whole family, we were one big family with around 30+ members. It was a nostalgic moment indeed. The church was an old one and was build in 1890, that is late 19th century. Even after so many years, the walls and foundations of church were still strong and hadn't gone weak.The prayers of several souls were still resonating in the walls of that holy place and I felt that. Christmas carols were sung and together we all celebrated the birth of Jesus with prayers and songs. As the clock struck 12, we all wished each other a happy and blessed Christmas. We came back home and slept hiding within our heart’s the excitement and joy, for tomorrow whole day would be filled with fun and pleasure as it was the big day, The day when Jesus was born.

The following morning, we all woke up with our heart’s filled with joy and mind filled with excitement. All my relatives, my uncles and aunts and all my cousins joined at one place and that was our ancestral house that was located in Kayamkulam. We all had a yummy breakfast of Appam and chicken curry, Chicken curry was made yummy with special spices and garnished with coconut, it was cooked by all the ladies of our family and we all relished it together.

That yummy breakfast was followed by Christmas cake and cookies. We all sat together, around in a circle and then began the session of discussions and cracking of jokes as we all sipped hot tea made by my mother. We all played antakshari together and then after a while, all dispersed here and there. Me and my cousins went outside to play cricket. Elders grouped themselves around sofas and discussed about politics and crickets. Women of the family went inside the kitchen and gossiped about fashion, jewellery and academic problems of their children. We played cricket all through the day till granny called all of us for lunch. We had rice, chicken curry, beef fry, pappadam, dal and pachri in lunch, it was not a lunch but a mini feast. After lunch, we had payasam , a sweet dish popularly known as kheer in North India.

After lunch, me and cousins locked ourselves in a room and played chess and carom. It was too much fun as the whole place was filled with sounds of laughter and cheers. In the evening, we again went to play cricket and as we came back after playing the game, we all got our share of Christmas cake and cookies.  As the sun set and night came along, the whole family sat together once again, this time to watch a Malayalam movie called, “ Bangalore days” that was coming on asianet that day. The movie was good and was a super hit but I didn't enjoy it because of the sound of constant chattering and shouting as the kids were unstoppable as they kept jumping and running here and there creating a ruckus. You could scold the kids but how do you stop your respectable dear uncle and aunts who were constantly chattering as the movie was going on. I promised myself that I won’t ever watch a movie again sitting with my family. That was the only dull part of the otherwise exciting day. 

By the time movie ended, dinner was ready and dinner was highly anticipated, why ? because Granny had made crabs for all of us. Granny special crabs which she made in her own style were a delight to eat, specially the flesh within the shell was too delicious and juicy. I ate like a glutton and filled my stomach for I knew I won’t be eating crabs once I reach Bhopal, so I ate as much as I could.

As dinner got over, my uncles and aunts left for their respective homes. I and some of my cousins stayed with granny as their vacations were to go on till new year. As I lied down on bed to sleep, I thanked God for this wonderful day. It was a day well spent, I thanked God for giving me a chance to celebrate his birthday with all my relatives and dear ones and it was wonderful. It was a memorable day indeed.

Richness is not about money but about human relations you have, its about how many people you are connected to. The essence of family lies in celebrating great moments and supporting each other in hard and good times. I was really optimistic about my future now for I had a huge family to support me, for when I would fall, they will come and lift me up. I didn't fear of failure now for I knew they all were there to back me morally and financially. For they all discussed my future plans with me and assured me to give me all the support I needed. Their assurance motivated me to move on with strength and to be optimistic in whatever I do and to look up and dream higher.

For our dreams are easier to achieve when your whole family supports you with their prayers, their money and emotions.

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