Thursday, November 24, 2005

Festive Fun

The "Christmas is almost here" sprit is quickly infiltrating the masses around town, helped largely by Retailers and Advertisers everywhere, encouraging folks to "give generously" this festive season. And of course in order to "give" one has to shop,.. and that's where the bombardment of advertisements come in. From clothes to cakes and soaps to shoes.... everyone wants you to buy THEIR special product!

Christmas may be five weeks away but people across the city are full of the holiday spirit. The jolly one himself made his first appearance of the year on Sunday and thousands, some with a hot cocoa in hand, lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the big guy himself!

This annual event, now in its 101st year, is a mecca for kids and Christmas fans of all ages, shapes and sizes from all parts of the city. They line the parade's 25 kms route with family, friends, even pets to see the colourful floats go by, to greet the crazy clowns with their bags full of candy treats and to cheer on the vibrant bands and music groups that play those old seasonal favourites that help put us in the mood of things! For some like me, its a once in a way event, if and when I can make it. For others, its been a family tradition spanning generations!

But the parade that survived the Depression and two World Wars wasn’t always the grand event it is now; it actually had rather humble beginnings. Timothy Eaton’s department store held the first Santa Claus Parade in Toronto and in the inaugural event the man in the red suit made the mythical journey from the North Pole to Union Station in downtown Toronto. In the first few years Santa was the only feature, and he would make his way through the streets in a coach drawn by four horses and accompanied by four trumpeters. He was later joined by attendants in festive costumes and clowns.

As the years wore on, the Santa spectacle grew bigger and bigger and organizers kept outdoing themselves adding features like floats, marching band, performers and even local celebritires making guest appearences. The event hit a roadblock back in 1982 when Eatons announced that it would cancel the parade, because of the recession it couldn’t justify the cost of the event. But Toronto residents wouldn’t have it. A massive campaign was launched and the parade went ahead as scheduled with the help of corporate sponsors.

One hundred (and one) years later Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade is still going strong, and hopefully it will for another 100.

Friday, November 18, 2005

First Snowfall

I'm looking out of my window at work and outside, my world is slowing turning white. Its Nov 18th, and this is the first "official" snowfall of this season!

Friday afternooon, only 4:17 and its already dark outside. *sigh*

On the bright side... its nearly 5... and I'm off to meet friends and go see "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Beer and Baseball!

Back in June, I was part of a team that the Company put up for a 24 hour relay in support of the Easter Seal Foundation that helps disabled kids. About 30 employees joined up to run (or walk or crawl), play volleyball and softball on June 14th and 15th and all the money that we raised through pledges went to the Foundation.

Now of course where 2 or 3 employees gather.. there amongst them is a case of beer! From the start of the event at 10 am on Saturday morning to its end at 10 am the next day, we meandered our way through 12 cases of that sweet nectar known as beer!

Everything seemed to be going off just fine. For once Mother Nature had complied with everyone's pleas and granted us perfect weather conditions for the event. Did I say things were going fine? Well they were....up until the boys decided that I needed coaching (badly) on the art of how to properly use a baseball glove. (a MOST tricky device let me tell you). So I was carted out to centre field and presented with a glove and instructed to catch as Travis stood at home plate and hammered out fly balls.

Experienced fielders LOVE pop flys as its an easy out. I on the other hand being neither experienced... nor a good fielder (mainly due to my total lack of hand-eye- coordination) was not as fortunate. I managed to get a few of them before Travis hammered one that went up particularly high. And as I rushed to get under it, the sun caught my eye (the same sun that I was so thrilled at having earlier) and that ball made contact all right.. just not with my glove.. rather my right cheekbone, right under my eye.

yes.. go ahead.. an OUCH was in order!

Suffice to say the eye/ cheek puffed up to enormous proportions and I had to be shipped off to the first aid tent. It was all well though, and after an hour of medical administrations where they checked to see if anything was broken... I scampered (well maybe there was no scampering right then) back to join the group and partake in the rest of the activities.

For those who are interested in details.... (and even if you're not) the right side of my face looked like it had made contact with a painter's pallet... and purple was the dominant colour, with a sprinkling of red and a wee bit of black and blue. The upper eye lid decided to join in on the swelling so when I woke up Monday morning.. only one eye actually opened!

Still, the aching body and pirate look was totally worth the experience of the entire weekend. Thanks to the combined efforts of some of my colleagues and everyone else who was awake at 4 am... I FINALLY learned how to hit a baseball and more importantly understood just why batters wriggle their hips!!!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Once Upon a Lifetime.

Plans are underway to put together a scrap book of memories as a Christmas gift to my grandparents.

This ambitious project taken up by children and grandchildren of my mum's Clan aims to provide a small, yet invaluable glimpse into the lives of Nana and Papa, spanning their 60 year marriage. With inputs from family, close friends and relatives from all over the world, organizers are hoping that this will be the "ultimate" tribute to a couple who have touched the lives of so many and inspired us with their values of love, honesty, generosity and friendship.

OK.. so that's the press release (aka email to family) and that sounds grand! In reality, we've had one meeting so far with my mum, her 2 sisters, my cousin and myself and I came to realise that coordinating the Academy Awards would probably be an easier task!

Here's hoping that good luck and good humour is on our side and get this done in time for the my aunt's departure to India on Dec 16th.


Friday, November 04, 2005


We had out fire drill at the office today. Complete waste of half an hour. Good for the smokers though!
Thankfully... its a balmy 18 degrees .... so no one really minded going outside.

Temperatures on previous fire drill days:
32 degrees (in the shade). Bad.
-10 + wind chill. WORSE!

Jibber gets back this evening. He was in Vancouver for the past 2 weeks on work. He said it was the worst 2 weeks of his life as he was cooped up with a bunch of crazy Christian bible bashers (say that 3 times quickly!) and all the "holiness" was making him queasy! Poor baby! Guess we'll have to do a big night out and see how many of the 7 deadly sins we can commit! Just off the top of my head I'm thinking... Gluttony, Sloth and Lust at least are definitely manageable!

Happy week-ending everyone!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Talk

My Mum walked into my bedroom at 8:30 am on Saturday morning and posed the following question to me.
"So, are you and Jiblett planning anything longterm?"
My response: "ooooeeerrr??"
Anyone who even remotely knows me... knows just how alert I am most mornings.... let alone a Saturday morn after hours of binge drinking with
Well anyway.. it was clear that my mum wasn't going to leave until she had answer, and mumbles apparently didn't count. I was dying to tell her.. why don't you ask Jiblett.... and let me know what he says coz I'd sure like to know myself! But I didn't. My mother does not have a sense of humour. I get that from my dad's side of the family - together with my beautiful hands!
So I had to snap awake and let her know that neither of us actully had a clue and that's what she'll have to be happy with.I contemplated telling about the "man whore" theory... but remembered about the lack of humour just in time.
THIS is why I sleep through Saturday mornings.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Where have all the flowers gone?

St. Xavier's College, Bombay. Main building

I recently joined a group of ex college batch mates and interacting with old friends brought back a rush of nostalgia for the 5 glorious years I spent as a student at St. Xavier's College, Bombay.

For the clueless readers, St. Xavier's has the distinction of being one of Bombay's oldest and most distinguished educational establishment. And I'm not just saying that coz its my Alma Mater... its because its TRUE!

The bias may infact be an inhetited factor! You see, I come from a long line of Xaverites... mum, aunts, uncles, second cousins twice removed.. they all traversed the "first quad" on the way to classes, all sat under the famed arches that give the building its unique look, all "bunked" classes and ran to the nearby movie theatres to catch matinee shows and of course all hung out in the woods at sometime or the other. Many feature make St. Xaviers unique. The woods are one of them.

The first time I came to Xaviers (for admissions) I walked right though to the end of campus... and then turned around and demanded of my mum... "So... just were ARE these woods you're always yapping about??" and was completely flabbergasted when she gestured to the cluster of trees we'd just passed. I counted them. There were seven.

So wait... all this fuss for a measely seven trees? Well... yes! Primarily because Xaviers, unlike many other colleges could actually lay claim to possess a "college campus". However small it may be, it was a place for Xaverites to call a second home. Most other colleges were bland modern buildings facing directly onto a (often) busy street. Students of other colleges had to lay claim to the surrounding streets and call that their campus. We Xaverites didn't have to. And in a city where every square inch of real estate is more precious than the Khohinoor Diamond... for Xaverites, those seven trees was something that no other college had... and hence it was part of what made Xaviers so special.

Sadly the seven trees were down to six by my final year thanks to one particularly bad monsoon getting the better of one of them, but at least till my last day there, I had the pleasure of walking though what truly could be referred to as Xavier's history!

Generations of my family have spent hours under those trees meeting up with old friends and making new ones... rehearsing plays and or just hanging out after bunking class... and later copying notes from those who didn't. And of course there was that one time when an entire First Year Chemistry class had to evacuate to the relative safety of the woods after my uncle and his lab partner managed to blow up whatever experiment they were working on! True story... Guides honour!

1st Quadrangle & Chapel

Fast forward to December 2004 and a visit back to 5, Mahapalika Marg. After what seemed to be an eternity of questioning from the security guard (Customs at the airport was less of a hassle!) I ran though the "tunnel", past the 2nd quad (still gory with Britannia signs) and came to a dead halt just past the foyer. NOTHING....absolutely nothing prepared me for the appalling sight that met my eyes. Gone were the park benches and simple stone settings around the trunks.... and in their place an abomination of unsightly shiny ultra modern benches and strange little shrubs and a path that meandered its way through the surviving 3 trees and (oh holiest of terrors) a bridge (!!?) that traversed... nothing ... and lead...nowhere!!

WHO let this happen?? Would it have happened if we were still there? Does this new generation know nothing about preserving tradition? Those crumbling, pigeon crap encrusted benches and khattas were just as much a part of Xavier's as are the arches and imposing stone facade. In my eyes... it was nothing short of vandalism!

Or was it just a sign that my time at Xavier's had past... and the college, the quads, the classrooms and the woods now belonged to a new set of students who perhaps prefer this new look and are in the process of creating new traditions.

All I knew was.... memories were what brought me back to Xavier's that day.... and memories were all I had when I left.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...