My earliest memories of Christmas celebrations are mostly about her . I don’t remember mama ever sitting down to prepare the traditional ‘ kunswar’ ( sweets prepared in a Goan home to be distributed on Christmas Day ) . It was always Mai ( my grandma ).
She was always in control , smiling , singing and getting it all right. The tedious newris ( coconut filled fried puffs ) , the perfect donuts spiced with the right amount of nutmeg , the painstakingly rolled kulkuls, rose cookies , milk cream and the rest .
Before any of the frying began , some dough would be shaped into a cross and fried in hot oil, which would later have sweet delicacies popping out of it . She explained how it brought good luck . Am not sure if this is a tradition in all homes , but I know I’m going to miss it all .
I miss her voice singing old Konkani songs , it’s difficult to cope with the fact that I will never see her dressed in her gorgeous sarees , wearing her jewellery and reprimanding me for always wearing black . “ Tu chedum bhurgem”, she’d say , reminding me that I’m a girl and must have some attraction to the loud and loved metal that most Goan women hold precious .
I miss her , her hugs , her kisses , her warmth , her love , those morsels of food she fed me , the authority with which she gave me tips on dressing , the way she joked about me always wearing shorts at home and how until the end she tried to coax me into wearing make up , atleast some powder .
This Christmas when everyone expects me to wear black ( that is the Goan norm when one is mourning ) , I’ll don another colour and wear some gloss and may be an heirloom bangle she gifted me a decade ago and then may be when the choir of angels brings in the babe’s birthday , there’ll be one voice happier than the others .