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Brown Dads and the Santa 'Clause'


“Who is Santa?”- A four-year child watching a Christmas movie with their parents (Pune, India)

“He an old guy… And he has a beard and brings you gifts for being a good kid.”- Bamboozled Indian parents.


When I was young and carefree, I used to have mundane concerns. On an average day, between 1st grade and the park, there really wasn’t much to do. And then, I discovered a holiday that meant gifts, so embracing the festival was my life’s mission.

  • Decorate a small plastic tree with green and red paper

  • Get my parents to buy a red hat with a white pom pom

  • Write Santa a letter with my demands

  • Get to bed early

  • GET GIFTS

(I was sure that being “good” was irrelevant to the whole shenanigan)


It seemed simple enough.

Get gifts. It was like a second birthday with a few extra steps, and I didn't that mind at all.


But my parents weren't all on board; sure, they didn’t understand what to get me EVEN AFTER I insisted on writing a letter to proclaim my demands, addressed to the North Pole. In fairness, for a liberal mind, I did have a relatively conservative approach. My mother gave up on the hunt for a Christmas present, but from what I have gathered about Indian dads… if they know you want something, they will make sure to get it for you. He realized quickly that a letter to Santa could be easily intercepted, and he ensured that I got my remote-controlled car with wheels that used to light up.


In a few years since then, I understood there probably wasn’t a Santa, but I never quite put together that maybe Saint Nikolaus wasn’t the one responding to my letters with presents. In summer, there was a constant supply of watermelons in the fridge (because I love watermelons). When I am plagued with cramps, my father insists on making me rest and never refuses to fulfill my chocolate requirements.


Now that I think about it, I never really needed a fat, old white man with a beard and spectacles who only brings me gifts one evening (and that, too, is subjected to utopic-moral levels). I have a little obese, 49-year-old, spectacle-wearing, bearded Indian father who works 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, and never takes a break. He would do anything to fulfill his daughter’s dreams, and I do not know how to thank him.

Sure, his favorite emoji might be a thumb, and our phone calls last 56 seconds on most days, but any time I’m homesick while at college, he doesn’t hesitate to fly me home or come visit.

And to be honest, my Father >>> Father Christmas.

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