This happened on Christmas Day a couple of years back. It is still very funny!!
Excerpt from 2015 Dec 25th blog entry:
Awww!! It broke her heart to learn that Santa Claus is not real 🙁
I am not talking about my daughters. I am not talking of any of my nieces either. This is my seventy year old mom in India. During our early morning ritual – a phone call – today, she started arguing with me about Santa Claus. Much as I tried to explain to her that he is an imaginary character that parents tell their kids to deflect who got all the gifts, she steadfastly stood her ground that I had no idea what I was talking about. She felt I was getting confused because I forgot his real name – Nicholas!
“Ami bortoman-e porechhi onar asol naam Nikolas”. Apparently, a local Bengali newspaper is a lot more reliable source of information than her son of fifty summers. Not to mention half the stuff those local newspapers publish clearly have been picked from books found in the local library section visibly marked “Fiction”.
What absolutely took the cake – I mean literally – is when I had to tell her that cakes are not that big a thing during Christmas here. As an aside, anybody who has grown up around the parts of the country I did in India, exchanging Christmas cards and eating cake were the big highlights of any Christmas day. I come from a state where 30% of the population are Muslims and most of the rest Hindus. I grew up in a Christian school till tenth grade. Unlike the deep division in thoughts that I get exposed to today along the religious lines, life then, was all about celebrating all the religious festivals – regardless of which religion. Visiting the festively lit up parts of the neighborhood where Christians lived, buying Christmas cards and sending them to everybody and eating a whole lot of Christmas cakes was what Christmas always meant to us. Sometimes we would visit the well decorated local churches too.
But eating cake was a must. Against that backdrop, you can imagine the jaw dropping revelation that my mom was trying to process when I told her that cake is not that big a deal here. That was sacrilege to her. She finally but slowly gave her verdict which was basically suggesting that Christmas is really a British thing. Americans have not learnt about authentic Christmas yet 🙂
But for the mute button on the phone, I could have been in big trouble today. 🙂
She did agree on one thing before we parted – “Oi debdarur moto gachhta – ki jeno?” (referring to an indigenous coniferous looking tree). “Christmas tree”, I replied.
“Yes, Yes, Christmas tree… Christmas tree… I forgot”, she mused.
Score one for her fifty year old son!!! Take that “Bortoman”