Sense and Sensibility

Supriya Newar is a Kolkata-based author, poet, music aficionado and communications consultant

Sense and Sensibility

By the time we’re adults or actually well before that, we know he isn’t real. We know he hasn’t been travelling all the way from the North Pole through the night sky to deliver gifts to children. We certainly know that even if we’ve been nice and very, very good, the end result or the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow isn’t entirely in our hands. But all that knowledge still doesn’t prevent even hard-nosed adults from breaking into a smile when they see a portly, merry Santa tinkling his bell as he strives to spread joy on a cold winter evening.

In fact, several fathers and many more grandfathers around the world are coaxed to get into oversized pyjamas and the Santa cloak, add some padding to their waistlines, stick on a flowing white beard and attend to children who queue up for their treats or a special sitting on Santa’s lap. They could be tough, number-crunching business folks, serious academicians or even men of uniform, who are cajoled into shedding their severe selves for a bit and instead don some war paint and the merry holler of ho-ho-ho!

What then makes adults, many of them who aren’t even Christians, dress up as Santa? And propagate an innocent, albeit a white lie, year after year? The reason to not subscribe to the Santa sentiment is but one - the bloke doesn’t really exist. But then the reasons that have led to millions across the world subscribing to its phenomena are varied and many. Cynics will suggest that the entire phenomenon is based on consistent and clever marketing.

But I suspect, it takes more than marketing for an idea to cut across communities and ideologies, retain its popularity in an age where attention span is perhaps most threatened and continue to be popular and accepted across the world.

Perhaps, just like Saint Nick, there is an in-built desire in most adults to be generous, to give, to share - both materially and spiritually. And donning that suit affords you that.

Perhaps, there is room in each one of us to shed our sensible, adult selves and get into a suit that even if just for a bit, allows us to effortlessly embrace the sensibilities of all things merry, good and joyous.

Perhaps, amid all that is wildly erroneous in our doings, the sight of a Santa clad in red, trying to uplift spirits and spread cheer, is oddly reassuring.

And perhaps what’s most intriguing is, that whilst we take the trouble of plying our children with daily dos and don’ts, loading them with what’s real and what’s not, we seem to be in no hurry to tear apart the Santa Claus fable.

We’re more than happy for them to believe in him for as long as they do. And sometimes, go to the length of even aiding that belief by disguising our adult selves as him.

Author Supriya Newar may be reached at, Instagram: @supriyanewar and Facebook: supriya.newar

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