Hark the herald

Hark the herald

This picture was taken in 2005 at our home on Bull Temple Road, just before we were leaving to church for the Christmas mass. Seen in the picture are my parents Richard Louis and Hariette, my sister Madonna and brother Oliver.

Christmas has always been a special time for the family because every member of the house gets involved in the preparation. I am usually given the charge of making the crib, my brother decorates the tree and my sister helps my mother in preparing all the sweets and savouries for Christmas.

My father is one of the seniormost scriptwriters in the Kannada film industry and he has made a lot of close friends over the years and they all come home for Christmas. Every actor or theatre artiste who comes home never leaves without performing.

There's a lot of singing and dancing that lights up the festival. My brother plays the keyboard, sister is a good standup comedian and my mother renders the only Konkani song that she knows. Everybody who visits us is pulled into a celebratory mode.

Interestingly, we have had a regionalised Christmas celebration because ours in the only Christian household on our street. The noise and celebrations go on little beyond the wee hours of December 26, but nobody is ever heard complaining. Most of our friends who visit us on Christmas are Hindus and Muslims. Our celebrations have always been very secular.

The main menu for Christmas is catered to and I usually select the dishes. I make sure every conceivable traditional dish is included in the elaborate spread.

I have always made it a point to be home for Christmas. I completed my schooling from St Joseph's Indian High School and did my pre-university at St Joseph's PU College and degree from St Joseph's College of Commerce.

I picked up my love for acting and theatre during my school days. I was the leader of the drama club in school and I remember my teachers telling me that I would become a good actor because I never studied as much as I was supposed to. The passion for theatre and acting continued through college. I found my best buddies in Vinay Rajkumar, Sunder Ram and Lakki Gopal.

We would hang out at the Airlines Hotel and ride across the city on a Kinetic Honda. I remember old Bangalore was less crowded and it was easy to travel from one place to another.

This picture reminds me of how, despite our busy schedules, we have still managed to retain the family tradition and keep the spirit of Christmas alive in our home.

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