Our house is in relative chaos:
The exterior is being repainted;
Two of the bathrooms are being re-tiled and re-plumbed;
The interior must be repainted before my January guests arrive;
And family are stopping-over this month, either en route to, or returning from, our ancestral home.
But everything stops for Christmas.
Despite the sheer impracticability of it, I decided that our Christmas tree must be assembled and decorated.
This morning Anu brought it down from storage, just as he did last year.
With so many workmen in the house to feed, Dalila was far too busy to join Anu and I in setting up our tree
– for the first few minutes.
As we tried to remember how the tree was assembled, and the sound of English Christmas carols filled the house from our music-centre, she came through into the hall:
first to check up on us; then to join in the fun.
Even Shaji left supervising his workforce, to ensure our efforts were up to scratch.
During the procedure there was, almost inevitably, a power-cut.
Fortunately, the light was sufficient to finish our task.
By seven o’clock this evening, when Shaji, Dalila and the assembled workmen were leaving,
power had been restored,
And a group portrait could be taken.
My son and his beautiful new wife are soon to arrive.
The house must be ready to welcome them – in its sparkling Christmas livery.
The staff have been feverishly busy, ensuring all is as it should be.
On Monday their attention turned to our Christmas tree.
I purchased the tree from London, some time back, during the height of summer. And, as serendipity would have it, in the bemused company of both my sons and their partners.
The tree is not small; measuring two metres (seven foot) once assembled. Its weight is considerable: transporting the tree to India cost more, in excess baggage fees, than the original price. With all the traditional paraphernalia of Christmas, it lies boxed up for most of the year, in the roof terrace store-room.
Setting it up is a major task; positively daunting. But fortunately the staff will help me.
Who am I kidding?
They do all the work.
I supervise from my rocking chair, with a cool glass of something in my hand!