It only takes a spark to get the fire going.
And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing.
That’s how it is with God’s love,
Once you have experienced it
You want to sing
You feel like spring
You want to pass it on…

A few of us gathered together for Secret Santa tidings, divided by names and united through a common Christmas spirit of sharing. And it is in this spirit that we bring this blog chain to you. I am celebrating the spirit of Christmas with the #UnwrapChristmas blogpost chain.

I am taking the baton of Unwrap Christmas from GS Nidhi and sharing my thoughts.


Four hundred and one. Yes folks, that was the number of plants my mother owned in her lifetime. She maintained them through early days of marriage while living in a small one room house to of course the lavish bungalow my father got built (a very interesting story this) for her and her plants alone!

And of these plants, is this tall christmas tree which has stood the test of times and been a witness to the countless memories of our lives back in Lucknow.

This year, for the first time I too purchased a Christmas Tree of my own for the apartment garden I have been nurturing. And yesterday it became the hero of our house with all the lights and decorations meticulously placed on it for the impending celebration my husband planned for the occasion.

Watching him thread those bells and plan his lights, I remembered a story of the lavish bungalow my father built for my mother and her plants alone.

It was the year of fresh seasons and sweet chats. I was about three years old and my parents lived happily in this one room set which I still fondly call ‘my doll house’. But there was plenty of room for warm conversations, hot cups of chai and four hundred & one plants.

But behind scenes what my father didn’t know was that my mother used to be taunted by the landlord’s son each day with accusations of misusing their water supply. While watering her four hundred and one plants.

One day, he came home a bit early and stepped into one of these one sided rants where my mother hardly ever interjected. She was one of those people you see, she never liked bothering people with her problems. Least of all my father.

Within seconds, things escalated and my father screamed from behind ‘We will quit your house in three months‘.

A jittery landlord and his wife tried their best to pacify the discord but damage was done.

With no land, no money and obviously no plans – my father decided to build his own house.

An architect friend helped with a house design, saying ‘This design is being manufactured for the first time in India. I can get this for free for you but you will have no guarantee whether the house will be liveable or even stand on its own for a long time. It is a sample we want to try and if successful will put on our brochures.’

My father replied, ‘Does it have a roof?’

His friend only smiled.

At another juncture, my father managed to get two plots sold off for a real estate agent. The agent offered him money as commission, to which he replied, “There is a plot in between the two you have sold. No one wants to buy it because it has been cut trapezoidal. If you can give me that, I will be most obliged.”

And hence we got a plot. 

They were left with no money for a proper contractor and so my mother would reach the construction site every morning at nine and oversee the work at hand.

As promised, within three months we moved out of our rented home and shifted into the basement of my current home. While construction was still on.

The house when finished didn’t break down. It in fact became one of the most successful designs of the firm and went on to inspire many other customers to get one for themselves as well!

But that was never the motive behind it. It was the love and respect my father had for my mother. And of course her four hundred and one plants 🙂 

This Christmas I share this story to remind you that festivals are less gifts and expensive clothes but more about building memories, love and family. 

It is in this house, each year my mother celebrated the spirit of Christmas – gathering all of us under one roof, she showed us what truly love and festivals denote in our lives.


I pass on the baton of Unwrap Christmas to Manisha, here’s wishing you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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