Hinduism is so vast and so ‘tolerant’ that it has been kind enough to incorporate Jesus into their religion. Hindus regard him as an avatar of their own gods and others laugh that they’re merely covering their bases! There is a strong belief and many articles written suggesting that Jesus didn’t die on the cross but instead fled to India where he raised a family and eventually died in Kashmir. Hinduism just can’t resist the opportunity to extend it’s already mind blowing list of 330 thousand deities.
Whilst Hebron went to great effort to celebrate Christmas in a country that didn’t consider it a date of much significance, their efforts were primarily focused on drilling home the message and meaning of Christmas, not passing out presents as I would’ve liked! We had our carol singing, church services and Christmas dinner but we were all waiting to go home and really enjoy decent food and lavish presents. I however, at my first Christmas in Hebron had to help the domestic staff cook the Christmas dinner and then clean the dishes later having been caught smoking and drinking!
On our first Christmas in Pachmarhi we didn’t get the computer games, remote controlled cars or such toys that we’d hope for in England. This year we were told we were getting something quite special and when we were led outside with our hoped high we found a large wrapped box- normally a sign of a good present. When we opened our first Indian Christmas presents we found new Indian bicycles that resembled what kids were using in England during the war years!
Unexpectantly, those bikes became Jamie and I’s only chance to get away from the house and more importantly, from the parents. We took them down to the market on a daily basis and if we were feeling energetic, took a trip to the abandoned airfield. Having initially scoffed at our presents they became a gift that allowed us to explore Pachmarhi and being no longer restricted to the house compound, maintain our sanity!