Posted in short story

The Secret Santa

The man dressed as Santa smiled at his reflection in the mirror. “Perfect,” he said appreciating his costume and make up. Then he began arranging his instruments on the kitchen table. Everything was ready. His insides churned in anticipation of the next few hours. Different sets of girls and boys each day. Three to five of them, depending on how many he found on the streets. Sometimes he had to repeat them. Nobody suspected his motives, he was dressed as Santa after all. And it was the month of festivities!

He guffawed at the pleasure he was going to get in a few hours. He rubbed his hands together and sighed. As soon as the clock struck five, he took his sac full of chocolates and ventured out to hunt for his targets.

……………………………………………………………………………….

Aaliyah was strolling through the park when she saw a little girl about six to seven years old sitting alone on a bench and crying. She sensed something amiss; being a mother herself Aaliyah knew her maternal instincts couldn’t go wrong. She approached the girl tenderly and sat next to her.

“Hey dear, what happened, why are you crying?” She asked gently.

The girl looked up to her with her tear ridden face and said, “The Santa took away all my friends!”

Aaliyah couldn’t understand anything. She again asked, “What’s your name dear and where do you stay?”

“My name is Sanjana, my friends call me Sanju. And I stay in those huts on the other side of the park. Who are you aunty?”

“I’m Aaliyah. I also have a daughter like you. And I’m a journalist. You know who is a journalist? We collect information, both good and bad, and all that is printed in a newspaper or comes in the news on TV.” She smiled at Sanju.

“Wow, that’s so nice.” Sanju said. “A journalist had come to our school once. Since then, we have so many good teachers.”

Aaliyah was getting impatient. The reporter in her wanted to extract all the information from this girl. “Tell me about this Santa, Sanju.”

“Santa comes to the park or near our houses sometimes and takes us to his house. I have been there twice. He gives us chocolates, ice creams and nice food too. He says he needs our help and so we go to help him. Today Bobby did not want to go, but Santa forced him. I got a bit late, so I missed him. I saw him pulling Bobby along with him.”

Aaliyah couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “What does this Santa do to you all?”

“Umm… Umm…” Sanju struggled to find words. “Umm… He makes us sit on a chair and then he brings out a knife and then….” Sanju started looking around.

“Then what Sanju? Please tell me!”

“I can’t tell you. Santa has made us promise to not tell anyone about this. Not even mom and dad. He’ll get upset if he comes to know. I can’t tell you, aunty, I’m sorry. I got to go, bye!” Sanju got up and ran away even before Aaliyah could react.

Shocked to the core, Aaliyah couldn’t fathom the ruthlessness of this so called Santa. What the hell was he doing to these little kids? She was determined to find out. If Sanju did not tell her, she would surely pay a visit to this ‘Santa’ and save him his trip to the park. She smiled as a plan started forming in her head. She could be naughty too!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

The next evening, the man dressed as Santa began his daily prowl. He found three of them very easily. The fourth one, Sanju, was cross with him as he did not take her yesterday. He had to literally force her that gathered some attention, but eventually she obliged. He needed her today as she was very good at the task that he had in mind for her. Only he did not know that he would be having an extra guest with him today.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Aaliyah waited with baited breath for that scoundrel of a man to make his move. She followed him as closely as she could constantly praying that Sanju shouldn’t turn back and recognize her. He was well built and she grabbed a stick from outside a hut, just to be on a safer side, if the need arose. ‘How could he even force her?’ she thought. Finally, the man entered an old house on the other side of the park. She somehow managed to find a window from where she could see everything. Satisfied with the view from her vantage point and keeping the stick close, she adjusted her camera and waited.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The man dressed as Santa offered a few chocolates to the four kids; two boys and two girls. Then he got to work. This was something he loved doing. He always wanted to be a Secret Santa and the last fifteen days of the last month of the year was where he could fulfill his dream. He was an upcoming chef and worked at a high end restaurant. He took leave at this time of the year for this task. The kids were locals and they knew who needed his services the most. So their help was invaluable. Also, they enjoyed helping him. It was a cherry on the cake!

He started a soothing music on his phone that resonated through the speaker that was attached to it. Then, he removed a knife and started chopping vegetables. He placed the loaves of bread on the table where his helpers sat and asked them to apply butter on all of them. Together, they made about forty sandwiches and packed them along with the cupcakes he had already baked in the morning. It took them about two hours to finish off the task. He offered a packet of the treats to the four kids and placed the remaining in his sack. This activity also helped him in honing his culinary skills; he baked different types of cake every day and put different combinations of vegetables in the sandwiches too.

“Now it’s time for action”, he hollered. “And remember, this remains a secret!”

……………………………………………………………….

Aaliyah couldn’t understand what was happening. The Santa needed the kids to help him make sandwiches? She did not believe it. She decided to follow him nevertheless.

The girls and boys went their respective ways and the man went to a nearby slum singing, “Ho ho ho…” All the kids came running out and he gave a packet of sandwiches and cake to each of them. He sang and danced with them and later, he sat in an auto rickshaw and went away.

Aaliyah had tears in her eyes by the time the man had left. ‘Yes, there’s still goodness left in this world’, she thought. She really wanted to know who that man was so that she could thank him.

“But some secrets are better left secrets,” she said to herself as she headed home to her family.

Author’s note: This post first appeared here.

Pic courtesy: Google images

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Author:

A daughter, a wife, a mother and a doctor; trying to fulfill all these responsibilities to my best! Writing has always been my passion and now finally I have enough motivation and encouragement to get going in pursuing it. I am also a regular blogger on momspresso .com, which is a parenting and relationships' website. Writing is a liberating and cathartic experience for me. A voracious reader, an optimist and a dreamer are the qualities that describe me the best! I have started this website to reach a larger audience all over the world. Hope you all enjoy reading my posts!!

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