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Now that Diwali is over, Padmini Manivannan is looking forward to Christmas.

I realise I say ‘it is that time of the year again’ a lot. Maybe because I’m from India and there is always some festival around the corner and hence, always cause for celebration. It’s mid-November now. Diwali just went by and I am already in a celebratory mood for Christmas. For those who are unaware, Diwali is one of the biggest festivals in India and the central themes of both are the same – lights, togetherness and presents!

It is hard not to get carried away by the pre-Christmas merriment. Or maybe It’s just me that’s celebrating. I blame the fairy lights put up all around the city. It is lovely how Delft is decked up with Christmas decorations almost immediately after Halloween. . The canals look pretty, illuminated with reflections of magnified golden snitches. I love how the light falls on my face, playing hide and seek, bouncing back and forth, making me feel like a lit candle in the cold wind.

This autumn will slowly dwindle into winter. But isn’t autumn quite becoming on trees, shimmering in gold yellows and red, as if celebrating with me. Like it’s their last moment to shine before they fade away for the year. It is getting cold again outside but I don’t mind. Every exhale into the cold air brings a fresh draft of mist. On days with clear skies, the clouds look crisp, as if freshly laundered. I am just hoping for some snow though. Wine induced evenings warm your hearts anyway.

I am trying to figure out what Christmas means to me. While the rest of the world heads home for Christmas, I have decided to make my home in Delft. I will be here with my messy thoughts and whirring mind, imagining shapes in the reflections of the lights on the canals. I find an odd joy in people watching, the innocent kind of stalking. Maybe I’ll do some of that too. I will wander around in a city far away from my country where not many know my name. Perhaps I will sit at a café and watch them go about their lives, buying last minute Christmas presents or holding hands with their loved ones. And I guess I’ll bask in the freedom of making the evening as grand or as laid-back as I choose to.

Padmini Manivannan is a Masters student studying Signals and Systems at TU Delft and hails from Chennai, India. She loves doodling in her free time.

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