Sigh…it’s that time of the year again. Beautiful Christmas.

For children, it’s about unwrapping gifts. And, proclaiming whose gift is better by chanting ‘….Na Naa….My gift is better’, in an annoying nasal, sing-song manner. There is no objective assessment involved. In fact, sometimes, the proclamation comes even before the gift is actually sighted beneath all the wrapping paper.

‘….Na Naa….My gift is better’

‘….Na Naa….because it’s a lion’

‘….Na Naa….And yours is a giraffe’

‘….Na Naa….hey wait, it’s not a lion, it’s a skunk’

‘….Na Naa….whatever…it’s still better’

For adults, it’s the time to accelerate the gymming to get into shape to fit into the clothes purchased 12 months back, at the last post-Christmas sale. The aim is to starve to get into those clothes to make the others eat crow, as you dig into unlimited buffets over the week and get to a point when you’d need to discard the clothes all over again. Still, it’s worth it.

Then the starving adults go on vacation. This year, we are going to Goa with friends. These are 5 families with 10 starving adults and 6 children (as per last census, Circa 2010, Diwali).

I have drawn out a quasi-legal* document to articulate the Terms and Conditions of this vacation.

1. None of the partaking parties signing the aforementioned document shall try to enhance their looks by using any chemical, products, stilts, splints or good clothes during this aforementioned vacation. This excludes Amit, who shall, in any case, wear his white (now cream) shirt with blue beach print through the week.

2. Each partaking party shall take care of its own ward** except the plaintiffs, Atul and Swati, who don’t have wards (instead, they have peace, quiet and sanity, and a clean house, which they shalt, surrender to the defendant, for reasons that will shall be explained via show-cause notice after the aforementioned surrender).

The plaintiffs shall –

(a) Not ask why they are being called plaintiff since the defendant does not know what it means. In fact, she does not even know why she is calling herself defendant. But, these terms look good on a legal document.

(b) Take care of the wards of the defendant during the entire period of the vacation else pay alimony to the dependant, in lieu of thereof.

(c) Alimony is defined as a ‘lot of money paid to someone you don’t like’

(d) And, I would like to be that person, thereof.

3. None of the partaking parties signing the aforementioned document shall try to enhance any talents or abilities by consuming substances, food, or anything not covered on Masterchef Australia. None of the parties will attempt to induce any activity related to sight-seeing on unwilling parties.

No party shall force any party into action. The only exception to this is Clause No 245/8 under Section 4.5 which allows you to, prod Amit, with the end of an umbrella to check for signs of life. This shall be allowed once a day.

4. No party, except Alok will be allowed to post photos of the vacation on facebook without prior approval of the person(s) featured. Alok is being granted this right because

(a) He has no clue how-the-hell to operate facebook

(b) The defendant can monitor, which means, discourage, using extreme forms of coercion and threat, including cooking dinner that day, to make sure only the most flattering photos make it,

(c) And the photos in which Ritu, Anita, Swati and Monica are looking fat.

The full copy of this legal document will be vetted by any lawyer willing to review it and handed over, in triplicate, to all partaking parties tomorrow.

It’s time to sign off now, before my vacation!

I read somewhere that the run-up to Christmas is a hugely stressful one. Many people crumble under this stress, and relationships get affected.

So, here’s my message – Friends, chill!

Christmas is not about ensuring you have got the right gift for everyone! It’s not about losing sleep over the card you forgot to post! It’s about love –it’s about God sending his son to this world because he loved us. So, remember, spread the love this week!

*Quasi legal – Means It’s VERY VERY legal, don’t mess with it.

**Wards – Refers to those noisy midgets bringing your house down, even as plaintiffs like Atul and Swati sip coffee in gold-rimmed porcelain (=breakable) cups in their picturesque balcony with breakable crystal figurines adoring it.