The lad in blue with black hair, leading the faithful horse with a blue bridle and rein, and taking seven young girls with him, generated a lot of curiosity on the streets of New Delhi. The merry faces of the girls did not give any clue of danger. Were there only seven or more? The cascading hair and flowing robes made it difficult to count, in the dense fog of the morning.
Were they real? Did they belong to this world, or had they stepped out of a Time Machine, from the pages of history? The prevailing mood in the city was blue and grey, a month after the recent demonetization. There were long queues outside banks. Cash-dispensing machines were dry, and the entire system had not gone digital. The 50 days of co-operation, that the Prime Minister had requested, were running out, and one could sense the seething anger in the long queues. How were people to survive? All the money they had in the bank or elsewhere, was of no use. It did not help much, that the festive season was fast approaching. Weddings were scheduled for this month, and nobody had a clue, how to meet expenses. They barely had enough to buy food and pay for transport.
Elva, the seven year old kid, who had summoned Santa before time, was awake at the crack of dawn. He was assured by the old man in red and a white beard, that all his family’s problems would disappear today. Elva was tense about his whereabouts. Soon, his parents would wake up to offer the morning prayers, and then, go to the bank and queue up for cash.
He stepped out, and followed the direction of the tick-tock sounds on the street. There was this man with blue stockings, and seven other girls on horseback, with him. Santa had told him, that he will come in disguise. Red would turn blue, one reindeer would look like a horse and the remaining seven would look like schoolgirls. The political climate was not safe for anyone. He was carrying Cupid, his prettiest favorite, and the other six were riding Comet, the fastest one.
Comet stopped on seeing Elva, and bowed. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Donner and Blitzen all alighted from horseback, with bags of cash concealed behind their flowing hair and curtsied, before presenting it to him.
“Elva, these are all hundred-rupee notes. But do not forget to hand over the 500s in your house, which your father’s employer gave him, lest it gets you into trouble. Merry Christmas!”
“Thank you, Santa. Here are those greenbacks. My father will sleep in peace tonight. And my mother would do her Christmas shopping. Merry Christmas to all of you!”
Elva woke up with a start, with the rap of his father’s fingers on the bedstead, and his angry voice.
“Here I am, turning the house upside down, looking for the cash. And here he sleeps, clutching the bag to his bosom.”
Written for Microfiction challenge #26: A journey