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After completing and thoroughly enjoying The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, I decided to try another classic, albeit shorter, to suit my festive temperament towards the end of 2015. I chose, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This book was long overdue.
We all the highlights of a true Dickensian novel, and it can get a little gloomy at times, but this short novel, despite its fair share of sadness, struck me with its deep seated message. Dickens paints the world of Scrooge rather dull, devoid of all happiness, and worse still, devoid of any earnestness to seek it. And as Marley’s ghost, chained and shackled, revealed to Scrooge the advent of the three ghosts, of Christmases past, present and future, we as readers are forced to look back and study, of what our lives were, what they used to be; what they are now and what they can be versus what they should be.
In a manner, this story got me thinking, it got me to stop blindly running through the daily maze of work and home, and take a stock of things. The month of December, the joyousness in the air during Christmas time, and with the New Year, inevitably makes you introspect and look back at the year that passed by.
Scrooge, who hates everything related with festivity, and prefers to spend time in his counting house, says to his nephew, “Keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it mine.” All the rage of our past actions, anger towards others that are stored away and resentment towards the happiness of others, makes us push people away, sometimes even the ones who care for us the most.
But what his nephew says resonates with us in its simplistic honesty:
“I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come around… as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.
All the New Year resolutions may have been made with fervour, spoken about to friends and colleagues, blogged and tweeted about generously, but above all, it never occurs to us to try and be a better person, a kinder colleague, a generous friend and supportive person at work. We all know how trying clients can be, how difficult it may seem to get our work done at banks while standing in long queues, and while New Year’s day is gone, the year stretches out ahead of us, and I hope we can make it count as an improvement over the last by being a little kind to our fellow neighbours, sharing the love.