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   One X' mas I spent in Karachi.... (December 25, 1985)

One X' mas I spent in Karachi. Arriving by steam ship Dumra in the morning, then spending the day roaming about the city.

Pakistan had already acquired its first general (field marshall,) Ayub Khan, and a policeman, who stood me a cup of tea, regretted that I would not be in town that evening to hear the general sahib at Polo Grounds.

I did leave in the evening, the ship now with several Pakistan passengers slowly moving out of the harbour and heading towards Muscat. Ahead lay a new year.

The X'mas immediately after that I spent in London. I spent it mostly in the kitchen of a five star hotel, occasionally viewing the goings on in the dining room, where bagpipes played and people danced and ate roast turkey and plum pudding Earlier in the day, I had been occupied filling silver sauce bowls with carnberry sauce.

On the following day, the chefs began making plum pudding for next X' mas. It was mixed, baked, then tied in damp cloth and put away for next X' mas. Like most away for next X' mas pudding improves with age.

Once X'mas I spent in Mahableshwar. In many respects it was the best X' mas of them all. Through the day, revellers from Bombay roamed up and down the road to the lake and generally hehaved as if they were at the Gateway of India at mid-night of New Year.

But at the Mahableshwar Club, there was a chip-in party in the evening and White Horse. I think White Horse goes very well with X'mas.

One X'mas I was in Sikkim in the mountain fastness of Gangtok. It was a White X' mas, my only White X'mas ever. The orchids still bloomed, like a Persian carpet, running out of the town and all the way down the valley. But across the valley was Kanchen junga covered in eternal snows. People go to Darjeeling to view Kanchenjunga, but the real viewing is in Sikkim. You do not have to get up in the pre-dawn and travel to some dzong and hope for a clear day to see sunrise on Kanchenjunga as in Darjeeling. In Gangtok, you have to just get up and look out of the window.

This X'mas I am not going any where. Because Mr. Murli Deora has asked everybody not to go anywhere. Instead, stay in Bombay and enjoy the Congress session.

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