Only in America are the poor fat, the rich thin, and atheists are on ladders putting Christmas lights on their gutters.
— tackie_jackie (@tackie_jackie) December 5, 2010
This tweet literally had me in splits because that is exactly what we were doing this past weekend. Like I had written earlier, in spite of my lack of religious beliefs I do enjoy the festive seasons and the bells & whistles that go with it; sometimes literally. I would’ve put up the lights at Diwali but our neighbors might’ve been pressured into entering the Christmas lights race early so I sufficed with tealight diyas at our front door. We plan to get a kandil next year. Christmas, after Thanksgiving, is as close it comes to a festival without having to pay obeisance to a higher power. Sure, people do attend the Midnight Mass and may their god bless them but most people particularly children love Christmas for its lights, gifts, and the general merry atmosphere that fills the air.
Since it would be our first Christmas in our new home, we decided to join in the fun by at least putting up lights. After figuring out that we might have to clamber on to the roof to put up the lights, our 6′ ladder seemed insufficient. Thanks to a timely sale of a telescopic ladder at Lowes this Thanksgiving (our only purchase on Black Friday and finding a ready buyer for our existing ladder on Craigslist, the issue of accessing the roof was solved. We supplemented our meagre stocks of two strings of lights (we particularly love the icicle lights) with additional four strings and host of extension cords and shingle clips. Obviously, we had to return to the store because like for any home improvement project, you always underestimate what you need.
I realized that age might be finally catching up to me when clambering on the roof didn’t come as naturally as it used to growing up. All those memories of climbing trees and our neighbor’s chajjas and finally roofs seemed to occur in the distant past. The slope seemed steeper than what I imagined it to be but I managed to hold on long enough to string up the lights on our two gable roof ends. After a long afternoon of hard work and holding on for dear life, the lights were all up and dare I say, looked particularly impressive compared to our neighbor’s multicolored lights. Although Christmas was still 3 weeks away, our home wasn’t even in the first ten to put up lights and the crowds at Walmart, Target, and Lowes seem to indicate that by next week we would’ve been the last.
Not satisfied with lights on the outside, Ash went all out and got a (fake) Christmas tree from Walmart, strung it up with lights, and placed it in the front room for any passerby to see. Since her family would be spending Christmas with us, we’ve gone the whole hog by putting up poinsettias, a wreath on our door and garage lights, and even stockings on the mantle for gifts. The house looks positively festive and regardless of what religion celebrates it, there is never a reason not to join in for the festivities. We Indian atheists are like that only.