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Fading Images, Losing Appeals

December 18, 2013

Is Santa for real? That, alas, is a question that is being posed by a large number of children. In fact the age of disillusionment with faith is setting in earlier than noticed, heretofore.

By R K Murthi
Santa Claus: Truth or Real

He looks immaculately dressed, impeccably attired, at all times.

Christmas is just round the corner. Children all over the world, cutting across regional and linguistic and religious differences, are talking about Father Christmas, also known as Santa Claus.

Is Santa for real? That, alas, is a question that is being posed by a large number of children. In fact the age of disillusionment with faith is setting in earlier than noticed, heretofore.

Therein lies a signal whose meaning is clear. The duration of the era of faith and innocence for children is getting shorter, year to year. They are no longer willing to accept anything as sacred and sacrosanct.

They demand logical answers to their doubts before they would put their trust in any figure. Alas! Who can give them the right answers, when they know that the safest means of travel is not by a chariot drawn by reindeers?

How can anyone be present on the same evening at several places, say places as far apart as New York and New Delhi; or Sydney and Madrid! Nobody is so rich that he can procure the gifts that the children expect. A Bill Gates could turn bankrupt if he tries that.

Then come other questions. How does Santa manage to visit houses by dropping in through chimneys? He is said to be stout, fat, and rotund. And there are few chimneys that provide room for him to slide down.

Presuming that he could, still there remain other questions. His flowing white beard never gets coated in soot. Nor do his flowing robes get black and dirty. He looks immaculately dressed, impeccably attired, at all times. He never yawns. Not once does he look sleepy. Well, if these are not sure signs of an imaginary figure, what else could be?

That is where the image of Santa is getting a rather severe beating. Children, who work on the computer and weave web sites at the age of five, are unlikely to accept tall tales, even if these tales are about traditional figures.

If it is only Santa Clause who comes in for such diminution in appeal, we could brush it aside as one of those one-time phenomena. But when we shift the focus, we find that gods and goddesses, fairies and angels, elfs and imps, devils and evil spirits, too fail to carry conviction with children.

“Give us proof of their existence,” children ask at a much younger age than ever before. The age when the blinkers drop has come down from around ten years to six.

How does this lack of trust find expression? What is likely to be the long-term impact?

We hope to have this issue analyzed in depth. We want all our readers to come back with their comments. (Simply post your comments below.).

So look out for signs of such dilution of appeal of figures in your region. Study the changes that such a dilution has introduced in the milieu in which you live. Share your observations with us.

Wherever you are, whether in the East or the West, post your impressions below or email them to us ( Let us have observations of keen and vigilant sections of the populace from all sections of society.

Together, we may then succeed in getting closer to the ground realities. Then the answers we seek could … and we hope, would… be easier to come by. And we may then know, beyond a shadow of doubt, whether the age of innocence, which is the period when we accept things at face value, has a much shorter life span now or not.

This is no easy challenge. But then when life offered humans easy options?

(This article was first published in Meghdutam Plus Newsletter, between 1998 – 2003)

Check out other interesting Christmas articles:

The Legend Of Santa Claus
Cool Christmas Bulletin Board, Activities Ideas
Christmas Recipe: Heart Healthy Chocolate Cocoa Truffles

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Today’s Motivation

<div class=at-above-post addthis_tool data-url=></div>The word Culture comes from Latin cultura amini' which means cultivation of the soul, and thus Jawaharlal Nehru said Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit<!-- AddThis Advanced Settings above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings generic via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><div class=at-below-post addthis_tool data-url=></div><!-- AddThis Share Buttons generic via filter on get_the_excerpt -->
The word Culture comes from Latin "cultura amini' which means cultivation of the soul, and thus Jawaharlal Nehru said "Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit"