Bangalore, India., Dec. 15 - Christmas is here and it's time to wake up the neighbours. Youngsters have brought out their guitars and books, and have already made plans to go carol singing this year. So if you hear the strains of Silent Night, make sure you open your doors for these young carollers.
Guitarist Santosh Gnanakan says this year, like every year, he will go carol singing. "I've been doing this for the past 15 years. This time I'm going with both my church and friends," he says. Santosh adds that what he loves most about carol singing is the feeling of being out in the cold with just a couple of guitars. "It's a feeling I've grown up with during Christmas."
For Ashu Lobo Desai, carol singing is a tradition that she encourages among her kids. Her older son who studies in class 11 at Frank Anthony Public School , has been going carol singing since he was in class 5. "And for this I have his music teacher Narayan Swamy to thank. He takes his band of young students to orphanages and homes for the aged every year. That's what I call Christmas spirit." Ashu, like many proud parents, gives her son money to meet fuel costs. And she hopes that her son will do his bit to keep this tradition alive. "Carol singing isn't what it used to be. I guess that's because Bangalore is growing and it's not that easy to collect and drop back people."
Aruna Sundarlal of the Bangalore School of Music says the tradition of carol singing is kept alive informally in churches and formally through choirs. "This Saturday, our children will be singing at Alliance Francaise. Even choirs that sing cantatas, always intersperse it with carols," she says.
For someone who's been around in the music scene for a while, Priya Mendens believes that carol singing may be dying out, "but I still try and go with my choir every year. At least we try and go to the homes of all the people in our group. I think if people appreciated a group of carollers a little more, the spirit of Christmas would be enjoyable."