Santa’s secret gift of communal harmony to Delhi

For the past 15 years, Mohammad Ahsaan has been unknowingly playing secret Santa for thousands of people in the Capital as his decoration items lighten up their houses every time Christmas arrives.

“Earlier, I used to sell only party decoration items at the shop throughout the year but 2001 onwards I had started selling only Christmas items in the month of December,” says the 50-year-old.

Ahsaan is among several wholesalers of decorative items from the Muslim community who have been spreading cheer specifically during festive seasons, at old Delhi’s Sadar Bazar.

“Lot of people prefer to buy decorative items directly from us,” he said, adding the feeling of lighting up other people’s houses fills him with happiness.

From Christmas tree skeletons to tree skirts, ornaments to tinsel, caps and socks for Santa to ribbon bows for gift decoration, everything is available at Ahsaan’s shop. “Initially, I didn’t know much about Christmas decoration items but gradually I have learned a lot from my customers,” he said.

A few steps ahead of Ahsaan’s shop is Mohammad Muneer who specifically sells Christmas bells and Santa costumes during the festive season. “Many people who play Santa on Christmas come to me to buy dresses and bells for themselves,” he said.

Muneer, who originally hails from Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh, said that before moving to Delhi he had no idea about Christmas.

“In our area, Christmas is not celebrated with as much zeal as here in Delhi. The only thing I knew about the festival was that a man with white beard comes and distributes gifts to everyone and with his arrival everyone’s wishes come true,” said the 42-year-old.

“I am happy to know that I contribute in making other people’s festivals a little more colourful”.

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