Dear Java

Your letter just arrived – thank you for the good wishes. You’re right about the nasty shock I got when I discovered that there was a no-fly zone over many parts of the island. Actually I heard about it from the elves assigned to recce work a week or two ago and had to figure out how to get the gifts to the children in the areas that had been blocked out by those anti-aircraft missiles. We did finally sus out a way to get things done, but there was also the risk factor concerning those dratted check-points – just imagine having to un-wrap all those gifts and then get them back in shape again so the little tykes won’t be disappointed! I’m not going to tell you here how we did it, in case that block-head in charge of matters over there tries to stymie our efforts again next year (that is in the likely event that he and his assorted gnomes and goblins are still in charge).

You were right about the depressing situation for the children and others in the north and east, and although we were reluctant to get too close in case the other side took shots at Dancer, Prancer and the others, we could see that there were no glimmer of festive lights – just the occasional searchlights’ arcs as they swung around now and again and the flashes of explosions as the rocket-launchers did their destructive bit. There were no letters from the children in those parts either – I’m guessing they don’t even know about Christmas, as all of them would have been born during the war.

We did, however, get loads of letters from the other parts of the country – and not all of them from children either. There was quite a crazy one from a chap named Mervyn, who wanted an invisible suit. He specified that it had to be the type you wear when you want to creep around without being seen. He said he wanted to surprise his near and dear with assorted gifts and scrumptious goodies and didn’t want them to know who was doing all these good deeds, as the last time he tried to reward the TV folk that were doing such a great job, they misunderstood his altruistic endeavours and, mistaking him for some unsavory thug, tried to assault him. There was also one from some nut who wanted a magic powder to sprinkle on what he called ‘peaceniks’ (and I don’t even know what a ‘peacenik is!), so that their views would immediately be opposite to what they are now. He also mentioned that his tunnel-vision is not as acute as it used to be, so could he have a ‘tunnel-vision’ pair of binoculars as well! Then a guy calling himself Basiliscus, who asked (quite a terse letter it was too) for a secret bank account that nobody except himself would know of – incredible, huh? Not even Santa can manage that one! Then there was another from a Ranil something-or-the-other, asking for some charisma because he had run out when he was about two years old and had only just discovered it.

Who is this Wimala Weera-something? He (or is it a she?) wanted a whole slew of stuff, including a crown and sceptre – for when he gets his kingdom, an inflatable doll, a year’s supply of hair-gel and some girl that gave him a hard time in the past. One from someone calling him self ‘Thon – the man’ actually wanted some ‘snow to blow’ – as he put it. How on earth he would do this in Colombo beats me, as the snow would melt before he could try blowing it away. Crazy!

There were a whole lot more too – too many to detail here, but suffice it to say, you guys sure have your share of crazies over there. I’m not even mentioning the more outrageous requests I got from Sri Lanka, as I don’t want to put a damper on your festive season. All I can say is that if your folk don’t get their act together, it doesn’t look like there will be much of a future for Santa and my trusty reindeer over there, as in all probability if things go the way they are, no one will even remember Christmas, leave alone Santa and the reindeer!

By the way, I did have a word with ‘The Boss’ as you requested, and all he had to say was that ‘peace and harmony’ don’t come as presents – they have to be earned by good will, good-cheer and respect between whoever it is that lacks those qualities. ‘Live and let live’ would be a good way to start – the ‘loving thy neighbour’ bit can come as things ease off, right?

Anyway, the busy time for me and my reindeer and elves is now done, and we can relax until about September next year, when things will start to get going again in preparation for next Christmas. So that’s it from the North Pole for now, Java – the blasted ice is melting pretty fast here, so summer should be a scorcher!

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours (fingers crossed!)

Santa Claus