Dear Java

Your letter arrived just as I was about to set off on my around-the-world trip dispensing gifts to all those children that wrote in and have been good throughout the year. Needless to say it was a bit dicey in those areas afflicted by the disease that is war, but my trusty reindeer managed to stay clear of any flak that threatened to come our way. There was a close call as we were making our way across the Afghan border when one of those US drones spotted us, but the Elves had us fitted with a new-fangled device they came up with that render us invisible when the right button is pressed, so no worries on that score.

I have to tell you that your northern areas look in terrible shape – all devastation and distress and there wasn’t the chance of a snowball in hell of giving those poor children any relief at all, as both sides looked to be paranoid as ever and kept blasting away at the slightest signs of movement in the skies. Thank the Elves for their stealth-device, or we may not have made it to Colombo or to some of the other suburbs.

You were right about the requests from those bozos over there – and they aren’t even kids, although judging from their mentalities it looks like their mental ages could be around ten or eleven. Yes, those inane requests kept pouring into our mailbox – from most of those usual suspects, as well as from a few others.

The head-honcho wanted a crown of the purest gold – set with the most valuable jewels I could find, as he has planned his coronation for sometime during the coming year. The date, he said, would be decided by his retinue of astrologers and he said that if I came through with his demand, I would also be invited. Pah! Or should I say Bah!

Then there were Tweedledum and Tweedledee, his siblings, who wanted Presidential Pardons from that Bushwhacker from Texas, who has been liberally dishing out pardons before he exits. The pardons, they said, were to be given to them  in advance as they knew there were going to be human-rights-related cases pending against them in case they ever returned to the US of A. Of course they said that it was a dastardly plot hatched by those Tigers and their supporters with not an iota of truth in the allegations that they were offenders of anyone’s human-rights.

That chap who now calls himself Vermin is still insisting on an invisible suit so that he can go around doing good deeds and spreading joy and benevolence to everyone. He was a bit upset with me that his request wasn’t granted last Christmas, and I did get the whiff of a veiled threat when he ended his letter with “…everybody knows what I can do and get away with, so I’ll be waiting for you and my present”.

You were also right about that guy you called Scabral – he sent me quite a well composed letter telling me all about how unlucky he was that the price of oil had dropped so badly – especially as he was about to spread the wealth amongst the poorest of the poor – he said he was taking a leaf out of the book of one of your earlier Presidents, as his earlier plots that involved Pyramids had also failed. Anyway, what he wanted was bags and bags of Euros, as he thinks that the other currencies are not as desirable these days. He even specified the dimensions of the sacks and the denomination of the notes to be gift-wrapped!

I do believe that Ranil bloke who pretends to be a leader is finally having self-doubts, as he seems extremely anxious about getting himself a makeover. His list included the usual request for a load of charisma, but also additions like a bucket-full of intelligence, a whole heap of guts to take the fight to the brothers, a large dose of self-belief, and last but by no means least, a stint as your leader. What can I say? Except that the Elves cracked up so bad, they were in stitches for a whole afternoon and no work got done.

That Wimala (wasn’t sure of the gender, and you never confirmed one way or the other) wanted a whole slew of cosmetics, the latest mobile phone around, a year’s supply of Viagra (which made me think he is a guy) and the means to get even with all his hordes of enemies. He hates being called a ‘Katussa’ (whatever that is) and said he wants a new nick-name as well.

Thon-the-Man seems to love the cold, as all he wants is snow – loads of it, he said (he also said his very favourite Christmas song is ‘Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow’), and expressed his disappointment at the lack of any coming his way last Christmas, when he had to make do with sub-quality flakes that were not even the real thing and all he got out of it was a severe cold and a numb and useless nose that didn’t even clear by last New Year’s Eve. He said that a little snow will go a long way during this time of austerity and deprivation and help spread his message of self-love among his people in the hills.

There were others who wrote in too, but the lack of time prevents me from adding those details here. I must say there is no shortage of weird and wonderful characters over in your part of the world, and if nothing else, the variety you are blessed with should compensate for the mediocrity that prevails at the top.

Well Java, that’s it for now. Time for a good rest after the hectic season, but the Elves will have to keep at trying to stop all the ice from melting. They have some ideas (some so radical that I have banned further discussion) that may just work, but we shall have to be patient and see. Let’s hope that we will still be around next year at this time and we don’t have sandy beaches where the glaciers are.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and to your near and dear, and may peace finally prevail in your beautiful land after so long.

Santa Claus