KOCHI: Workers at the Kochi Metro site on MG Road were in for a pleasant surprise on Tuesday when Santa Claus came riding his sledge and distributed gifts a day ahead of Christmas. The barricaded area near Padma Junction was turned into a carnival ground by Times of India’s initiative ‘Festive Bells’ which brought smiles and saw the enthusiastic participation of tired workers and the crowd that gathered at the site.
For many migrant workers, the celebration was a first of its kind. “I have never taken part in Christmas celebrations. The Santa and carols are all new to me,” said Athul Nahir, a labourer from Assam. The programme was organised in collaboration with the Kerala police, Josco Jewellers and The Federal Bank. The officials of Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and their contractors extended their support for the event.
The workers were given a brief in Hindi about the significance of the festival. Since this was an unexpected break from their grueling work, labourers gathered around the sledge and took pictures with Santa Claus.
Carols like “Jingle Bells…” and “Mary’s boy child…” entertained the crowd as Santa handed out cakes and wafers to workers. Santhosh Vishwakarma, a worker from Madhya Pradesh, said, “I don’t understand the meaning of these lyrics. But I have heard it on television.