I am starting this note to you on 11.04 - on the night before your first paper of your 10th standard board examinations.
You are fast asleep, having reviewed your English language for tomorrow, as well as your English literature which you will do on Monday and a bit of Hindi for your Tuesday test.
I am still awake, looking back on the day and saying a small prayer for you as you step into another rite of passage.
1985 was when I did my 10th boards. They were quite different - with a written section - and then an oral portion for some tests. The setting was the Deutsche Schule Bombay (German School Mumbai) where I was capping off 5 years of German-medium schooling. On the day, I limped into the oral section with crutches and a bandaged ankle from a rock-climbing accident the weekend before. How my parents allowed me rock-climbing before my boards is a mystery. But then each generation of parents have their quirks, don't they?
We have already had our own little bit of genteel adventure here in Mussoorie in the run up to your boards. Mummy and I decided that we would spend our annual leave time with you as you start on this 5 week set of tests, which is why I traveled up with you to Mussoorie, arriving on Monday. To be here at Shanti Kunj in winter is something new for me - and to have you 'out of boarding' is a special treat. You know that as parents we have been starved of your presence for the past two years...
You turned 16 the next day, the day that you were to report to school to pick up your hall-ticket for your ICSE exams. Your dear Oma prayed you a birthday prayer at the crack of dawn.
The now trusty Eicher scooter (Black Beauty 2) brought us to Wynberg Allen well in time. And then the hail fell. And with the hail, snow. Pretty soon all the ground around your school was covered with bridal-sari white.
After an hour you came back and told me that school had been cancelled. We waited for sometime and then decided to push back as the hail and snow had stopped falling. As we slowly drove the scooter higher, we found more snow and more slippery roads. You wisely got off at the bottom of Mullingarh and I continued fishtailing up the hill for far longer than I should have. Guardian angels watch over the Eicher men don't they?
We finally had to park the scooter outside Doma's restaurant and walk the last 3 kms cutting through snow with sopping wet toes and frozen fingers. Thank God for the warmth of the Shanti Kunj bukhari!
Studying next to a wood-fired heater has its own joys - even on an unusually cold winter in Landour!
Your preparation for these exams have been a joy for Mummy and me as we had you with us in Lalitpur for the past 2 months!
Quick question, Enoch: where did the years go? Why is it that we seem light years away from your childhood in Thane?
And who are you becoming, our wonderful son? As I look at your examination hall ticket which we successfully got yesterday, I can see a bit of the future. I see the subjects that you will be tested on over the next few weeks, and I can see that you can fly. You can step into multiple different directions using the God-given talents that you have. You are good at math, and your English is excellent. It's only too bad that the curriculum does not have a subject on English Premier League football!
Blessed son of ours,
You have given us so much joy over these 16 years. When you are in boarding school, and your name comes to mind, I inevitably break out in a grin.
And over this last year I have noticed some new elements emerging. A wonderful sporting spirit to start with. You have always been fascinated by sport, especially professional games, even though we did not have a TV in our home. Becoming a sports commentator was one of your earliest "serious" careers that you expressed an interest in. Did Mummy and I pour too much of a bucket of cold water on that idea?
Your current idea of architecture has much merit to it. As your uncle Stefan told you the other day, applied design is an exciting way that you can do things beautifully and help lots of people too!
I love your calls from earlier last year where you told us about competing in debate competitions at school, or in the speech contest, and the choir contest. You talked about how much you enjoyed taking part in these competitions. You told us that you had not won first prize in such a cheerful way. Instead of sulking, you were so positive about having been a part of the different competitions in the first place.
And you did manage to get into the soccer team at school (I still am puzzled why at your school they call it "soccer", when 99 percent of our countrymen - and women - use the worldwide standard name of "football"). Well, you told me that this evening. Practice, practice and more practice with your friends. Plus you ran in half-marathons. I get tired just thinking of you and the other boarding boys getting up early for your cross-county runs every single day during the running season. Amazing!
When you were small, you and your sister were so competitive in board games that many of our games ended in tears. Today those childish ways have evaporated. Our series of 'Settlers of Catan' with Mummy over the last 2 months have shown that loud and clear: Mr. Enoch is able to some of the rough with the smooth. That's a building block for maturity.
And when will you stop growing physically dear Enoch?
|At Shanti Kunj on your 16th birthday, next to a painting of Opa that Stefan uncle did.|
Already people are asking me if you are taller than me. Till now each time we measure I seem to be just that little bit taller, but its only a matter of time before you become the tallest Eicher in India (for some time at least (remember you have a lively cousin who will turn 14 at the end of June!).
Are there still areas of your life that need shaping, refining, moulding? Of course. As your father, I can see a number of places in you where God needs to do His amazing work of inner transformation and re-structuring. As a son who has personally received much love from my parents, how much I also need to be constantly reshaped and remoulded. Please keep us in your prayers. As much as Mummy and I are praying for you that you will live up to your name with means 'dedicated,' we would also like you to pray to Jesus on our behalf. I need to practice what I preach, I need to continually be cleansed from within. You have seen how angry I have been over this past year, your Daddy wants to give all of this back to King Jesus and live the joyous life He wants from me.
And so dear son Enoch, here's to an amazing year that stretches out before you. Grab each day and live it to the fullest. Spend time listening each day to Jesus speaking to you. Talk to God and make conscious decisions that express God's character in your life. That's what dedicated means. To be set apart for a special task. To be set apart to be used by the Master in whatever way He wants too.
Your Mummy and Daddy are so very thankful to God for you. We know that you will be providing life-long joy to us and to many others.
The board examinations that are now just a few hours away. They are just one small (but of course important) step forward for you. And you have shown that you are super capable in various different ways.
Our prayers will be with you as you write the papers, and the prayers of the many others who love you too.... God is so good. And one proof, is that He has made us (also a sign that God has humour). and is making everything beautiful in His time.
Thanks for the joy that you are to all of us, Enoch. We really pray this year will be a golden one for you, where you are full of joy and share this joy with so many others.
Lots of love,
Your Daddy and Mummy