Birthdays are big - correction - birthdays are HUGE in the Eicher home.
This weekend saw another block-buster. Enoch becoming a ripe age of 8 years old.
True to Eicher tradition - the birthday bash begins before the actual day. With Enoch's B-day being on the day Shivaji was born, he always has a holiday (this year it was on a Saturday as well). The school allows you to wear 'colour dress' to school on your birthday - so Enoch chose this year to wear it on the day before.
Hence he and Asha headed off to their school on Friday colourfully attired - with Enoch wearing his special outfit that Ammama and Thata had just brought him the day before - and Asha wearing her PT uniform since it was a Friday.
The actual anniversary day started ... at 12 AM. Asha had insisted on baking a quick cake - after we returned from the Bible study at 11 PM on Friday night!
Amma and Appa had brought a cake-mix with them from the US so Asha whipped it up and we put it in the oven. Only for the tired Asha and Enoch to drop off before it was done. Sheba and I put our hands on the sleeping Enoch at 12 and blessed him as his Birthday celebrations begun.
In the morning - after our weekly prayer hour for Jeevan Sahara Kendra (a few of our staff come over for a prayer time from 7.30-8.30 am at our house) it was time for the 'morning cake' to come out!
The first (of many) birthday songs was sung and we enjoyed a lovely breakfast as an extended family.
After our JSK staff friends left, it was time to find the gifts. I had hidden them at an unearthly hour in the morning (and wrote down their locations should I in my tiredness forget where they were). And its a good thing I did!
Ouch! A gift (relatively flat of course) hidden behind a picture - falls right on Enoch's face!
The kids had a ball finding the prezzies (matched by the fun the Dad had in hiding them before hand!).
And what joy is there in the opening.
After this it was time to get going on other important matters of business - such as finishing off Enoch's main birthday cake. If that sounds almost military - it is! The process of crafting it has its own joys but can also end up with the crafter being more on the snappy side of the fence. Here is a shot of the afore-said crafter in action - is that a real smile or a paste-on job?
One of the great things about B-day parties are all the wonderful friends who come. An appearance by the fabulous four is absolutely de rigeur - this time joined by Uncle John Gabriel!
This years party was a real whirl. The games were put together minutes before we were to start - and since the terrace is like a battlefield given the rennovation work that has been going on for the past 2 weeks - we went down to the common park in our housing complex. As we started the games other children stopped. To watch. To come shyly close by to participate. Soon our small group of kids was growing - by the last game we must have been in the mid-twenties at least.
"Uncle, will you come and have games tomorrow too?" Asked one of Enoch and Asha's new friends when we marshalled the troops to head back up to our 7th floor abode. The deep hunger for play that all children have (and which is so sadly underfed with our virtual-world-'game' generation) yearns for fulfillment in group joy.
Up in the flat we had a time where we explained the special Bible verse which we had chosen for Enoch - a song of King David where he says: For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth... I will ever praise you. (Ps. 71.5-6)
All the party-goers were in rapt attention of course: here is Asha and the littlest guest - Ruth.
Having Thata and Ammama here for this special time was a real blessing. And we made sure that Thata gave Enoch a blessing in prayer too!
Then the cake was brought out and all our little guests gathered round to sing! I don't know if in all the noise our childhood favourite of "you belong in the zoo, with lions and tigers and monkeys like you" was slipped in or not.
Willing hands helped do the important job of cutting the cake. And then Enoch wandered around feeding all and sundry with the big piece he had carved out.
With the cake safely cut it was time to eat. Sheba had out-done herself in preparing a South + North feast. Idlis and chutney. Chole and bhature. Hot wadas. Payasum. And the Tintin-shirt-coloured cake. A merry time was had by all.
Enoch and Raj (his best friend from his class) tuck in to the goodies.
And so ended a day. A tired and happy family. We had really celebrated. Whew!
Credit Sheba for a massive, massive amount of behind the scenes work to make it all click. Credit God for great grace and patience throughout. Blessings upon blessings.
Enoch, Ammama and Asha - ready for next year - already!