Amma and Appa (Sheba's parents) arrived from Vishakapatnam today. We have not met them for a year. Do we ever have catching up to do!
The house smells of fresh banana cake - the second one is in the oven. Enoch's birthday count-down now switches to hours - we are gearing up for what promises to be a memorable Saturday bash. Interestingly enough - given that Enoch was born in Maharashtra - he shares his B-day with the great Maratha warrior king Shivaji.
Otherwise all is quiet. Asha is sleeping with Amma - with Enoch on the side in a folding cot. Appa is asleep in the living room couch-bed. Sheba is dozing in our room - waiting for her nocturnal husband to finish supervising the cake and join in slumber.
I had a great conversation with a friend of mine who has gone through tough days - for years and years now. Tonight's phone chat took a positive turn after he shared with me some of his current plans. We then moved on to talk about space and NASA and Buzz Aldrin. We shared some moments in wonder about how a huge rocket like the Saturn 5 could make it to the moon powered by less computing muscle than what is now found in a simple cell phone. My pal told me about how Buzz Aldrin monkey-fixed an ignition fuse for the only rocket motor (no backup possible) that was to take Neil Armstrong and him off the moon and back towards the module that would return them to earth. Amazing. Just thrills you to think about it.
My friend talked about how one of the mottos of NASA which can be loosely translated as: "a rough road leads to the stars." The Latin Ad Astra Per Aspera (through adversity to the stars) was put on one of the plaques commemorating the 3 astronauts who died in 1967 in a preparatory mission for the moon shot.
My friend is on such a road. I often feel helpless at the challenges he faces. Sheba and I do pray and try to do our part. Its a rough road - and not a short one either. But there is real hope.
Talking with Appa this evening he mentioned about the decisions he and Amma took. Decisions to live very, very simply. No gold ornaments. No plot of land. All the money into their 4 children's education. 10% put aside for savings. He did not mention - but I know that at least 10% went to the church - probably a lot more.
But look at him now. 4 children all over the world. All doing amazing things. All married to wonderful folks (smile). We had family prayers in the evening and Enoch was singing his heart out - Asha was playing the violin by ear. Amma and Appa have returned earlier this year after spending 3.5 months in the US.
Its a wonderful life.