Wednesday, 21 January 2015

B-day girl

Our darling turned 14 last week.

Has it really been 2 cycles of 7 years already since we saw her for the first time on a cold winter day in Jharkhand?

A full 14 years since Asha was carried by us for the first time as a independent small parcel of joy.

A full year of teenage-dom passed already - and well into her 8th standard in school, we stand in awe and delight when we consider the wonderful girl we are blessed with!

Naturally it's important to celebrate.

And so a day after her 16th Jan birthday anniversary, we celebrated with some of her friends.

Will you join us too?
As usual in the Eicher household, there were lots of last minute things to do.  Nothing is ever exactly where it should be - and fully on time.  But we had many hands at work!

It is especially nice to have Oma and Opa around.

Oma made the pizza sauce and got all the toppings ready.

We out-sourced Opa one of the tasks that he had done when I was a boy:  doing the icing for Asha's birthday cake!

 Which he did with his usual care and thoroughness.   This year we decided on a roller-coaster cake.

The challenge was keeping the upright portion from toppling over.  I made a cardboard brace as in the cake first started leaning to the right.

But by the time Opa was putting on the basic layer of icing, he had the opposite problem - the cake was now leaning to the other side.  Ever the engineer, he anchored it with an ingenious safety pin contraption.

And kept on icing.

 We chose the roller coaster because of Asha's love for adventure and thrills (something that we seem to be leaking these days - is this an effect of age?).

I remember a few years ago stopping by a small amusement fair in down town Thane as a family. Asha insisted on going up on a kind of whirling wheel where small buggies were swirled around a large spoke at high speed and 3 stories in the air.

I was the sacrificial lamb to go with her.  The contraption started out and I was horrified to see how close the jerry-built contraption was taking us to a large wall.   Asha, of course, was just chortling with joy at the whole thrill of the ride.  Needless to say, we did not repeat it - and many prayers for safety were positively answered having been fervently offered up by one parent being whirled around with Asha - and another parent watching from below!

As for this year - our thrills were virtual - and at a very small scale.  The final touches to the cake were added by me and voila!

The car at the top of the roller coaster has four folks riding in it.

Enoch and Asha take the front row.

And Oma an Opa the rear.

Now if this were only in real life, on some really vertigo inducing roller coaster - and not just a cake - we would have a very happy girl.

As it was - even at a small scale - we do have a happy girl.

This year has been one of adjustment.

A new school.  New curriculum.  New areas of being stretched - like having to take the school bus for 45 mins to an hour 15 mins each way, each day.

And finding that coming into a group of folks who have known each other for years as an 8th standard student is not easy (surprise: there are cliques!).

Some of these issues are still being worked out - but we are just thrilled to see what God is doing - and the immense further pontential that Asha has.  So we chose Eph. 2.10 for her verse this year.

And so we had games - sadly not the cerebral salad that we had hoped to toss together this time (maybe for Asha's 15th B-day party... if we start preparing now?) - but some rib-ticklers like trying to figure out words by having the letters written on the back (and having another team doing the same).

The lovely thing about laughter is just how infectious it can be.

Memo to self:  more laughter in 2015.

It is certainly good medicine!

Enoch and Harsh were paralysed with it in one of our games - allowing the other team to over take them twice because they just could not shake the giggles in their final lap of the relay.
Great minds at work - feverishly memorising the 49 different objects on display.

We have a bunch of bright kids around.  When the individual lists were pooled together, both teams almost managed to get all of 49 items by memory.

Perhaps the rigours of rote-learning and short term cramming are paying off - rewiring the brain into new shapes?

Memo to self: possible research project on learning styles

Time certainly flies when fun is in the skies - my list of games was not over as the darkness started to fall - and parents started circling ("no, please come up - we very much would like to have you" "we are in the vehicle and have a housing society meeting to attend...").

But some serious business was pending.  We gathered the troops and shared about what Asha meant to us and why we chose to remind ourselves that she - and each one of us - is 'God's masterpiece.'

Time to light the candles!  Gosh, 14 of them!  The numbers mean that some start making nice puddles of wax before everyone is lit....   But what a testimony of God's grace - a small light for each of the 14 years that we have had Asha with us.

 Asha took her big breath:

And huffed and puffed and blew them all out!


Nalini aunty prayed for Asha and blessed our darling girl.

And now for the next part of the party.

In a first for the Eichers, we had pizza to bake.  Thanks to our new oven that Oma and Opa blessed us with.

So each of the kids (and a few of the adults) got to 'decorate' their own pizza with toppings of their choice.
It seems a long way since my boyhood in Nana Chowk, but some things remain the same.

Hot pizza, made 'from scratch,' gladdens the soul - and belly - of many a boy and girl (and that includes bald 45-year-old-boys too).

The one thing missing is a raucous night-time chor-police game - but perhaps we live in a different age today. 

The ruffians that we were, we made our way through multiple compounds and over walls and past chowkidars in the pursuit of 'freeing' those in 'jail.'   I don't think that many 8th and 9th standard kids would do that today (but am very happy to be proved wrong!).

And so in went the beauties - and out came tasty treats!

12 pizzas.  All of 11 wolfed down on the night.

And 1 which remarkably made it through 48 hours before being demolished for breakfast by two hungry young people we know very well (esp. one whose name starts with E and ends with H).

Our using the new oven for baking still needs a bit of fine-tuning partly due to mysterious symbols which mean that we don't know what is 'bake' and what is 'toast' and an instruction book which is sparse on real instruction.

But as a pizza maker - big success!

As the conversation and laughter flowed around the rooms of our apartment - we had pizza after pizza popping up - and being claimed by their 'creators.'

Divya - one of Asha's friends from our building - decided to do her pizza toppings as a face.

Take that Pizza Hut!

Needless to say, it was promptly dispatched.

And so was the time - rapidly dispatched in the swirl of folks coming and going - of multiple conversations spanning rooms and worlds.

How wonderful to have a daughter - and to see the different folks that she brings together.  Friends who are here because of her.  And what a joy it has been to have John and Nalini Gabriel at each of the 14 birthday parties that Asha has had - stretching all the way back to the first party in 2002 when we had just found out that they lived nearby us in Borivali's IC Colony.

So sweet princess Asha...  here is to an amazing 15th year for you!

May this year really be a break-through one for you - where all the joy and delight of who you are spills out and overflows into the lives of others.

Where will you be next year?  Who knows... but our prayer is that you will have shared more of the joy of who you are, with more people and in more ways than we could imagine right now!

This past year was a big one - your baptism, your going to Odisha with Nikita, your shifting schools.

This coming year will I believe be even better.

Onwards and upwards!

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