We talked on the phone with Enoch last night.
"How are you? Are you having a good time?" Typical parent questions.
Enoch's reply: "I am having a super-good time."
Asha and Enoch have spent a day and a night with their good friends Rishav and Urvashi. We had been down in Sion at Arvind and Putul's for our weekly Bible study. We spent the night with the family - and in the morning Sheba and I went to Andheri to meet a friend of ours in hospital. We left the kids with Putul (Arvind left for his duty along with us) and the kids happy friends Rishav and Urvashi.
A small step. Letting the kids live apart from us for a little while. Only a little longer than 24 hours - Arvind's family brought Asha and Enoch to our home-fellowship this morning. But what a huge gap in our lives with the happy twosome not being there.
I think back to my own boyhood and the magical allure of the sleepover.
Our first and foremost destination was the home of Sammy, Danny and David - our friends and heroes and the sons of Uncle Alfy and Auntie Addy Franks. Their house in Prabhadevi was another world. A place of intense excitement for Stefan and myself.
We would take bus No. 81 from Nana Chowk and alight near Shivaji Park and then walk across the maidan to their flat. Up the narrow staircase, past the cement-tank which served as a table tennis table, into the mini-porch which Uncle Alfy had turned into a mini-Eden. Then into the joy of Sammy-Danny-David.
Being older than us - David the youngest is a year older to me - the Franks boys were always well ahead of us in knowing new things. They patiently showed us their models, shared their stories from school, taught us new jokes, played music on the stereo-system they had miraculously built and in general took us by the hand - but treated us as equals. Theirs was a spartan home - 3 tiny rooms filled with furniture and books and whatnot - but most importantly their home was filled with love.
What I didn't realise till now is the small but real tug that must have been in my parents' hearts as they let us make our first steps of freedom. Those journeys over to the Franks' place were ones that I remember as pure joy - with the excitement of late-night chats when all five of us boys were lying down together telling stories and jokes. I don't have any memory of how my parents felt. Now I do. A generation later.
We did not even have a phone in those days. But I am sure that if my father had called me up and asked me whether I was having a good time - I would have replied just like Enoch: "I am having a super-good time." History repeats.