Christmas at evam
T’was the eve before Christmas. The city had an electric air to it; rife with the joy, excitement and anticipation that only the approaching New Year could bring. Stores around the city ceremoniously parked their "hired and badly malnourished" Santas outside their showrooms ready to accost the unsuspecting customer and infuse in them the Christmassy spirit. Bakeries overflowed with Christmas goodies and here and there a pine tree could be seen decked with colorful baubles and sparkling lights. Children especially love this time of the year. Time for Santa to bring in the loot and make it good. After all eating veggies, doing homework and being good is hard work you know. There's gotta be a payoff!!!
It's also the season for togetherness. Family reunions..... big lunches and dinners around tables heaped with lip-smacking khana...... warm hugs.... and lots and lots of love.
The only problem is that not everyone enjoys Christmas the way we do. Not all children are fortunate enough to have a roof over their heads and have loving parents shower them with affection and gifts. Christmas time is always hardest on the orphans.
The Nivedita home in Neelangarai, run by Prasad and Vimala is a haven for orphaned and abandoned girls. One look at their bright faces and chirpy attitudes is enough to show that the home really cares for them. The atmosphere is so informal.... it actually feels like one big family. It was here that Team Evam decided to spread some much-needed Christmas cheer.
The Christmas party, masterminded by KK had one simple goal..... make it an evening the kids would remember. Everyone pitched in..... even the newbies. We took pizza, gifts, sweets, chocolates, balloons, cake, annoying party gear like whistles and paper hats and finally we all parked our "heinies" in the courtyard of the Nivedita home at 4 pm. Now came the problem..... how to entertain the kids?? Despite being an entertainment group, staging a play was simply out of the question. No point in depressing the 7 to 14 year olds with Neil Simonesque theatre. Mindless fun was the need of the hour. So what did we do? Why......"passing the parcel" of course! With a big pink balloon as the parcel and us and the kids as the ... uh .... passers, seated in a loose circle in the garden, the game began in earnest. Shooshaa was the first to fall. Must be his humongous hands or something. Anyway.... his task (please read as public humiliation) was to break dance for everyone. After his broken dance, Evamites and the girls fell at regular intervals. The punishments got wackier, performances got worse, eardrums got tortured, hope in the future of Indian dance got shattered and above all everyone had a rollicking good time laughing at each other. Once again, KK proved quite convincingly that he had made the right choice in becoming an actor and not a singer. By far the worst act awards had to go to Santosh and Vijay (the newbie). Santosh was forced to moan "Uyire" in a happy manner that nonetheless left us all in tears and Vijay tried to make an attempt at dance that ultimately resembled a jumping bean in heat.
After that craziness, we all headed indoors and distributed goodies to the kids. There was something so heartening in watching their flushed little faces savor the pizza and Christmas cake. Loud and raucous Christmas carols followed soon after with everyone pitching in (if only the Pope could have heard us!). Chaya with her Nikon played journalist and captured the event for posterity. And lastly little gifts like colorful bangles were distributed to the girls.
The evening finally ended with hugs and kisses all around. We could see that the girls were genuinely sorry to see us go. With a few heartrending farewells and assurances that we would see them again, we departed from the Nivedita home with smiles on our faces. This was truly an evening to remember.