Cake, cookies and Jim Reeves

Cake, cookies and Jim Reeves

This picture was taken in 1996 during one of our family vacations. In the picture are my children — Rashmi Cherian Paramesh and Roshan Cherian Paramesh. We always make it a point to go on a holiday at the drop of a hat.

We are a close-knit family and my children are attached to both my husband Paramesh and me. I have always been a very doting mother. Since I was working even when my children were young and never took a break, I was very particular about spending some quality time with my children whenever I could.

No matter how busy I was, I made sure I dropped them to school everyday and would see them off until they went into their classes. Even today, after they have grown up, I still stand by the gate and wave to them until they go out of sight. This is one habit that I find very hard to give up.

Every year, our home comes alive during Christmas. When my children were much younger, we would start planning on how to decorate the Christmas tree in the last week of November and by the first week of December, the tree would be up.  We would travel out of the country at least twice a year on work because both Paramesh and I are in the medical field. And every time we went overseas, we would bring back a little something to adorn the tree. Our collection of decorations for the Christmas tree has grown over the years and now we have decorations from at least seven countries. 

The December festive mood would be rung in with Christmas music — mostly Jim Reeves playing non-stop. I would make all the goodies at home be it the cake, rose cookies, mixture, diamond cuts, ‘chaklis’… and never buy them from outside.

On Christmas eve, we attend the midnight mass and on Christmas day, after wishing each other, we rush to the tree to open the gifts that each one has bought for the other. That includes our five pets   who are an integral part of the family. It is fun to watch the dogs rip open their presents.

The unwrapping of gifts happen before an elaborate breakfast of ‘appam’, chicken stew and vegetable stew with a host of other dishes and snacks spread across a decorated table.

A few days before Christmas, the homemade cakes and goodies are distributed among neighbours and friends. We also have a host of family and friends trickling in on Christmas day. Earlier, I would cook but now since the visitors have increased, we hire a cook and get the ‘biryani’ made at home. In the evening, we visit my parents and siblings who also live in the City and like a Santa Claus we carry gifts for all of them, especially my little nieces and nephews, whose gift list reaches me in advance.

Paramesh and I believe that Christmas is all about sharing and we always reach out to people, especially the less fortunate and help them in whatever capacity we can.
Now our children visit a few orphanages and distribute sweets. This is a tradition that we have been following for years.  Christmas for me has certainly changed over the years.
The children have become older and are busy with both of them being in the medical profession.

Dr Paramesh is a practising Pediatric Pulmonologist and Environmentalist and continues his practice at the New Sirona Center for Health Promotion and I am active in my work, involving public health andpolicy making.

Rotary keeps me on my toes as well. But, no matter how scattered the four of us maybe,
we make it a point to come together as a family during Christmas time.

Elizabeth Cherian Paramesh (Elizabeth can be contacted at elizabethcherianp@gmail.com)
(As told to Nina C George)

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