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Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Chp 842. Ryders 2020

As we all grow up and continue our journey through life, we come across new friends along the way, maybe from school or college or office or other places, but the one set of friends we can never forget are the childhood neighbourhood friends we grew up with.

These are the kids who lived just next door or a few buildings away, kids you went to your local Church with right from Beginner's or Primary Department, kids you invited over for your birthday parties and who in return invited you to their's, kids you exchanged Christmas cards with, kids you shared your GI Joe or Barbie collections with. Basically, your locality gang.

I know a lot of people who got out of touch with such friends and went their separate ways, maybe because of being in different social circles or simply because they grew up and moved on. I on the other hand, consider myself to be really lucky because till today, we form a close-knit circle. We call ourselves "Ryders". :)

Our gang of friends had been really tight since the very beginning, and that bond was made even tighter as we played basketball together every evening (well, not every evening for me since I was away at boarding school, but I always played with them whenever I came home for my vacations).

Earlier this year, we had a group dinner together, just before the CoVid-19 outbreak. As I had been blogging only about the pandemic since then, I realized I never got to write about this dinner on my blog, and so before this year ends, here it is.

That night was a special dinner event because not only were we all dining together again after a really long time, it was also a private function to commemorate those of us who had lost our fathers recently.

The event was held at Arie's grandparent's house, and we specifically selected this venue because it was also the main house of three of our Ryder members, all brothers, who were no longer with us. Maremtea left us on 24th November 2010, followed by his elder brother Mapuia on 8th November 2015 (Chp 580. Farewell Mapui) and finally the eldest brother Matea on 8th January 2018 (Chp 695. RIP Matea).

With three of them no longer with us, the least we could do was hold the programme at their house to honour them and keep their spirits alive.

Sanga chaired the programme, followed by Bible passage reading and prayer from Robert.

After that we had the ceremonial presentation of citations to those of us who had lost our dads recently. I received the citation from Arie to remember my father Pu V.L.Rema.

Mazualtea received the citation from Mary Ann to remember his father Pu K.Thangchuanga.

Tlantea received the citation from Zomuani to remember his father Pu Vanlalmuana.

Johnson received the citation from Thianghlimi to remember his father Pu Liandinga Pachuau.

This was the beautifully framed citation I received that day.

After that, the floor was thrown open to any of us who wanted to share a few words with the group. A lot of good messages were shared, from reminiscing about the past and how we all grew up together as kids around 40 years ago to how we all still hang out together even today.

The rest of us listened attentively...

Usually, BSa above would be the one to pray and give us all sacrament etc., as he's an unofficial Pastor, but he decided to take a break that night.

We ended our programme with the Lord's Prayer. After that, it was group photo time. :)

Dinner was set up on the lawn outside by Dam Dam Catering.

Since the caterers were still setting things up, we decided to take another group photo because Machris-i wasn't there in the earlier pic as she was busy putting her baby to sleep. :)

Yes, with most of us now married with kids and some of us even divorced with kids, it was indeed a big challenge to find the time to get together at one place at the same time. That was also one of the reasons why we hired a caterer because a couple of years ago, we would have just cooked the food ourselves as that was the fun part, but we didn't have time for that anymore. Welcome to adulthood.

Soon dinner was ready! Yumm yummmm.

You've probably heard of a romantic candlelit dinner, right? But I bet you've never heard of a Taxi headlight lit dinner? :D

Yeah it was dark outside, so we relied on the vehicle lights to see the food, while others shone their mobile phone flashlights to see what they were serving on their plates! :D

My delicious plate. :)

Biakropuia missed the function due to work but he made it just in time to eat. :D

Chhangchhe laif. Below is how Koreans eat dinner apparently.

After dinner relaxation time. Notice the window reflection behind. Wow, such cameramanship! :P

We took a couple more of group photos before we dispersed.

With the wonderful Arie Ralte, also known as "geu yeo-ja-ga neo-mu ye-ppeo" [ė˜ˆėœ ė—Žėž].

Ignore my speckled face above as my pimple outbreak was in the process of healing but hadn't quite healed yet back then [Chp 793. Pimples]

Mary Ann too was busy with her photoshoot session as her diehard fans hounded her and clicked her pictures everywhere.

And of course while we Ryder-guys were happy with the main group photo, the Ryder-ladies had to take separate group photos of just them ladies alone, for various social media uploads, like the main group photo would be set at public visibility for everyone to see, while their exclusive ladies group photo would be set at "crush visibility" where only their "stars" could view the pictures. Aaahh, women. :D

As long as they're happy, who are we to judge? :)

And with that, we ended the fabulous dinner and I thanked them all for the heart-warming citation about my dad. Special shout-out to Tluanga who really went out of his way to make this dinner happen, as he pestered everyone endlessly for many weeks. It wouldn't be wrong to say he's the main glue that stick our group together.

Though this coming Christmas and New Year will be different from other years as we won't be hanging out together as a group because of CoVid-19, knowing that they are all just a couple of houses away fills my heart with warmth.

This year had given a lot of us bad experiences and memories, but having childhood friends who will always be there for us no matter a Pandemic or Armageddon puts me at ease.

Here's to the Ryders, past and present, including the ones who couldn't make it that night like Adam, Hriatpuia, Rami, Rintluanga etc., even the ones who are no longer with us like Zela, Zothana, Maremtea, Mapuia, Matea, may we all ride forever. Cheers.