The big cake, all chocolate, looking sinfully rich in calories.
Minutes later, the calories were rubbed on the birthday boy's face. Mohanraj Nallappan, in a futile attempt to wipe with the tissue paper was being mobbed the next second, his face gaining more calories.
Mohanraj turned 24 on Tuesday.
"I was taken aback and was embarrassing," Mohanraj smiled.
"But it's a big honour for me," Mohanraj told www.the-aiff.com.
"The players who I look upto, sang for me and even the coach. I just can't believe it. I did not even think the team would come up with such a gesture. We are one big family," he said.
"Earlier I have been a part of the Senior India Camp but the Birthday Celebrations never happened," he said.
Mohanraj's journey began under Colm Joseph Toal, Head Coach, Youth Development in 2007.
"I was 17 then and Colm-sir drafted me into the U-19 national squad for the AFC U-19 Qualifiers," he said.
"Thereafter, I was referred by Toal-sir into the senior India squad. Though I did not get much playing time, the experience of staying in the Camp matured me a lot," Mohanraj said.
"The style of playing has changed in the senior national squad. Earlier it was different. But now Koevermans-sir stresses on positional play and keeping possession. That's what Modern Football is all about," he said.
"This is a chance which fell on my lap from nowhere. And now it's upto me to make the most of it," he said about his call up into the squad for the SAFF Championship. It doesn't matter whether I play or not. Everyone has a specific role in the Team. If I am able to cement my place in the squad, my mom would so much happy. I take strength from my Bible," he said.
--IBNS (Posted on 28-08-2013)