Sunday, August 18, 2013

Me on the day of my Baby Shower--May 1971
In India every aspect of Life is to be celebrated with some festivity or another.One of the most popular aspects is the 7th. month of one's first pregnancy--this involves a lot of Fun and Frolic--for it is a very joyous occasion.The questions about having babies begin the day of the Wedding itself and can be quite unnerving so early into one's marriage.Specially in our Era it was very prevalent till one replied in the affirmative.Aunts etc. would nudge me with their elbow and look at me with their tongues in the cheeks and a twinkle in their eyes-----but luckily for me ,my affirmative reply was pretty quick to come!!
Now one was supposed to keep mum about becoming a mum till one was well into the 3rd. month of pregnancy and then too it would be slyly announced by the elders in the house with requisite dignity.For me it was both exhiliarating as well as terrifying!!While I always wanted a baby of my own,the thought that it could well nigh kill me terrified me.The reason for this was my extreme possesiveness about Sudhir---I was scared that he'd find another wife within days of my death!!Poor man--it must have been sheer hell for him to live with me till I was sent home to my parents after the Baby Shower ceremony.Until then I literally drove him mad driving me all over Town for particular Snacks whenever the whim or fancy struck me!!Except for one or two remonstrances he suffered in silence and drove me wherever I wanted to go with a resigned look!!
The Baby Shower itself was celebrated with all the traditional trimmings---my hair was dressed up with loads of Flowers,I was decked up in a rich Gold Brocade Sari and heavy Gold Jewellery and was blindfolded while choosing between a Gold ring(Angthi/Anguthi--female) and a Silver Rupee(Rupiya--male) I picked the former--to be confirmed just two months later by Lotta's birth!!There was all my favourite Food at the table and the huge Silver "Thali" set out before me was full to brim and almost overflowing!!Till today the Event still has a magical feel to it and I can still recall almost every little bit of it!!This over I was ceremoniously packed off to my parents for their part of the Festivities.Before I left however there were a large number of Invitations to honour--belonging to a large family meant loads of Gifts!!
I ended up with an astounding number of Silk saries---in various Indian styles ranging from contemporary to the traditional Ikat and Kanchipurams!!In all this an amusing incident occurred.My oldest paternal uncle invited us all over Dinner to his home in South Bombay.A few days before this Dinner his wife Kaki (Aunt) showed me a beautiful Kanchipuram sari in a beautiful shade of an inky Royal Blue--and asked me whether I liked it.If not, she said she'd get it exchanged.The sari was so beautiful that I loved it on sight and ruled out the exchange bit.Coming home I very excitedly gave the details of the Sari to Atya and Nina--describing it as best I could.Now Atya was a bit surprised that my Uncle and Aunt had gone to such expense and knowing her brother pretty well she said as much but my question about the exchange had her puzzled as well.Finally the day for the Dinner arrived and we reached their home on time.My Kaki opened the door to us--welcoming us in--dressed in the self same Sari!!I'm sure my face must have fallen so fast that I just couldn't pick it off the floor and pin it back into place!!This has gone down in the annals of Family history as an amusing joke--but though I can laugh heartily at it today for me it still remains one of the most embarrassing moments of my life!!

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