It's been a weekend of showers. After the big treasure-hunt baby shower The Doula Gang threw for Boo, Moppet's Mom, Kodi's Mom, Desigirl, Lavs, RV, Planet Halder and Rohini, I hosted one for my friend Gayatri who's expecting her second baby in six more weeks. She's Punjabi, married to a German and they have a 16 m o daughter, Tara. Preparations for the Doula shower made me consider going ahead with one in real life so I contacted Andi (G's husband) and we started scheming. From stealing phone numbers off G's phone to going into the intricacies of making a chicken salad, we emailed and phoned and I tried not to get scared. Because a Bengali baby shower, a traditional shaad, is something I've not really had, so I was pretty shaky on what's done. Add to that a total lack of knowledge of Punjabi rituals.
So I asked around, and picked up a custom here, a dish there. Called up a couple of G's friends and they rallied around with enthusiasm. Called up my favourite non-granny too. Brought out the silverware, the dinner set and the enthusiasm from storage.
Here's the gang:
From l to r: me, with Tara on my lap, Steffi with her younger daughter Shreya asleep on her, Gayatri looking pretty, Adriana of the beautiful smile and in front, her daughter Tamires who reminds one of how wonderful daughters can be.
First Adriana started a game where we all tried to guess G's girth. Guess what, a pregnant mum, look she never so huge, is still much smaller than you think! We all misguessed like mad, obviously.
We sat around chatting some, then G cut the cake brought by Adriana. It was delicious, softly melting and wonderfully chocolaty. In short, quite perfect. You can see Dipali's alu chaat behind it, to the left, and the dhoklas she brought just above. To the right is a plateful of salsa and cheese crackers, most yummy even if I do say so myself. The silver glass contains water for G, but there was also some watermelon juice made by V before he, along with his son, was kicked off the premises.
Apart from all this, there was un-payeshlike payesh I had made. Am quite crestfallen about that one, because that was pretty important ritual-wise. Oh and since Andi and I had discussed a chicken salad, there was a nice, cold egg salad on the table.
Dipali and I served it on the silverware and Tara fed her mum the payesh. Traditionally, a little boy does it, to ensure that the baby turns out to be male too, but in this case it seemed silly and I also wanted to make this a special evening for T, because pretty soon she's going to be an elder sibling and that's as permanent as parenthood!
So she had a little plate of her own, and was seated in the high chair and fed by Dipali. Apart from the payesh-feeding, we did the Marwari thing of whispering into the mum-to-be's ears of what her baby was going to be like; I also handed out some bangles to all. Not sure where that's from, but I like bangles! You can see people wearing them, green and red glass ones.
V had blown up lots of balloons and Tara and Shreya played around with them.
Steffi's youngest is an extremely pretty child, with the most arresting grey eyes, as you can see here. Last I saw her she had a headful of pretty hair so imagine my shock when I saw this!
I wavered for a minute but I don't think I can bear to contemplate The Bhablet going bald. Even though it's hot enough here.
Tara has got used to our new place and made herself right at home.
The bat and bright orange ball you can see in the foreground were The Bhablet's share of the spoils. Dipali refused to leave him out of the gift-giving. Did I ever mention she reminds me of my parents? That's their philosophy too.
And lastly, here's a shot of our photographer-babysitter: