Blessed life here and there
Dhau-Baji alias Baby Shower
Rajiva Shanker Shresta
Back home everyone was nonplussed when they found us leaving the place so suddenly amidst our otherwise busy life. It was a year or so only back home and this trip off the shore again no one could have imagined. Worldly people we are and more attached when it is a family matter. Someone was coming to join our family after a long while all this life. What could be more exciting thing to happen and when it is a matter of being proud grandparents nothing could stop us. Priorities suddenly changed since our presence was much needed here on this great occasion. With things happening in split second in this mundane world, being away from near and dear ones was quite difficult for us to bear but had to. But life is like that when we have to accept things as they come. Wise say, "Life is too short to worry about what others say or think about you. So just enjoy life, have fun and give them something to talk about."
Do not know much what was the way elsewhere to welcome new arrival but found this time the best one could ever see. This is the case we should be grateful to all for giving us this opportunity to witness whatever was in our share. Rachna already had a surprise before when cousin Urvashi invited her for lunch one weekend. She and her husband Vimal were in utter surprise to find what they had in store there. It was a function to celebrate with some of their common friends gathered to congratulate the expectant mother. Such a celebration in honour of motherhood is well known as Baby Shower and in our Newar custom the ritual is called Dhau-Baji Nakegu/ Dahi-Chiura Khuwaune, i.e., curd-flattened rice feeding. These are done in advance stage of pregnancy usually after seven months. It helps a lot to boost the morale of expectant mother suffering/enjoying that hardship after all those months of difficullt life one has to pass through compared to otherwise she had been accustomed to. While it is the duty of parents to feed Dhau-Baji to their daughter, for Baby shower such an onus goes to her friends to help welcome the new stage of life. Rachna had earlier been organizing such celebrations for her friends and it was their turn now to honour the mother-to-be in return - more out of gratitude which she would be thankful ever. Life thus goes on welcoming a new life!
Dhau-Baji Nakegu is a traditional system when relatives invite the expectant mother after seven months to have a meal together with preparations made of her preferences. Eighth month is taken more cautiously and every care taken to keep her happy and contended. Parents go to daughter's house accompanied by female members of the family with a variety of food of her preferences besides sweets, fruits, 'thon', 'aila', dhau-baji of course and 'yomari' even. Close relatives are invited to join and enjoy the occasion together. Prayers and food items offered first to Goddess Harati Ma seeking blessings. Both mother-to-be and future father are congratulated and given 'sagan' with a gift. It is believed to bring well-being to the baby in mother's womb while wishing expectant mother its safe delivery. It is deemed improper to visit father's house thereafter. It is usually done as soon as the pregnancy is made known and for the first child, while for later ones she is instead invited to visit her father's house for the age-old ritual. In case a baby is not born even after 10th month, the ritual is repeated all over once again. Customarily baby is not delivered at her father's home as being considered inauspicious. (to be continued next Sunday)