Blessed life here and there
Dhau-Baji alias Baby Shower
Rajiva Shanker Shresta
Baby shower is not so common as yet back home. To know more about a google-search led me to Wikipedia that started with etymology - "The term shower is often assumed to mean that the expectant mother is 'showered' with gifts. Alternatively the term possibly denotes a 'first showing' of the new baby to the wider family and circle of friends." Baby bump is no longer a taboo nor to shy about like in our times but to flaunt proudly and even seen expectant mothers doing ramp-walk these days. Wikipedia support my belief/stand - "Baby shower as a term is relatively new, but the celebrations and rituals associated with pregnancy and childbirth are both ancient and enduring." Extracts shared here give us some idea about it :
"Traditionally, baby showers are given only for the family's first child, and only women are invited. According to etiquette authority 'Miss Manners', because the party centers on gift-giving, the baby shower is typically arranged and hosted by a close friend rather than a member of the family, since it is considered rude for families to beg for gifts on behalf of their members. However, this custom varies by culture or region and in some it is expected and customary for a close female family member to host the baby shower, often the baby's grandmother. When a baby shower is held after the birth of a baby, an invitation to attend the shower may be combined with a baby announcement.
"Guests bring small gifts for the expectant mother. Mothers are usually given pampering treats. Typical gifts related to babies include diapers, blankets, baby bottles, clothes, and toys. It is common to open the gifts during the party; sometimes the host will make a game of opening gifts.
"In the United States baby shower is a common tradition and in Canada it is also a fairly common tradition while in the United Kingdom baby showers are not historically customary, although have become more common with younger generations following the import of American culture.
"In Nepal, a baby shower party is called 'dahi-chiura' and is celebrated on the 6-7th month of pregnancy.
"In Hindu tradition, they are called by different names depending on the community the family belongs to.
"In northern India it is known as 'godbharaai', in western India, especially Maharashtra, the celebration is known as 'dohaaljewan', and in West Bengal and Odisha it is called 'saadhroshi'.
"In Southern India, in Tamil Nadu/Andhra Pradesh it is called Seemantham or Valaikaapu or Poochoottal and in Karnataka it is called Seemanta.
"In Gujarat, it is known as 'Seemant' or 'Kholo Bharyo'. It's religious rituals in most of Gujarati Hindus during 5th or 7th Month of pregnancy. A pregnant woman can only go to her father's home for delivery after her 'Seemant'. Usually it's only for the first child. They offer special prayer and food to the goddess 'Randal, the wife of the Sun'.
"In Kerala, it is known as 'Pulikudi' or 'Vayattu Pongala', and is practiced predominantly in the Nair community, though its popularity has spread to other Hindu sects as well over the years. On an auspicious day, after being massaged with homemade ayurvedic oil, the woman has a customary bath with the help of the elderly women in the family. After this, the family deity is worshipped, invoking all the paradevatas (family deities) and a concoction of herbal medicines prepared in the traditional way, is given to the woman. The woman is dressed in new clothes and jewellery used for such occasions. A big difference in the western concept of baby shower and Hindu tradition is that the Hindu ceremony is a religious ceremony to pray for the well-being of the baby. In most conservative families gifts are bought for the mother-to-be but not the baby. The baby is showered with gifts only after birth."
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Rachna's friends here were waiting us to arrive and surprise her with one more baby shower the way they do here. Though known originally to be only female affair and still in some countries like ours, there was no hold bar to make the show grand and gorgeous enough. They had taken care to invite Urvashi-Bikash with her mother Sundari who had arranged Rachna's baby shower first. Tina's parents were also with us to share the joy. Ranjana thanked them all for the wonderful experience to be together on this happy occasion and for showering love and affection to the expectant mother. For the first time we attended such a function that had all the requisites to make it a complete baby shower with fun, decorations, games, cakes and gifts besides lavish spread out for lunch catering done by Rachna's colleague Kiran to take care of everything there in his restaurant so well!
There was yet another Baby shower to her utter surprise when Rachna's colleagues had organized one at work-place. Not to be left out there was one even to take father-to-be Vimal by surprise when his colleagues had arranged Baby shower for him as well. Pretext was of office meeting, where the surprise waited in both the occasions.
Lastly, it was Dhau-Baji from our side - a ceremony that was done as per the Newar way. It was in a simple way but solemnly done invoking Lord Ganesh by lighting auspicious lamp with prayer to wish good health to the mother-to-be and safe arrival of the baby. Otherwise, in Nepal Dhau-Baji Nakegu these days is ostentatious affair as it could be keeping with the neo-cultural renaissance perhaps. Anyway our culture has to be kept aglow and vibrant whatever possible way lest it goes into oblivion!
It was in May again and the year 2008 our daughter tied up nuptial knot with Vimal added to our family. Also the month we were blessed with our daughter Rachna. One more reason to rejoice this season being blessed with a new arrival in our family.
As this episode gets readied, we had another pleasant surprise. Not very far behind was the news of one more baby shower celebrated back home. Not heard of such a ceremony being held ever before, many had a reason enough to believe it to be yet another trendsetter like many other events held at Rachna Books. It was in honour of motherhood for expectant Sarvada being blessed along with our son Raman becoming a proud father soon! (Concluded)
Disclaimer: This is author’s personal account of memories updated to cherish and treasure often on a detour here and there en route to share the joy of the journey called life. Some names (*asterisk for those no more), quotes, places and events mentioned are just to connect with and no malice whatsoever intended. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His latest "The Newars World~Wide Connecting the Dots : Sikkim" is available at Rachna Books