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Unconventional Celebration

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Gone are the months when I was fighting first trimester fatigue and sickness without feeling the foetus. Gone are the months of second trimester when strangers on the street wondered whether I was sporting a baby bump or just a bulging tummy. Here comes the last trimester when I am properly showing that I am pregnant with active baby movements that leave no place for doubts. Here I am on my last lap of pregnancy. Probably, the last lap of my last pregnancy.

I am not a newbie here. I’ve been down this road before when I carried my son Akhil and with experience comes the wisdom of what to expect and what not to, what is normal and what is not. And the same experience brings back a few unfulfilled expectations that I had been nurturing secretly.

In the last three years since the birth of Akhil, whenever I was invited to or witnessed a baby shower function, some part of me gave a deep sigh, not exactly an upset feeling but a touch of sadness for missing out on it when it was my turn. I had to skip it out then for a multitude of reasons that we better not get into right now. Happy though I was for a wonderful son from my previous pregnancy, I still had this silly silent longing which made me consciously avoid attending such functions of other pregnant women I knew. I kept telling my husband that if at all we decide to have another baby, we should definitely have a baby shower. Now that I am carrying my second child and coming from me, it might sound strange but I badly want to have the baby shower that I missed out the first time around.

It’s a common knowledge that I am an unconventional person who gives precedence to practicality over customs. Why this sudden interest for a conventional function, you might ask, just like how my husband has asked me so many times in the last few months. I don’t know. I don’t really know why. I just know that I want it. Just like cravings and mood swings, I guess this pregnancy makes me desire things that I would have normally brushed aside. Or like my maid hinted, perhaps, the baby in my womb is a cute baby girl that makes me wish for girly things. Fingers crossed!

As misunderstood by many, modern outfits alone doesn’t necessarily signify or symbolize modern thoughts, nor does traditional attire make you any more or less orthodox. It’s all in the cultured and progressive broad mind. Using that statement as my defence, I admit that I want to dress up neat and nice in a silk sari, with bangles, flowers, jewels and paraphernalia, looking every bit traditional and making as many memories of it as possible through photographs and videos to look at and smile later on. The last time I remember dressing up so grand was during my school days classical dance annual day celebrations. I am not counting my wedding here because that didn’t happen the way I would have wanted it to. I was just playing puppets then; doing what I was told to do and asked to do for the greater desire of getting married to the man I wanted to than the way I wanted to. But now, for whatever reasons, I am not giving up on this baby shower opportunity once again.

Baby shower is all about celebrating motherhood and enjoying the attention that it brings. Once the baby comes, everybody’s attention, including and mainly the mother’s gets re-directed to the small little wonder. For once, I crave some of that attention and I want the festivities to be different from the usual parties which is one other reason for this temporary turn towards traditionalism. Having said that, I also want to ensure that whatever is done keeps the environment happy and harmonious for everyone in attendance, without compulsion, stress or embarrassment. Leaving the organizing in the hands of either of our families will defeat the purpose of my desire itself. An unceremonious ceremony, definitely excluding God and religion, with just the good parts from various customs and ethnicities to have a good time is all we want. Vijay and I plan to host it ourselves with just a friend or two in our own residence.

So…we want a baby shower and we are doing it. There is still one big problem. Except for the bangles and food, neither Vijay nor I know what to do or how to go about it. Absolutely clueless. We are not taking personal help as we don’t want to feel obligatory gratitude. That is why I am blogging here, seeking for pointers from everyone who has gone through it, witnessed it or even know just a little more about it. We’d appreciate suggestions from men too as we don’t want this to be a ladies only occasion. Vijay has offered to do my Mehandi, which even though may not be as perfect as a parlour artist’s, will still give a personal touch. More such suggestions are most welcome. Let’s mix a little of this and a little of that and help me have one fun-filled day that’s great for everyone.

Thank you in advance!

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10 thoughts on “Unconventional Celebration

  1. I have had a baby shower and my memories are still afresh….So its basically abt exchange of sweets by both of sides of parents some count like 9 or 11 ; bangles are put on by the aunties who come there and then some snacks or dinner is served…so u can decide wht u want to..

  2. Just reading your blog my memory lane went to my baby shower. We wanted everyone in he crowd to participate so we bought some white onesies and some clothes markers and made all our guests to paint as they wish. It was fun and everybody enjoyed dog it. We collected them and made it into a album . We made everyone sign up the baby record book , may be when Iniya grows up she would enjoy looking at all those cute onesies. Congrats once again archana..

  3. God Bless both of you Archana. Wish you a safe delivery and a beautiful baby!

    Well, its good that you got an another opportunity to get your un fulfilled wishes done. Not for every one!

    More than any custom, I feel its the right moment for a woman to celebrate her ability to give a new life on this earth! Enjoy!

  4. Congrats on your pregnancy Archana!
    Well both me and my husband kind of organized my baby shower here with my mother for help. Bhargavi was kind enough to come down with her husband and help, she also did my mehendi. Catering food is the biggest part of organizing a baby shower, so decide on the menu and order food to a catering service. The next big thing is the goodie bag that you give as a send of gift for your guests. We did sets of grand crafty bangles for all our female guests and a bag of chocolates for the kids.Then comes the nallangu items and room decoration. One of your friends can play photographer and cover the event.And there you go Voila baby shower planned.

  5. Manu congratulations. In our culture, the girl is given lots of dry fruits, fruits and a special ladoo made with a lot of goodness. 🙂 The relatives come bearing gifts and blessings.

  6. @Anonymous: Very well said. Thank you for your kinds words and wishes.

    @Sivasankari: That was a short and sweet plan. I remembered the send off gifts to the ladies (Thanks to Buvana who reminded me that) but how did I miss the goodies for kids. Adding it to the list. Thanks 🙂

    @Pallavi: I am not exactly craving sweets or dry fruits but have been craving ripe mangoes a lot. Maybe I’ll substitute the dry fruits with varieties of mangoes 🙂

  7. There is another custom in our side during baby shower other than Nalangu.Its similar to North indian baby shower ‘Godh Bharai’. When you have ur nalangu, each and every women have to fill ur lap with handful of rice and some fruits(apple or banana). Have a long towel in your lap so that you can collect the blessed rice and fruits. After your nalangu gets completed, tie the towel around your baby bump. Make sure u have to carry the towel with rice and fruits before aarthi. After ur aarthi gets completed, distribute the fruits inside the bag to the small kids.And then u can remove the towel.

    U can try this event…Place a long chart or white board inside the hall and split it into 2 cols with the naming as ‘GIRL’ & ‘BOY’..Ask ur guests to suggest the names for the baby…Ask everyone to involve in this event so that u can get lot of suggestions. While naming ur newborn u can refer the charts….

    Coming to the goodie bag, present a bag for the female guests which contains thaamboolam, bangles,sweets and some silver vessels such as bowls,plates..tumbler sets and so on. For male guets try to give plant siblings along with thamboolam (Go Green!!!). Give choclate bags to kids..

  8. @Vigneshvarshan: Wow Vignesh! Though a bachelor still, you seem to know a lot about Valaikaapu…trust me, I don’t know half as much as you do…once married, you are going to run one ethnic household 🙂

    I can do the rice and fruits ritual but I would like to know the meaning behind it. Any idea? As for the ‘GIRL & BOY’ names, we have already decided names…playing this game would be like cheating 🙂

    And goodie bag, sure, definitely!!

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