Thursday, 21 February 2013

Make God Happy, Stay Dirty on Thursdays!

Being a woman has never been easy. Being a 'bahu' in a traditional family is even more difficult. Women in my 'sasural' do not find certain things surprising/shocking/weird/funny because that is a way of life for them. All of them have been born and brought up in similar environment to live a life typically consisting of 'pooja-paath' and cooking.
During my initial days as a bride, I was most flummoxed by rituals and laws associated with women's hairwash. Apparently, one should not wash her hair on a monday if she has a son. Tuesdays are okay. Wednesday is bad for anything in this family, so no hairwash on that day either. Thursday is Lord Vishnu's day, so no one is allowed to use soap on that day, a married woman washing her grimy locks is necessarily prohibited. On Friday, you should not wash your hair if you have got your periods. Saturday is the day of 'Mahakaal', so no hairwash. Sunday is fine. Now, you should also not wash your hair on a 'no moon day' (amavasya), since you are not allowed to open you 'sindoordan' (the case containing sindoor) and a hairwash means you HAVE to apply sindoor after it immediately. And then there are some other days, known as 'panchak' (I have no idea what is that) which are bad for anything again. So if those are on a Sunday or a Tuesday, you do not get a hairwash!
I, on the other hand have different things to do. I have an office to go to, shopping, friends, parties, long list...hence require more grooming than the above schedule allows. Now, if I am not a smart woman who could sort out this issue, could God create an 8th day in a week!

Edited on 29th January 2015: This was supposed to be a funny post about how I feel about certain rituals. But since it is the most popular post on this blog, and most searched for using the keywords 'can girls wash their hair on amavasya', I now know it is a serious issue for many more like me. Read more here. Hope that helps.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Samosaphobia, Pakodalogy

Mom in law (On a fine morning): How about today we make samosas? That tiffin box from your uncle's has to be sent back.

Me: .... (Scared!!)

My samosaphobia is only 20 days older than Coco. The morning I made samosas for the first time in my life, I got admitted in the hospital at 32 weeks of pregnancy and came out exactly a month later with baby and all!

After that fateful morning, mere mention of a samosa is enough to take the wind out of me, a hard core lover of the triangular savouries.

As long as we are on this subject, I must mention an amusing pakoda ritual I heard about. When I was carrying Coco, two other ladies in the family were expecting as well. There is usually a curiosity to find out the gender of the unborn child, and when you have three children coming, it just adds to the curiosity an angle of betting. Coco's great-granny who is a walking encyclopedia of child-raising and such matters rustled up a pakoda batter and fried some fritters. On the basis of their shapes she declared all three of us were going to give birth to boys.
My April Fool special cotton pakodas!

The first two were girls. Great-granny was upset, her pakodalogy had failed her miserably. On the basis of these two cases, she rubbished her own announcement about the third child. After Coco was born, she somewhat regained her confidence in the science of pakodas. After all her science gives one-third correct results, statistically proven! 

Friday, 15 February 2013

For the sake of the name!

Couldn't agree more with Mr. Jug Suraiya. Reading his article, I was reminded of my own 'baby name finding quest'.
When I wanted to give a unique as well as meaningful name to my four month old son, I was overwhelmed with these new era designer names. Everything from Vivaan to Kiyaan was suggested but I insisted on the meaningfulness of the name. Now, his great grandfather, who has named two other schoolgoing kids in the family as 'Manmohan' and 'Jagmohan',  wants to name him 'Rajkumar'. Though it is a good name and meaningful too, I would never ever name my child 'Rajkumar', with all due respect! For when he grows up, he will ask me why did I let that happen to him! I usually imagine being in the novel 'The Namesake'. Though I have named him 'Darsh' which is Lord Krishna's name and qualifies on all my parameters,  great-grampa still insists on 'Rajkumar'! I let him be, as long as the kid's birth certificate has 'Darsh' on it.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

8 a.m. approximately

Me: Baby, good morning!
Coco: (sports his toothless grin)
Me: Happy Valentine's Day...

In & Out

I am not a big fan of changes. I was not quite happy when monotonous Doordarshan gave way to jazzy and colourful cable TV. Even changing wallpaper of my desktop takes a great deal of effort and procrastination, mainly because of the love of the old one. But when it comes to a big change i.e. moving home, I am usually looking forward to it. Probably because changing locations every few years is a way of life since I was a kid.

Packing everything and moving into a new home is a great phenomena. It is a lesson in philosophy if you give it a good thought. You get a chance to go through all the stuff you have been meaning to go through since long. Stuff is separated in 'to keep' and 'to throw/give away/sell' piles.

It is a great opportunity to sort your papers and get reminded about whereabouts of important receipts and documents. Old clothes pushed deep into the closet get another hearing.

Then, when you reach your new home, the process changes into a creative, imaginative and spiritual journey. You discover new corners where you will get cosy in winters and new ways to decorate the same old furniture.

You find out positives and negatives of the new place and compare it with the old one to your heart's content. You have a shot at changing what you did not like in your old home. In a day or two you get familiar with the nuances of the new place, doors, windows, taps and electric switches. Oh! The joy of sipping morning tea in a new home, planning the new set up. You visualize it sitting amidst the mess of half unpacked boxes and from this mess emerges the new abode of your dreams.

(My previous home)
You admire your own work a few times and start getting accustomed to the newness of the decor. Freshly laundered curtains and sheets, crisply ironed, look as alert at their new places as if they are newly appointed policemen. Carpets and doormats look new by sheer newness of their placement. In this way a few days go, filling the time slots of homemakers and their families.

On my recent moving in, apart from all of the above, something new happened too. I got a little surprise, a beautiful one, with nature's blessings. Something that I had missed completely amidst all the coming and going, moving cartons and arranging stuff.

There it was, on one of the bathroom windows in a corner. A pigeon which got startled when I entered and flew away. Then I saw her nest, and two lovely little eggs carefully placed in the nest.

After the first encounter, however the pigeon did not fly away. She stayed sitting in her nest, as she knew we were no immediate danger, nevertheless she never looked away, always on her guard. No matter which angle I chose to photogarph her, I could always see her looking with alarm.

It has been more than 10 days here and I see the mother pigeon everyday, sitting on her eggs and looking at me. I want to click the eggs' photo but she never seems to leave her nest. Great Mother Nature! You have created mothers with such strong will, that even the most gentle pigeon has the courage not to fly away out of fear of humans, but to stay and protect her eggs, putting her own life at stake.
The pigeon is waiting for her chicks to come out of the eggs and so am I. I am so excited to see little pigeon babies up so close and to photograph them. I wish Coco was a big enough to see and understand too. I guess I will show him these pictures when he grows up. Who knows one day Coco will have his own little birdie tale to tell the world.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Hello blog!

Moving home, shopping, attending an outstation wedding and taking care of Coco... have kept me freakishly busy in the past 10 days or so. So busy that I have no time to attend phone calls, let alone make a call. I have to deliver a couple of 'Congrats' and 'Happy Birthday' wishes as well as to get in touch with touchy relatives who would mind the absence of communication. In serious need of a haircut, I am looking like a nomad; for want of imagination (and time) in the kitchen, I am eating whatever food comes my way.

Rains and increased chill have made the atmosphere gloomy and certain other things are heavy on the mind.

Amidst all this, I missed my blog. So, no particular topic, this post is just to come here and keep in touch with my project which is a secret for family and friends till now.