Skip to main content

Home to visit Mother!

Ashi is a woman who lives in our neighbourhood.  We don't know her as Mrs. Anything, only Ashi because she was a friend of my mother-in-law from long back.  About a year ago, she visited us with wedding invitations.  Her daughter Lalita was about to be married.  I knew that Asha had a daughter but I didn't know her very well as the family is not English speaking, so our opportunities for convesation are limited.  My Hindi is not very good, unfortunately, just limited to basics.  Unfortunately we were unable to take advantage of Ashi's kind invitation because on the very same day, a relative of ours was to be married and we had to attend that wedding.  So we gave our regrets.

Recently, Ashi returned again with invitations, this time a verbal one, not a card.  Lalita, she informed us, had recently given birth to a daughter and she had come home to visit her family.  The ladies of our house were invited to come around on Sunday evening.

My mother-in-law doesn't attend parties now.  She used to enjoy social gatherings, but keeps away from them since my father-in-law's death in January.  My sister-in-law was feeling unwell.  So it was left to me to attend.  My mother-in-law advised me to wear a sari.  I took my two youngest children along with me, having washed their faces and dressed them respectably.  Ashi's house is not too far away so it took a mere five minutes to walk there.  When I reached the house, I was instructed to go upstairs.  The main room upstairs was filled with women of all ages and stages, sitting mostly on the carpet.  I  looked around and saw the usual neighbourhood ladies who are always found at such gatherings.  'The usual suspects,' I call them.  I spotted my next door neighbour Mrs. Asha Singh, who called me to sit beside her.  I made my way over there.  Everyone was dressed up in their fine silk saris and gold chains and bangles were in evidence everywhere.

Earlier in the day, there head been a religious ceremony to invoke God's blessings on Lalita's newborn child.  Lalita looked radiant and very slim indeed, wearing a beautiful lehenga chunni.  That is the Rajasthani version of the sari, in the form of a skirt, blouse and veil.  Rajasthan is a state in western India, possibly this family's place of origin.  She looked completely happy and relaxed.  She and several of her sisters danced for the gathering to traditional Rajasthani music.  They were very good dancers, every last one of them.  Lalita seemed to be the most energetic of the lot of them, which I thought was amazing considering she'd recently delivered a baby.

After the dancing was finished, there was a dinner.  A typical north Indian feast with puris (fried bread), rice and various vegetarian curries.  All delicious, of course.  When we finished eating, we took leave of our hostess, gave our good wishes and left.  Me, Mrs. Asha Singh and my two kids.  It was a very enjoyable evening.  I haven't been to too many parties like that.  Apparently, this is one tradition that's not kept very much anymore - having a party for daughter who has come home after her first delivery at her in-law's house.  But it was good to have the opportunity to see this tradition.  It was a very enjoyable evening.

I've just had a new comment system installed.  If you would like to leave a comment, please click on the title of this post and allow a little time for the comment system to load - thanks!

Popular posts from this blog


Many years ago, when I lived in Dublin, I met someone nice and started dating. I wasn't serious, I just thought we could have nice interesting discussions about India, which I found absolutely fascinating, as I was working in the Embassy of India back then. I had no intention of getting attached with a foreigner, with all the attendant cultural problems. I was happy living in Ireland and the idea of marriage couldn't have been further from my mind. We both thought we could just keep things in control. One day, after a lot of emotional turmoil and denial, it hit us both that we were in love. Truly. Madly. Irrevocably. To the point where we couldn't live without each other. I'd known about the Indian system of arranged marriages and when it occurred to me that he would probably be married off by his family as soon as he returned to India, I felt physically ill at the thought. We are both tenacious and patient people. We realised that bringing our two worlds together

Kipling Got it Wrong! Or Eastern and Western Culture - Reflections

What Is Culture? I’m opening this blog post with a question. What is that elusive concept which is commonly known as ‘culture? Culture is way of life. How we live. What our values are.  Our customs, attitudes and perceptions. And also, I suppose, how we express ourselves in art through, such as music, dance, theatre and cinema.  It’s quite a comprehensive area and not too easy to define, really. Travel between east and west is common nowadays The Journey I was born in what is commonly known as ‘the west’. I lived in Ireland for the first thirty years of my life. When I was thirty, I married my husband and came out to India to live here with him. That was the beginning of an interesting journey, which is still evolving. I must have had some east/west comparison stereotypes in my head. But in India, I found that the people I met had huge stereotypes in their heads about what they called ‘western culture’ and ‘western way of life’. Not long after

The Tale of One Kitty

The cat..... Those who know me already might say that they didn't know I had a cat.  I didn't, you know! Our dog, Duggu is such a handful, I didn't think we could take on another pet. But a few months ago, a beautiful cat (whom we eventually named Puggle)  arrived. She's not really ours..... Nope! She's someone else's cat who just went on what the Aussies might call a walkabout. My younger daughter Riya found her on the roof of our house, a pretty calico (three-coloured) cat. Riya was instantly smitten. Some milk was fed to the little creature and the deal was sealed. Puggle has been a regular visitor to our house ever since. And two days after she arrived, in mid-May, she gave birth to four kittens. We'd had no idea the kitty was enceinte. So what did we do? What can you do? If a single mom landed on your doorstep and gave birth in your house, what would you do? Try to help, obviously. As the cat bore no identification and had been roaming the colony unst