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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.


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