Naming Ceremony !!
Most of you have been wondering
"Why is this guy writing like there is no tomorrow ?"
Well, work starts on monday and I have exactly 4 weeks to accomplish what I should have been doing from the beginning of this quarter and this, while still taking baby duty turns with a nocturnal baby !!
My notable absence from blogworld for the last day and a half was because we had a naming ceremony for the little one !
It is a south indian custom to have a naming ceremony for the baby on the 11th day after birth!! Yes, babies dont have names for the first 10 days. My birth certificate actually says "Name : Not mentioned " !!!!
It is always a little difficult to pull off Indian ceremonies in the United States. So we were a little flexible and we decided to do the ceremony much later so that the baby's uncle can participate as well, during the thanksgiving break. We had two names selected initially and were about to give that name to the birth registrar the day the baby was born when one of the names was hijacked by my mother and grandmother on a sentimental pretext!
The short summary of the ceremony is :
A prayer to lord Ganesha (remover of obstacles) to initiate proceedings.
A prayer to sanctify the home and purify it (logic was that the pregnant woman and new born bring germs, possible infections and so they used this ceremony to clean up the house.. In the United States that translates to 7 extra large loads of laundry!!)
This is followed by naming the baby (the mother gives the first name, the father and his parents give the second name and the mother gives another name). We didnt know about the third name and were happy to be able to give both our selected names and the one selected by my mother and grandmother. Both the father and mother say all three names in the baby's ear three times !
Then the priest makes the dad take his wedding ring, clean it, scoop out honey, ghee and yogurt using the ring and mix it and put it on the baby's lips !! The baby makes a face that the parents havent seen so far and that is when the priest says "this is when you breast feed the baby". . the logic here was that honey,ghee and yogurt were pure unadultrated materials in those days and therefore you start the baby off with pure stuff (of course if you read the label on the yogurt and butter used to make the ghee ?!?)
Then the baby's name is written by the dad on rice paddy (or wheat if you cant find rice paddy in any store in the bay area ) !! The paddy is then gifted in small portions to all the people who came to bless the baby.
Then the function concludes. The whole thing takes an hour and a half. But preparing for it was something. I tell you people, it is not easy searching for betel leaves or non-rotten whole coconuts and rice paddy in the winter in California... but we pulled it off in style ...We had invited one relative and two friends and the whole thing was a very small affair.
Yes, the good boy in the center doing the good stuff is ME!! I have many personalities.. this good boy persona is one of them..
Well that still doesnt explain the prolonged absence, does it ? At the end of the ceremony there is some great food ! One of the items was "vada" or "vadai" as you might call it (deep fried balls made from rice and lentils - the indian version of Falaffals!!). I ate a good many vadais and suffered the consequence.. A blog on that later..