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Monday, October 29, 2007

What are you waiting for?

We are at a Halloween party. After the pumpkins are carved, the little ones have paraded, diapers changed, milk bottles finished, eyes rubbed by tiny tired little hands and ready to go out the door so we can put the kids to bed and await awakening troubles on a Monday morning, when Jr. is still waiting...

She had the look of a person who felt that the proceedings were incomplete. Granted that she had fun playing with her sister, cousins and a bunch of friends, ate good food, was a princess, etc. but there was something bothering her!

When questioned further, we realized that she was actually waiting for the ceremonial "goody bag". Well what is so ceremonial about a goody bag? I will explain!

The fact that she was innocently expecting a goody bag at a halloween party was misunderstood by the adults as a sign of weekness. But is it really?

The poor thing was admonished for wanting a goody bag at every function, when in reality we have conditioned her to associate the end of any party with the collection of afforementioned bag! "Not fair" cried Daddy!

Flashback to the early eighties.....................(yeah, lots of dots means long flashback).......

We are at a wedding which has just finished (this is day 2 of a three day south Indian wedding).

Me : Amma (mom), let's go home. At least let me go home. It is boring here
Mom: Wait, we cannot just leave yet
Me : Why? There is a cricket match going on. Srikanth will have hit a few sixers and probably gotten out by now!
Mom: We have to get the "thamboolam". xyz said she will give us one and only then we can go!
Me : (thinking) God damn "thamboola pai" with the little saathukudi(grapefruit? gooseberry?), two betel leaves and a rasiklal betel nut packet! Is it really worth waiting for!

My mom taught me that, this bag with the fruit, leaves and nuts was a token of respect from the families in the wedding to the guest. It also signified a "send off" of sorts to the guests! I do not know the religious significance of this "thamboolam" tradition..(surprisingly Wiki didn't come up with anything!).

The goody bag at parties in the US is the modern day "thamboolam" and we are just carrying on a tradition, albeit slightly differently.

The only unfortunate thing is that we did not give Jr., clear direction on what parties ended with the goody bag. In India, we get the "fruit and nut bag" for weddings, first birthday ceremonies (aayush homam's), baby showers (seemandhams), confirmations (upanayanams) etc. There is no clear pattern to this people!

I think Jr. is beyond blame here.

Finally, the goody bag for this post. Proudly presenting, this years princess and darling devil..


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