An Indian Baby Shower
Posted on 21 February 2012
The day at our workshop starts at 10 in the morning & finishes at 6 at night, with an hours break for lunch. Ashok built the workshop in the middle of a very poor housing area, so there would be jobs for the local women, ensuring they could earn money to support their families. Every lunch-time the women go home for lunch & this afternoon there was much excitement as one of the girls had invited us to her house to celebrate the imminent birth of her sisters first child.
We made the short walk from the workshop to her house accompanied by the other 28 ladies who work there. As we walked along the dusty paths, our group seemed to get bigger & bigger & I worried how we’d all fit in the house as they are very small & basic, 2 room constructions. When we arrived the house was filled with women (no men allowed at these events apparently) & we were greeted with big smiles & welcomed in as old friends. We all sat down cross-legged on the floor around the perimeter of the room & we were so many that the long line of bodies spread around the whole 2 rooms of the house.
Plates made from banana leaves were put in front of each of us & then big cauldrons of rice, curry & roti’s (flat breads) were bought out. There are no knives or forks so you eat everything with your right hand, which I'm getting quite good at now. I obviously need to practice yoga a bit more regularly though, because sitting cross-legged whilst trying to eat off a concrete floor with my hand was agony but at least it provided a bit of entertainment for everyone watching.
I was a bit worried that the food would be too spicy for me, but it was absolutely delicious. I have no idea what it was, but it tasted damn good & just when I thought I’d finished, another cauldron would be bought out & another course served. For pudding we had sweet rice & baked whole sweet chillies which were like nothing I’d ever tried before & then to finish we were given leaves, which had been spread with a white paste & a bit of, what can only be described as tree bark put in the middle. Apparently it’s a mouth freshener, but to my underdeveloped palate it tasted like a bit of leaf with white paste & tree bark!
After the meal there was a small ceremony to bless the girls pregnancy. She sat in the middle of the room, with flower garlands in her hair. In turn the other women came up to her & performed a small ceremony, where each of her chakra points were gently dusted with red dye & a candle & incense were wafted in front of her. It was such a wonderful moment to watch & we felt very honoured to be able to be part of it. This area of India is incredibly poor, but the people here are so generous & welcoming. I feel so lucky to have such a personal connection with the people that make our clothes, to me, it's what makes Marzipants special & worthwhile.