My Surprise Indian Baby Shower

A few weeks ago I went up to L.A. to help Brenda with Bug’s Black Kitty birthday party, and to make good on a promise to stay longer the next time I was in town.

At the same time, my friend Mamatha, who used to be a neighbor when we lived in our apartment, is now also living in L.A. and invited me to visit her at her new house. They wanted Aaron to come to but he was on the road again and there was no weekend in January that he could make it, so I figured we would go while we were already in the neighborhood.

So after Bug’s party we packed all our stuff into the van and headed north, expecting to have dinner with our friends before driving home again later that night. We headed out a bit late, but not too bad. Traffic was light.

Then I got lost.

And then Linga, Mamatha’s husband, was phoning and messaging asking where I was while I tried to not drive all the way to the beach and find a way to turn around and get back to where I needed to be. They live at the junction of three different freeways. I got turned around 3 different times just trying to head home again.

But anyway, we made it eventually, horribly late by this time and pulled up behind the garage.

I still suspected nothing. Not even when Linga told me Mamatha wanted me to go in through the front of the house instead of through the garage and then walked me all the way around while I carried BamBam and my full bladder halfway around the block.

Then there were the people lined up in the living room in brightly colored saris, and my first thought was, “Oh, you had other dinner guests too? I’m so sorry I kept you all waiting.”

I didn’t notice the banner on the wall. I was looking for the bathroom.

Then Mamatha said, “Welcome to your baby shower.”

Then it was all clear. Also, I had to make them wait longer so I could get to the bathroom. Pregnant bladders don’t wait.

Mamatha’s Shower, a couple of years back.

I was feeling terribly under dressed, but I needn’t have worried. I had been Mamatha’s baby shower before, and one she hosted for a friend. I forgot that it’s traditional to give the expectant mother a new sari. Which she did.

Then we went upstairs and they got me all dolled up for my party. Jewelry, make up, fake hair pieces to lengthen my braid, bangles, sari, the whole nine yards, literally, have you seen how long a sari is?

There was a worrisome moment when the blouse was too small, but thanks to the wonders of Indian tailoring, they provide 3 different size options in the seam allowance, and they are already sewn in. Some emergency seam ripping and it was all good, the transformation was complete.

We were ready for a baby shower.

The girls borrowed some clothes from their friend while they waited for me to get ready.

There are a series of Hindu blessings that you have to do at a baby shower that involve the women sprinkling rice and flowers in my hair, putting bindi powder on my forehead and chin, bangles on my wrists, and feeding me.

I look very fat and white next to all these lovely Indian women.

Then I’m supposed to give them some fruit and gifts in return. There are also some candles and stuff and every time I ask why about all the things they tell me it’s just tradition. So I go ahead and bless them according to my tradition too. At least, when I’m not totally caught off guard by such a surprise I have.

The girls had fun goofing off.

Two of the girls performed a dance for me, which was amazing, and there are no pictures of them doing it. They are taking traditional dance classes together and put together a routine for me to watch.

the kids eating

Then it was finally time to eat. The eating arrangements are pretty traditional too at parties like this. The kids get fed, then, because it’s a baby shower the ladies go first, and then finally the men. I felt so bad by this point about being an hour or more late. Those guys just waited around and played ping pong forever before feeding their hungry bellies.

This here is amazing, authentic, homemade southern Indian food. So good!
(They also had some fajitas for the kids, in case they didn’t like the good stuff.)

Linga’s mother was visiting from India. She doesn’t speak a word of English, and I don’t speak a word of Telegu, but she was so sweet and we got on just fine.

It was so very kind of my friends to go to so much trouble to celebrate me and the baby. The thing is, I didn’t know anyone except Mumatha and Linga, and one other person I had met before. They all came because of their friendship with my friends, in order to celebrate with us. It was the most loving thing. Aaron was so sad to have missed it. I texted him when we arrived about the surprise and he almost cried looking at the photos I posted as the night went on.

I can tell you that I felt so very loved by everything they did, and I just wanted to tell you all about it. It was a great night. A baby shower was the last thing on my mind what with all the other things going on around me. I’m glad I have friends who will celebrate important things even when I forget to.

all content © Carrien Blue

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