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Day 3 - Rishikesh

The weather looked gloomy with an overcast sky as we woke up. We had breakfast at the hotel and decided to visit Rishikesh today. Again we headed back the way we came yesterday and after crossing Rajaji National Park the road divides and one goes towards to Dehradun and one to Rishikesh. The drive was pleasant, as we opted Laxman  Jhula as our destination google map smartly took us via highway bypassing the main city.But at the end the roads started to get narrower lucky for us we found a parking lot packed yet as we early risers ;)
The weather was little cold compared to the planes of Dehradun with lots of breeze coming from Ganga. We walked to Laxman Jhula to cross it. Oh boy! We have no idea what local authority allows two-wheelers, cycle to cross the hanging bridge which is meant for a pedestrian. And top of it you even have some cows standing in the middle.
I am sure the people coming all the from abroad to Rishikesh for peace, meditation and self-purity do get a complete shock wi…

My baby shower


My baby shower was done in bengali traditional way which is called as Saadh in bengali. It is meant mostly to pamper first time mother to be and cheer her up as she accumulates courage to face the most testing time in her life which will soon change her life in and out. Normally, held in seventh or ninth month of pregnancy on a specified day when mother-in-law will organize this ceremony. She will invite all the women she knows. Thus this ceremony is mainly for women only.
In our custom, M-i-l presents all the garments which mother-to-be wears at the ceremony. This occasion happens twice once from in-laws side is over then only my mom can have but because of my critical condition, from both sides were done on a single day in seventh month.
Expected mother have to sit on the floor facing east and sometimes puja is also performed; but as I was medically unfit to sit for longer duration so certain rituals were curtailed. Alpana (with powdered rice) designs are usually drawn on the floor. In the middle of the design, an earthen or copper pot is kept decorated with a red swastika and filled with pure water, mango leaves and green coconut is kept. This is considered as an auspicious sign.
Mom and mother-in-law of the prospective mother fill her lap, represented by the aanchal of her sari with items. Generally, mother-in-law will first bless with ululating the expectant mother as well her unborn child and then put items like 7 different types of dry fruits, fresh fruits, sweets etc in lap which will be followed by other invited married women. Had wonderful time with all elders wishing me luck in their own way.
Last but not least expected mother is fed well with seven different types of savory traditional dishes. A feast is prepared for the guests as well. In Bengali no ceremony be it wedding or babyshower is complete without elaborate serving rituals, but now a days professional catering or buffet-style dining is common. The courses progress from lighter to richer and heavier. Rice remains common throughout the meal.

Starting course is bitter a soupy mixture of vegetables in a ginger-mustard sauce, called shukto. Followed by Dal lentil curry - the most substantial course accompanied with fritters (bhaja). In fritters tailfin and head of fish is must to be served to expected mother. Then next course is two kinds of vegetable curry which is followed by fish course of two varieties. Finally comes the chutney course, which is typically tangy and sweet; usually made of mangoes or tomatoes or pineapple etc. And of course at last sweet dish be it rice pudding (kheer) or rasogulla is served which is not to be missed.

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