You enter the Gurdwara with your new born and there is plenty of sangat around. You know most of them or at least they know who you are and before you can take your shoes off and head towards the divan all the Maaji’s scurry over bursting to see the baby, as if the smell of a newborn baby had wafted through the gurdwara and alerted all the ladies of the arrival just like honey to a bee. With out wasting any time and sometimes before the Maaji’s even get to you the questions pour out:
1. Kee aayea (is it a boy or girl?) Girl…chal koini, kaneya ae ah! Dont worry about it, pitty on you and then bless you with a future son.
Boy…vadaiya! Best thing ever, the maaji’s over spill in joy and tell you tera kaam hogea (Your work is done!). Best thing to do is to keep remembering you have a gift from God, boy or girl they are both precious and just as important.
2. Hon dehr naa kari/Shetti banaa li?
Don’t delay, make baby today! (Yep, you said it in an Indian accent. I know you did!!) Basically telling you that you have 1 now, so have another while your at it because your child needs a sibling and it’s better when they are closer together in age and apparently easier. Don’t give juwaab trust me it’s not worth it, just smile and say Hanji Hanji!
3. Rondi taani. (She doesnt cry does she?)
no, she was born with fully developed vocal cords and is able to speak and tell me exactly what she needs, and that too in Punjabi and English. Haha, of course babies cry. They can’t speak so that’s their way of communicating. You will hear a few stories of so and so had a baby that always/or never cried but they mean no harm here and will just bombard you with helpful advise, whether you want it or not. Just stay calm and say Hanji, thank you!
4. Raat nu utdi taani? (She doesn’t wake up at night does she?)
If your answer is No, Maaji goes straight on to next question . If your answer is Yes, Maaji expresses concern,”ucha, Chall koini, babies do that! Followed by a tonne of their own baby waking up stories. Best way to deal with it is smile and say Hanji, thank you!
5. Aapna dudh palondi ah? Do you breastfeed?
Either way the maaji’s come out with their own opinions and stories. Just remember what ever you choose it is your decision so just smile and say Hanji, thank you!
6. Shetti bottle te laadi?
Give her the bottle quickly, because sweety they don’t take it other wise and that’ll be a pain to deal with.
Whatever you choose to do, it’s your decision and your experience. Advice is great but don’t judge the mummy’s if they don’t want to use a bottle. Oh and Hanji Hanji!
7. Kede te gae ah? Who does he/she take after?
Before you have a chance to even respond they will then tell you who the baby looks like and praise or even dismiss and tell you don’t worry they will change! In some cases they won’t say anything and walk off. Yep, ha!
8. Delivery normal si ya opretion naal?
Was it a natural birth or Caesarian? Again followed by stories and wish you a great recovery and give you tips on what to do/not to do with your body for the first few weeks.
9. kede te gaeya? Who does he/she look like She looks like a squished up tiny human at the moment, but they always know or think they know and will openly express their opinion. Also If maaji’s perceive you or any member of the family with outstanding features they will ask you does he/she have that feature.
( I have coloured eyes so this seems to be a huge focus on my kids)
one of the first things I had was this followed by attempts to get the baby to open her eyes and then decide for themselves whether she has the eyes or not. Well she was born yday, eyes take about a year to develop and well, really? Does it really matter enough to disturb my baby? No! Get away from my sleeping baby and don’t touch her eyes with your subji fingers, haha!
Sometimes it can be over whelming and others might be completely fine with all the questions. Everyone’s experience and feelings are different and all the Maaji’s mean well. You will see the funny side of it later but don’t forget to take a deep breathe, smile and say Hanji, thank you!
Hanji solves everything!!