Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Family events and feeling single

There are so many family events that I have to attend, they are usually for people I barely know, or a distant relative, or a a cousin's friend wedding. The protocol for such events are weird, and I am expected to attend with the entire family. A few weeks ago it was a wedding, last night it was a bismilah (more on that later), and tonight it is an aqueeqa for a 2 year old girl.
Last night's function was for a 4pr 5 year old boy, and the party was held because he would start learning to read the Quran. The Quran is in Arabic and therefore the boy would most likely need lessons in Arabic from a tutor or perhaps from his own parents. This religious event could possibly mirror a Christians first communion when they begin to accept the Eucharist.

The events are all very very similar, they are usually held in a function hall, you dress up in traditional Indian attire (sarees and salwar kameez) for women and (kurta pyjama) for men. The difference with Muslim events is that they are usually segregated. Which means I arrive at the event with my husband, daughter and in-laws, and I go into a separate room with my mother and sister-in-law and daughter and my husband and father-in-law go into a separate room. Every event usually involves a stage of some kind, whether is be the bride sitting up there or the 5 year old boy, etc... And then afterwards, you go into a room where the dinner is served. These functions all happen after 8pm and you don't usually eat until 10pm, and most happen on weekdays.
Now I really dislike these functions because they feel cold and impersonal. I remember as a little girl, my parents getting dressed up and going out together, and in my mind that vision did not include them going into separate rooms. It entailed a fun night out for them where they could bond and spend time together. So that is why I hate these functions. Yasmine and I are usually the dog and pony show, where we are starred at all night. It's uncomfortable and having my husband with me would make it easier.
But, that is the life we live over here, and there is not much I can do about it. The functions don't happen all the time, and they seem to happen all at once. One more function to go tonight........

Monday, December 28, 2009

Yasmine talking

This is Yasmine talking to her toys!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Yasmine's Aqeeqa


On Sunday we had Yasmine's aqeeqa, which is actually the name that is given to the goat that is sacrificed in the baby's honour. In Christianity you have baptism, and in Islam there is this. Yasmine was also supposed to get her head shaved as well, but it was my choice not to have this done. It provided a little bit of controversy in the extended family (not my in-laws), they were quite supportive actually. The idea behind shaving the head is that it removes harm from the baby, the hair should be weighed and whatever the weight an equal amount of money or gold should be distributed to the poor. The hair should then be buried to prevent evil. I had quite a few heated discussions with my husband about this, but in the end he chose to support me.
I never had my head shaved, and I am pretty sure I am doing ok (no evil spirits or ill-health). I guess it is all a matter of belief.

We invited about 70 people, and most of these were family from my father-on-laws side. We booked a caterer and enjoyed a meal of chicken curry and mutton byriani. The mutton was the goat that was sacrificed in Yasmine's honour! We also had kubani for dessert which is stewed sweet apricot with ice cream. It's one of my favourites!

Yasmine got money and a few outfits for her aqeeqa and was the guest of honor! the best part was that I was able to dress her in a beautiful pink dress that my aunt Diane and uncle Fred bought her that resembles a ballerina's tutu. It's gorgeous and she looked beautiful!
She was passed around a lot to many different people, and she was trouper, but got tired quickly and was getting a little annoyed with being passed around so much.

It was a beautiful celebration of her birth!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Adjusting to life as a mom in Hyderabad

Life sure is different here as a mom, not different bad or good, just different. I spent 2 months at home after I had Yasmine, and luckily my dad is very hands on and was the perfect helper. It also didn't hurt that I didn't so much as have to lift a finger. He cooked the meals, cleaned the house, and all I had to do was tend to my daughter. Now mind you the tending was not easy. She was jaundice the first few weeks and needed constant feedings to get rid of it. Now jaundice makes you sleepy so it was a chore to get her to wake up for those feedings.

Now that I am back with my husband life sure has gotten busier for me. He works a lot of hours and is studying a .net course as well, so it leaves me a lot of time at home to get things done. Mopping, sweeping, cooking, taking care of Yasmine, etc.... I am definitely busy, but it's a good busy. I am so thankful to get to be at home raising her. Here women only get three months off of work, so that would mean I would be going back to work next week. Yikes!! I couldn't even imagine it. I know women do it all the time, but coming from Canada where we get a year off, it seems like 3 months is unfair!

A few great things have happened: One is that I am now driving the car. I was driving a scooter before I got married and pregnant, and I adjusted to that, but for some reason a car seemed so much more daunting. However, it is not as bad as it looks. We drive on the left side of the road here, so i had to adjust to gearing with my left hand on the stick shift. It has given me so much independence and I cam come and go as i please with Yasmine. Also I have met a great group of girls, mothers actually who are foreign to Indian (Americans, a Belgian, a Swiss, two Japanese) who have had babies here. A few of them are married to Indians while the rest are here with their husbands who are working. Meeting these women have given me some inside scoop on where to find import baby products, or cool clothes, or just to hang out have tea and talk about being a mom in India. The best part is all the babies are almost the same age. I think the eldest baby is 4 months. It's nice to know Yasmine will have some play companions in the next 6 months when she start to be more interactive.

Yasmine is trying to talk a lot and is a VERY happy little girl. She smiles right when she opens her eyes and hears my voice and laughs out loud in her sleep. I'd like to think she is seeing my mom. I also think she is looking more and more like me everyday, and it makes my heart swell!! I'm so in love with my little girl!!!

Tomorrow is her Aqeeqa which is a Muslim celebration of birth, so stay tuned for pictures and more about this celebration!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bakrid: Goat sacrificing

I woke up on Saturday November 28th to the sound of goats (what sound do goats make) baaing I guess. I could hear it throughout the colony we live in. It was Bakrid the Islamic celebration of sacrificing goats!
The history behind it stems from the Old testament (for Christians) and in the Quran for Muslims. Prophet Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God's command. However, God told Abraham to sacrifice a goat (lamb, camel or cow) instead. A goat is usually purchased for each member of the family (depending on your financial situation), and must be healthy and conscious, and must be male (so as to not sacrifice a pregnant animal and to allow reproduction). Then a butcher is called to the house to cut the meat and it is split into three equal parts, one for the poor, one for relatives and one for the family.
Goody bags resembling western birthday goody (and made specifically for this occasions) bags are then filled with meat and distributed. Less fortunate people come and knock on your door all day to collect their raw meat.
Also a feast of meat is prepared for breakfast of the organs (liver, heart, kidneys), and then a huge lunch that also includes the brain and intestines (in our family at least). No part of the animal goes to waste. I did not eat any of the organs or other bits and pieces. My stomach just can't handle that first thing in the morning (or ever really). Apparently I have heard from many people that the brain is quite delicious. Ah, no thanks.
I also made a dish of mutton (goat meat) for the lunch. I marinated the mutton in ginger garlic paste, balsamic vinegar, soya sauce, worchester sauce, lime and salt and pepper then cooked it in the steamer with tomatoes. I was told by numerous members of the family (uncles and aunts) and Muscles friends that it was their favourite dish!!

I told my mother-in-law that it seemed like this was a celebration for the men and work for the women, as she was working in the kitchen from 8am until late into the night and again the next day. She laughed and wholeheartedly agreed with me!

It was an interesting celebration and a learning experience, and quite a literal interpretation from the Quran.
Eid Mubarak to all!!! (happy celebrations)!