Ba-ba-ba Baby Shower Turned Borrowed Shower It was my siesta hour and so I ignored the repeated ringing of the caller tune of latest hit movie emanating from her mobile lying on settee. Rajathee darting along,staring at me picked up her smart-phone, swiped and said hello. I heard her telling over phone that she knows the topography and would reach the venue on time. Then she briefed me about a function that we were supposed to attend the next Friday. It is baby-shower, also known as seemandam/valaikappu in Tamilnadu. I never attended one; I have had no exposure to this type of function and all thru my academic was away from home and hence I was agog. Rajathee had befriended Pavithra during her academics in college and were hostel room-mates. After finishing five long years of studies, they had gone different ways. They had no occasion to interact for ten long years. Now her friend with her Indian origin US born husband had arrived in India and her parents invited us over phone for “her” seemandam being celebrated at a public hall. Rajathee informed me that this function held during final trimester to invoke blessings of the one and all including their ancestral deity for the well being of the expectant and the baby in the womb. When my spouse and I entered the venue, the function had already been commenced and a senior sumangali was applying sandal powderpaste over cheeks, forearms and legs and blood-red vermilion on the forehead of the lady seated facing East on an ornated king-sized arm-chair.This was followed by her nostril being filled with drops of some white liquid. She was embellished from head to foot, a long garland around her neck made of deep-red-roses-jasmine with forearms filled with colourful bangles of metal and glass. Dressed in new silk saree and golden jewels with her head bedecked in jasmine flowers, tresses braided, decorated with flowers of various hues, affixed with thin stones- studded metal-discs. Rajathee told me a paste prepared by two kanyasfrom grounded tender-banyan-leaves mixed with raw cold milk and diluted. Drops of it through silk into the nostrilinhaled by the mother to be and with a quill a line would be drawn from centre of the head to the navel. Lady after lady attired in their traditional best, took turns in performing certain formalities and were seen picking up colourfulglass-bangles from a heap, lying on a silver platter and pushing them up on to her forearms. Rajathee whispered to me about the spot at the top of the forehead of the hair partition of the expectant supposed to be inhabited by goddess Mahalakshmi and therefore every ladygenerously applied vermillion on that spot. A loquacious old man was mentioning the effects of eclipse and the need to protect would be mother from exposure to it. It was forecasted that total solar eclipse in a few days. (October, 23, 1976) The veteran and senior ladies dominated the proceedings men folk watching the scene from a distant. It was interesting to note odd number of red bangles pushed to right forearm and even number of green bangles on to the left of protagonist. My wife told the jingling of glass bangles would be heard by the baby in the womb and would augur well for its robust health and development. Two more ornated empty chairs were also seen juxtaposed to the middle chair in which expectant was seated. Rajathee too went to the dais and completed formalities. She meandered her way through a group of music lovers singing in chorus devotional song accompanied by veena recital and reached me andraised a doubt whether at all we had reached the correct venue as she felt that the lady in the family way seemed to be quite unfamiliar. In the meanwhile, Rajathee spotted her friend Pavithra showing no signs of being pregnant and being walked to the stage by her entourage. Looking fair and tall, clad in traditional style in a green bordered ripe -golden-mango-colour-silk-saree with a designer-blouse enriched with heavy beads and pleated sleeves, Pavithra approached the expectant and the latter stood up carefully joining her palms together. Pavithra hugged and kissed the expectant on her cheeks; and little later, a stocky gentleman in three-piece-suit joined Pavithra on the stage, shook hands with the expectant and then it was photo-session. When we met Pavithra later, she told that her womb being weak shehad been advised by her gynec to hire professional young surrogate.Mother to be - sitting on the stagecarrying Pavithra’s baby is the one.. Rajathee & I stood nonplussed.