I have grown up in a nuclear family. Maa, Baba and my wandering imagination. That has been my world till early 2018. And then I got married.
My marriage unlocked a whole different world for me. A whole new world of relationships. I married into a large family – large enough to make the number of fingers I have seem too less to count all the siblings (let alone aunts and uncles and grandmothers) I was suddenly surrounded with. Oh my! A family too big to fit into one large house. And they were all mine – mine for life.
Gradually I started to see how well-knit my new family is. This becomes more evident on family gatherings. Everybody comes down from all parts of the world to celebrate every coming-of-age and every rite of passage. It’s beautiful to see how everyone always makes time to celebrate together – always.
For two such occasions, all of us started looking forward to April. We had two initiations lined up in the second week of April – Krishang’s rice ceremony (Annaprasan) and Ribhu’s sacred thread ceremony (Upanayan).
A little preface here. Krishang (lovingly called Anish) is the (now 8-month old) son of my brother-in-law. And Ribhu is my youngest brother-in-law. I call the ceremonies initiations because one is a baby’s introduction to rice and the second marks the coming of age of a teenager to take on religious responsibilities.
The Annaprasan was scheduled on the 7th of April. It’s a morning ritual and generally gets over by the afternoon. My morning began with grinding turmeric to be smeared on the baby, cleaning the room where the ritual will be held, painting a little aalpona on the floor and looking forward to the day. And boy was it exceptional! Take a look for yourself.
Ribhu’s sacred thread ceremony began on Tuesday. Short of the bride, poite follows the same proceedings of a Hindu wedding. Poite marks the second birth of a child – the spiritual birth. This is when he begins to learn the importance of sacrifice, humility and spiritualism – the simple values of life to become a true leader. The sacred thread ceremony is a great example of the power of simplicity.
I’ve realized that every time we get together, we do not just celebrate the ceremony we got together for. We celebrate the homecoming. We celebrate the relationships we share. And most importantly, we celebrate each other.