We celebrated Tanusree’s Shaad on Monday the 7th January as we entered into 32 weeks of our pregnancy. Equivalent to the concept of Baby Shower, Shaad is what is called in Bangla where during the 7th month of pregnancy, the expectant mother is treated to her favourite dishes, showered with blessings and gifts, being surrounded by family, friends and well-wishers. While being true to the essence of this copy-book definition, we took liberty to make our own little detours in ways that suited better our circumstances and choices in life.
When I think of Tanusree, the most powerful image that comes to my mind is that of the Goddess Durga. Far away from any realm of any religious connotation where both of us are atheists at peace, there is no harm nevertheless to draw similarities with this deity which holds in each of her ten hands a conch, discuss, lotus, sword, bow with arrow, trishul, mace, thunderbolt, snake and flame.
Diligently dexterous, divinely beautiful, intelligently skilful, super organised, deeply passionate, confidently self-reliant, suavely stylish, endlessly energetic and profoundly thoughtful – possibly the most common ten adjectives that flashed through my mind yet once again, today on this day of her Shaadh celebration.
Looking at the feast menu to start with. I have been the chief witness and consumer of her uncountable feast fiestas ever since I had the fortune of being in her life. The Shaad menu consisted of Plain aromatic steamed rice served with a dollop of desi ghee, Basanti Polao (sweet aromatic rice), Chicken Kosha, Bhapa ilish (steamed Hilsha fish), tomato chutney, prawn malai kari, begun bhaja (fried aubergine), jhuri aloo bhaja (deep fried julienned potato), potol bhaja (fried pointed gourd) and payesh (rice and milk pudding). Families with an army of friends and well-wishers will fall short of this fantastic line up of dishes to appease the taste buds of the expectant woman. Being 8 months pregnant herself, she pulled off these dishes one after another, with meticulous planning, simultaneous stirring and incredible melange of ingredients.
Then came the sophisticated styling of the backdrop and the table presentation. Intelligently thought out plan to have verticals of artificial flower garlands on the wall to keep things simple and subtle, and the classy presentation of the brass-made serving dishes with the items mentioned above – I was left to awe yet again at the final output of this lady’s drive and desire to live life Queen size.
I am certain that anybody else would find it hard to believe that its actually the harvest of only one person’s initiatives. True that I was privileged to have graced the occasion with my gracious presence but honestly my contribution was limited to occasional appreciations, encouragements and washing dishes. No wonder I had to recoup my prestigious presence in exchange of devouring the delectable dishes later in the day.
Finally comes the aspect of her attire and appearance. Again, the only woman I know of who can actually pull off in style anything she wears, of any colour, shape and sizes. Be it a traditional Indian wear, or a Western dress or even traditional dresses from Morocco to China – there is some inherent appeal in her facial features, expressions, gesture, posture and more importantly in her heart and mind – that she knows how to tick all the right boxes to up her style quotient through anything she puts on.
In this Kanchipuram saree, along with the traditional gold earrings, bangles, rings, the red vermilion through the hairline and the make up especially with the winged eyeliner – There is a reason why Goddess Durga, the Hindu goddess only appears once a year, because its women like Tanusree who actually sometimes resembles the aspects and actions of the Goddess so much that there is no need for heavenly bodies such as Durga to descend on Earth too frequently any ways.
And finally, not to forget that this is not the first time that she got all decked up, cooked a series of mouth-watering dishes, presented them in the most palatable manner and finally got them photographed to capture the moment. Gently hidden behind the ornate designs of her Kanchipuram saree is what I call the Magic Theatre which is holding our growing baby for the last 8 months. If there is one thing that I have realised wholeheartedly is that the power of a woman, and especially that of the woman’s body – is something we men can never unfortunately understand completely.
I abhor those myopic men and women who can’t look beyond the layers of makeups, fancy flashy or fashionable dresses or the sexy curves that outline a woman’s body. What lies in her brain, her heart and especially in her womb – makes her an indomitable force to reckon with and an incessant fountain of energy and life to cherish with.
On this day of Tanusree’s Shaad, I acknowledge wholeheartedly the tremendous combination of power, energy, skills, passion, style, beauty, organisation, confidence, intelligence she possesses and radiates in whatever she touches. I also acknowledge in a rather low-key fashion, how deep some deficiencies I own vis-à-vis her repertoire of adjectives. But there is only a high-profile shout out today to happily appreciate that I am simply a sure-shot lucky man who has Tanusree as my friend, confidant, partner, lover, wife and very soon the mother of my first baby.
What Was Tanusree Wearing?
Photography: By us, couple shots are taken with the help of our humble tripod.2