The 6 letters of the word p-a-r-e-n-t got felt literally letter by letter as our little man Aryan turned 6 months in the blink of an eye. Surely no one warns you or prepares you for the 4th trimester of pregnancy, that is the first three months following the birth of a child which, no qualms in accepting, completely overwhelmed us. That too without any help from family or child-care. Against all odds, time kept flying and our child kept growing and his turning 6 months meant it was weaning time and that is what this post is all about today.
The weaning is also known as ‘Mukhe bhat’ or ‘Anna-prashan’ and its more like a symbolic ceremony where the child tastes his/her first ever solid(ish) food. We started preparing in advance and we agreed to have this ceremony for Aryan right after he turned 6 months so we first decided on a date. Then we thought about decoration and dishes and Tanusree conceptualised a theme with colourful buntings and festoons to introduce the festive backdrop in the occasion because babies of Aryan’s age love bright and colourful things. Even if colours are not your thing, please remember, Architectural Digest is not going to visit you, so don’t think about your choice, think about what your child likes as its his/her event.
As far as the food is concerned, Tanusree went into another hyper-zone as usual and dished out 11 Bengali culinary delights to be offered to our son. Month long planning and preparation were on. Tanusree’s chef avatar mixed with the motherly love for Aryan meant lovely and delicious Bashanti Pulao, chicken korma, prawn malai kari, mutton kosha, chhanar dalna, tomato chutney, Ilish bhapa, muri ghontor dal, payesh, salad, aubergine (begun) and pointed gourd (potol) fries all neatly served in the royal thali made of silver with 18ct gold polish which Tanusree bought specially for Aryan to serve the delicacies.
Not only food and the festive stationery, we also had to think about dressing up the protagonist of the occasion – Aryan, and he donned the beautifully traditional dhoti-kurta-koti set from Manyavar Mohey gifted by his Arafat Kaku (our friend) in red as red is the colour of celebration, it symbolises power and most importantly Aryan loves red as of now. In contrast to red, we wore white to tone down the colorful background decorations. Shehzaad got some fresh jasmine flowers for Tanusree’s hair-do from a Sri Lankan store in Wembley and she thought to put some around Aryan’s neck and thali anyways.
Aryan’s reaction after being placed in front of the 11 dishes was quite ‘handy’ in that he was reaching out to touch, grab and put in his mouth – pretty much everything – food or not, with his bare hands. The first ever solid food the he tasted was a tiny spoonful of payesh ( a kind of rice pudding made of aromatic rice, lots of full cream milk, sugar and dry fruits). Apparently a natural lover of sweet things, he seemed to be ready to ‘chew’ and eat solid food a few weeks earlier anyways. The cuteness increased with the messiness as a good layer of payesh got smeared on his face while he tried to figure out this strange sweet taste never experienced before!
There was also the Potol bhaja (pointed gourd) which he grabbed and tried to figure out how to put it in his mouth. Not entirely successful in his attempts, it eventually slipped off his tiny hands. In the festive backdrop of the colourful festoons which Tanusree had designed and decorated, we captured some priceless moments together to mark this special occasion.
We also wrote a hand-written letter for Aryan in light of this moment when he tried out solid food for the first time. In the age of all things digital, we thought the value of hand-written words of wisdom from ourselves, his parents, will convey some sincere thoughts to him when he will grow up to comprehend.
Dear Aryan Baba,
Today is your first solid food ceremony aka annaprasan or mukhe bhat. Welcome to the world full of diverse food and flavors to try out. Until today you had been nurtured and nourished well by the almighty powerful milk from Maa’s body. You’ll continue to have that for the next year or so but will also try out different food and drinks that Maa is eager to introduce you to.
We hope and wish that you grow up trying different food from all around the world and know about the wonderful variety in this world through the gastronomic route. We also wish that you learn how to cook amazing dishes yourself too from an early age. This will make you super self-reliant and you will bring joy to yourself and others around you.
Just remember that –
· When the stomach is full, the mind is happy. When your hungry, you’re possibly angry too. Don’t be hangry.
· You’ll eat and drink to live but you’ll not live to eat and drink only.
· Sleep, meals and fear – the more you do the more they cost you dear. Remember not to overdo.
· Your Maa is immensely excited for you to eat all the food she cooks and bakes. She has more reasons for you to be fond of her and what she will feed you will make fond memories for you.
· Your food habit will be formed only by what you will be exposed to. Eat healthy and enjoy life.
Bon appétit our little man!
Daddy and Maa
We couldn’t be happier to have experienced this occasion with Aryan as we already know we have another person joining us now in our dining table when we have our meals. Three cheers for the three! Burp burp!!
What Were We Wearing?
Aryan’s Wardrobe: Manyavar Mohey Dhoti-kurta set
Tanusree’s Wardrobe: Dhakai Jamdani designed by Tanusree in collaboration with a weaver from Dhaka, Bangladesh
Shehzaad’s Wardrobe: Lucknowie Chikan Kari Kurta in Chiffon, designed by Tanusree