Coming from a land which is the second most populous place on earth and with Indian families extending from here to eternity, it would seem strange indeed that the first ever baby I held in my arms was my very own. Yes, in a fact that is worthy of mention in Ripley’s Believe it or Not, the first ever infant I held in my arms was my very own. And with the cycle of life completing 30 years, I will soon be holding a new baby in my arms yet again – this time my first grand child. With the countdown to the day of Deliverance coming closer, Anna Shetty has been asking me all kinds of questions relating to Baby and Baby care.
I must say that like the babies, these memories have long faded from my memory but what I do remember is that if you have a problem, you just have to ask. Anyone from the doctor to the watchman is capable of giving advice for we Indians love giving free advice freely. Especially when there is a baby concerned, everyone has a story to tell.
I remember the first time my baby howled , it elicited a response from shock to indulgence:
- Poor thing, what is the matter?
- Why is the baby crying?
- Could it be colic?
- Is she hungry?
- Is she tired?
- Is she in pain?
and Twenty Questions multiplied to 100 complete with free answers or should I call them suggestions.
Give Gripe Water, walk her up and down, put a sandalwood paste, rub some Bibba on her foot, make a decoction of Wow Dinga, put some ghee in her nostrils, rub some brandy on her tummy, put some kajal in her eyes, tie a string of garlic round her neck, make her wear a copper anklet and the suggestions went on and on as baby grew as did her various ailments.
Most of these suggestions were useful for white hair does bring wisdom and I was amazed at how my knowledge grew with the baby’s! Wow Dinga was not a Dinga that was fantastic but a herbal remedy for colic .Similarly Bibba was not a baby’s bib but a seed which could help in curing wounds as did turmeric.
So it would seem that with my kitchen filled with simple remedies of turmeric, dill, yoghurt and ghee all that remained to cure a kid’s distress was a good tempering of oil and mustard seed!
p.s My apologies to those who don’t find this funny. I do believe in the power of herbal medicines and while home remedies have not been documented, they do provide relief to the baby. But definitely DO NOT USE HOT OIL OR MUSTARD SEED.