The joys of being a mashi

Over the years I have heard a lot of people say that being an aunt is one of the greatest joys of your life.

In fact I have seen it for myself with many family friends.

Until recently I had not fully grasped the concept of being an aunt or as they say in bengali, ‘’mashi’’. I mean what was the big deal I used to think to myself, a kids a kid, they are all adorable!

Recently I had the privilege of attending and capturing beautiful moments of a ceremony in Hinduism called ‘onnoprashon’’.

Onnoprashon is a rice weaning ceremony for a child when they are 6 months old and are about to start eating solid food( hello flavor town). It is celebrated with many friends and family surrounding the child, usually in the home. The child is given a rice dish with many other delicacies on it like various type of fruits. So the child can choose something.  In the case of my friends baby he had tiny slices of paw-paws.

What usually happens is that the uncle of the baby feeds a small amount of rice to the baby. The reason it has to be the uncle specifically is that it is said the uncles and nephews/nieces have a special bond, ‘’nothing bad ever happens when the uncle and nephew/niece around!’’goes the old saying in Bengali. And from my experience with my uncles, I find this rings true!

While taking photos at this auspicious grand event. I had suddenly realized how absolutely proud I was of my friend is the closest thing I have to an older sister.

My lovely sister who I have known since I had waddled up to her as a 5-year-old and asked if we,”could be friends” all the way in India.

I suddenly realized my lovely sister, who as a teenager would wear questionably baggy jeans, barely any makeup suddenly had a child!

This lovely woman who kept me company through all my tantrums growing up, sang Westlife songs with me and kept me company after school when I would suddenly rock up to her house. My sister who I had grown up watching as a young woman play cricket. Growing up brown and Bengali come to think of it she was the first woman I had witnessed playing cricket!

It was while holding her lovely baby I had realized that I am the aunt to the child of such an incredible woman who I had the privilege of always admiring and was a constant role-model in my life.

It is truly a amazing feeling watching someone grow up right in front of your eyes and turn into a radiant,successful woman, and for this woman to have this child who is the apple of all of our eyes. It is happiness like no other!