A heartfelt plea from my friend

As most of you are aware a major earthquake struck eastern Nepal, the second one in two weeks. Over a hundred people were killed and more than 2,500 injured.

AS and I are lucky that all our close relatives survived the quake but not every family was so lucky. Here I am sharing the story the family of my friend’s first cousin. The family lost everything in the earthquake, their house, their business which was their only source of income, and above all their father.

“The earthquake that struck Nepal on 25th April claimed my father’s life. I still regret that I wasn’t home that day. My sisters were able to pull my mother out of the house and all my sisters managed to get out alive but my dad couldn’t.” – Sujan Malla (My friend’s cousin)

I know most of you have already donated to one cause or another to help Nepal but today I am requesting you to donate $5 if not more to this family and help my friend build a house for a family who have lost everything. I know skipping coffee for a day is not a lot to ask for.

I promise I will keep you posted how we go with the fundraising and once the house is built; I will definitely share the good news.

Here are some words from my friend.

My uncle’s family was a normal and simple Nepali family with a father, mother and kids. They were leading a simple joyous life running a family business “Newa Bamboo Kitchen”. Despite the mother’s poor health, the family was happy and always there for each other.

Suddenly the earthquake changed everything. The family lost the father, their only house and their business in one day. Now they are living in a tent with no source of income and an uncertain future.

When I saw the posting about the quake in the social media, I was worried about my uncle as he was already old and sick too. I tried to get in touch with the family but had no luck. After three days, I got in touch with my cousin and the news devastated me. I couldn’t imagine how it would feel to lose a family member and to lose the house and the property that generated the only income to sustain the family.

There isn’t much I could do other than being sad and feeling sorry. I had few sleepless nights wondering how they must be bearing the pain. I couldn’t really be at ease and determined to try and raise some fund to give them a little relief from their burden.

So here I am requesting all of you to help this family. I know, you must have donated some way or another but I still request you to kindly spare 5 dollars for this family. Maybe we can cut back on some of the stuff that we don’t need right away. Monsoon is coming to Nepal soon and it is heart wrenching to even imagine how they will survive without help. Government help is slow to arrive and hard to get so we are the only hope they have.

Please click here and donate whatever you can.

I would like to thank you for reading this plea. Please help me share this link to spread the word amongst your friends and family.

Thank you,

Sunanda Dongol

Please HELP and PRAY for Nepal and its people

First of all thank you everyone who contacted me with concern about my loved ones in Nepal. My and AS immediate families are safe but there thousands out there who need our help.

I am sure most of you are aware that Nepal has been hit by 7.9 magnitude earthquake on April 25, 2015 and there is widespread devastation across the country. The death toll, approaching 2,000, continues to rise as search and rescue efforts are underway in Kathmandu and across the country. People are still trapped under collapsed buildings in Kathmandu, and there is no way to accurately guess how many are in need throughout the other cities and thousands of villages at this time.

The Kathmandu as I knew has changed forever as hundreds of buildings have collapsed including many homes and many of Nepal’s ancient and iconic temples and monuments.

The immediate need on the ground is for medical support, search and rescue, emergency shelters and food and water among many other things. As the days, weeks and months go by and after the humanitarian needs are addressed, Nepal will need to begin the healing and rebuilding process.

Countries like Australia, England, India, China, America, Canada, Israel, Germany, Japan and many others have sent  search and rescue teams as well as much needed aid. But people of Nepal need every possible help to recover and rebuild so I am requesting each of you to please donate generously and spread the word.

Please click the link below and give whatever you can. I know every dollar will count and people of Nepal will forever be grateful for the help .

Thank you all for your support. Please keep Nepal and the people from Nepal in your prayers. Though shattered and shocked may God give the people of Nepal all the strength and courage to get through this most difficult of times.

P.S.: Please be careful when you donate and make sure every dollar you donate is going to the right place. Beware of deceptive people/organisation who may be taking advantage of the situations.

My extra special Aama ko Mukh herne (Nepali Mother’s day)

As I have mentioned in many of my posts before, Nepal has a different calendar than the Gregorian calendar. So in Nepal people also celebrate Mother’s day on a different day than the western calendar. In Australia, Mother’s Day is the second Sunday of May every year but in Nepali calendar, it depends on the moon. It falls on the last day of the dark fortnight of April or early May. This year, it happened to be on 18 April 2015. It is commonly known as Aama ko Mukh herne in Nepal which translates to “Looking at one’s mother’s face”.

This year Aama ko Mukh herne was extra special because my mum is here with me. The last time we were together for Aama ko Mukh herne was more than a decade ago so I was really excited.

To make the day special for her I prepared Sagun, baked cupcakes and a cake. I also bought a dress, a nice watch, fruits, sweets and snacks.

Aama ko Mukh herne (1) Aama ko Mukh herne (4) Aama ko Mukh herne (3) Aama ko Mukh herne (2)Aama ko Mukh herne (12)

It was amazing to do the Aama ko Mukh herne ritual in person as compared to on Skype Aama ko Mukh herne.

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Mummy was really happy and I am glad I was able to make her feel special.

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Also this is my first Aama ko Mukh herne as a mum and just looking at Chhori smiling in the morning made my day extra special.

Aama ko Mukh herne, Mata Tirtha, Nepali Mother’s day

So if you haven’t called your mum to wish her, do give her a call and make her smile. And to all the proud moms out there, Happy Aama ko Mukh herne.

Till  next post take care everyone,

from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Poonami

WARNING: if you are eating, about to eat or just finished eating, come back later to read this post.

As you know I am new mother and motherhood brings so many new things to learn. For this week, the new word I learned was Poonami.

If you are a mum, you probably already know about it but for everyone else let me educate you. We are all familiar with No.1 and No.2. Yes I am talking about pee and poo. But do you know that in case of newborn there is a No.3 as well?

I was in a Mother’s group meeting when this came up and within a few minutes one of the bub showed us a classic example.

After a period of 6 weeks newborns sometimes have one bowel movement every 7-10 days. Yes, it is normal if you are breastfeeding. Babies keep all the nutrients that they need from your breast milk, and don’t poop as much or as often. Then when they do poo, that is what is called Poonami.

The wave created by the taking of a massive dump is poonami. Let me tell you, when it does happen, the diapers will be of no use and poo will go everywhere. The clean-up will take sometime and you hope that when it happens you are at home and not out and about.

Thankfully Chhori hasn’t done it yet but I am sure there will be one in my future as it is normal with newborns.

Till  next post take care everyone,

from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Happy Easter!!!

Hello everyone,

Wishing you a very Happy Easter that is filled with plenty of love and happiness.

M and Chhori

Easter Bunny Meekha

Superstitions Practices during Pregnancy in Nepali culture

As I come from a background where there are lots of superstitions and beliefs practiced till today. It is normal to hear dos and don’ts regarding pregnancy. I can see the logic behind some of the beliefs while about others I have no idea why they are followed.

In Nepal, they believe that when the baby is in the womb it picks up a lot from his/her surroundings and emotions and thoughts of the mother. Even though we may not realize his/her senses are active at that time, our actions have a great impact on babies even before they arrive on earth.

From the type of food to the mother’s daily actions, what to wear and what to do are some of the traditions that amazed me. Some of them I did considered following while others I couldn’t. Most of these superstitions don’t cost more money and doesn’t hurt anybody. It just may prove to be a little more inconvenient at times.

As educated as I am in the 21st century of advanced science, I am still scared sometimes not to follow the superstitions. At the back of my mind, I think that if something does happen to the baby, it will be my fault. I definitely do not follow the beliefs blindly but I do follow them as long as they sound reasonable enough and it are morally right.

Not announcing the pregnancy until after 3 months have passed

I wrote a whole post regarding this because I have my own idea why we shouldn’t announce the pregnancy very early. A higher percentage of miscarriages occur during the first trimester. Some people may feel it is just wiser to wait until after the period of instability is over. We did tell our immediate family members early and waited 3 months to tell the rest of the world, but at the end of the day it is a personal preference.

nepaliaustralian

Eating lots of almond, milk and saffron to have fair skin baby

I have talked about Asian people’s obsession with fair skin before in my blog. I thinking living in Australia for more than a decade now I have come to love my skin tone. Most people around always complement me about it and I am proud of my colour.

But in Nepal, they still believe that fair is beautiful. Everyone wants a fair baby regardless of the colour of parents’ skin. Most people will call a fair person beautiful disregarding any other quality.

So when I told people that I am having a baby, they asked me to drink lots of milk with saffron and almonds. Some of my friends and cousins swear by it.

I do drink plenty of milk for calcium and snack on almonds but don’t do saffron at all. But in my head, I can’t imagine my baby being too fair as both AS and I are brown and I am sure we are going to have a brown baby no matter what I eat or drink.

Not watching Horror/scary/action movie

I know lots of people have asked me not to watch scary movies/ TV during pregnancy. It’s advisable not to watch horror or action movies which involve a lot of blood during pregnancy because it is believed that it may indirectly effect the growing baby. Watching violent and horror stuff on television or reading such books can create fear or violence in your child.

I do see some logic behind this because when we watch such movies, our heart may pump heavily as we get excited and this could lead to pressure on our womb.

I generally don’t watch horror movies but I do watch lots of cops/ detective dramas so I am not sure what it is doing that to the baby. I think if you feel happy after watching a movie and not frightened then go for anything that you like.

Look at the photo/picture of great people or God

Lots of people believe that you should have a photo of a god/goddess or some famous person in your room while you are pregnant. It is also believed that keeping pictures of baby Lord Krishna and smiling faces around you in the room will also create a harmonious environment.

When my SIL was pregnant, my brother put up president Obama’s photo in their bedroom. I really don’t know what was going on in his head but if my nephew becomes a prime mister/president one day, then I will be sure that this theory works.

Also having photos of beautiful baby is supposed to make your baby beautiful as well.

Do not touch the baby in tummy during eclipse

It is believed that if one is expecting and there is an eclipse during that time both parents should be very careful and cautious. Parents should not do any activity like using a knife, scissors, pen as their child will have a mark or mole or cut on his body.  So during eclipse, one should not leave the house and should lie on the bed straight and stay indoors. Reading holy books during eclipse is beneficial for everyone specially couples expecting a baby.

Read holy/spiritual book

Parents who are more into spiritualism and read spiritual books during pregnancy believe that they notice their children will be coming from the same thought process because they read these books during pregnancy.

There is a myth people believe in for a long time in our holy book Gita.

Abhimanyu, who is the son of Arjuna & Subhadra (half-sister of lord Krishna). As an unborn child in his mother’s womb, Abhimanyu learned the knowledge of entering the deadly and virtually impenetrable Chakravyuha from Arjun. The epic explains that he overheard Arjun talking about this with his mother Subhadra from the womb. Arjun explains to Subhadra in detail, the technique of attacking and escaping from various vyoohs (an array of army formation) such as Makaravyoha, Kurmavyooha, and Sarpavyuha etc. After explaining all the vyoohs, he explains about the technique of cracking Chakravyuha. Arjun tells how to enter the Chakryavyuha. When he was about to explain how to exit from the Chakravyuha, he realizes that Subhadra is asleep and stops explaining about the Chakravyuha further. Thus the baby Abhimanyu in the womb did not get a chance to learn how to come out of it, which played a big role in his life.

Be around and in contact with positive and cheerful people.

I completely agree with this one because you don’t need extra stress during pregnancy apart from what you are already going through. If the mom to be is depressed and sad most of the time during pregnancy it will affect the child in the same manner.

I made sure that I only met people who had a positive attitude so I didn’t dwell on negative thoughts and kept myself happy during the journey.

Reciting, chanting or listening to devotional mantras

Good, peaceful thoughts and reciting, chanting or listening to devotional mantras plays a great role at the time one is expecting.  It is believed that if you listen to devotional mantras when the baby is in the tummy, he/she will have a calm personality.

Wearing loose clothing

You don’t want to show off your pregnancy in case you get an evil eye from someone. They even suggest wearing scarfs (kasto) so people won’t notice you are pregnant. Making sure you stay away from evil eyes and evil thought seems to be very important in Nepali culture.

For me it was not possible for me to wear covered clothing as most of my pregnancy was during spring and summer. I was happy to wear comfortable clothes that were not too tight but never went beyond that to make people think I was not pregnant.

Until around 5 months, I think it was not a problem anyway as it was not obvious but after that no matter what I wore, it was obvious.

I am sure there are a lot of other superstations and beliefs in Nepali/Newari culture I could add to this list. But I am going to stop here.

Please do share superstitions and practices during pregnancy in your culture. I am sure there are some interesting ones and some weird ones out there.

Till  next post take care everyone,

from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Nwaran for Chhori

I know I am posting this late because Chhori is already a month now.

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Nwaran was performed when she was 11 days old.

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Nwaran ceremony is also known as Machabu Byakegu in Newari. This ceremony is performed to give a birth name to a child according to his/her lunar horoscope; this is usually not the name by which he/she will be known. This ceremony is normally small and celebrated amongst close family.

Typically, a priest is invited to perform the ceremony at home, and divines the child’s lunar horoscope from his birth details, as the mother is still recovering at home with the child. Until the mother and child are ‘purified’ (from past birth etc. in the religious sense), they should not visit the temple.

For the occasion, I wore a red sari which was specially brought from Nepal by my mum for the occasion. It was a cotton sari which is what new mums are supposed to wear for the occasion.

As soon as Chhori was born, we booked a priest for the ceremony and he gave us a list of things that are required for the day and everything was ready when he arrived at my place at 8.30 am on the day of the ceremony.

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The main ceremony was conducted in the balcony of our apartment.  Before the priest arrived we had cleaned and mopped the place. So, when he arrived, he started making a Mandap on the balcony. Once it was ready he asked AS to come and join him for the Puja.

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He had all his books of mantras and it took more than an hour for the first phase of the Puja to finish. It involved lots of mantra reciting from the books and lots of different Pujas to God, with candles on the Mandap.

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Then he asked me and Chhori to join the Puja. He chanted more mantras from the book. Then he asked me to perform Puja to the sun. Then he put tika on Chhori’s forehead and gave him a piece of paper which had details required to make her Jaata (lunar horoscope chart).

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Then my SIL took Chhori for Surya Darshan, i.e. to let the sunray fall on her as a blessing. Then the priest put Tika on AS, me and rest of the family. He also put Janai (holy string) around our wrists.

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After the ceremony, the priest left and the family function started. My parents, with the help of my brother and SIL, had prepared lots of trays of gifts for us and Chhori. It included sari and other gifts for me, clothes for AS and lots of clothes, toys, and manchester for Chhori as well as trays of sweets and fruits.

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The special thing required was special sliver bowl and spoon which my mum has got from Nepal.

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My parents put tika for AS, me and Chhori and gave us blessing and gifts. It was really nice and special to have all my family here for the occasion.

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Till  next post take care everyone,

from nepaliaustralian

XOXO