Mumbai News

Mumbai: Now, baby showers have gone virtual – Times of India

Sayoni Biswas says her virtual baby shower took away the sadness of a pandemic pregnancy

For a few days before June 1, heavily-pregnant Jogeshwari resident Sayoni Biswas found her husband Tamojit Roy making more trips to the bathroom than her. When asked why he needed his phone while answering nature’s call, Roy, the strategy lead at a massive real estate firm, would say he needed the quiet for an important official virtual meeting.
The lie helped Roy organise an important unofficial virtual meeting. He made secret calls to 20-odd cousins, uncles, aunts and friends, asking if they could attend his angst-ridden wife’s baby shower on a video- conferencing app and the turnout might well have cemented his position as the domestic strategy lead.
With lockdown rules discouraging unnecessary travel, baby showers are now unfolding over webcam. Spouses or best friends are turning into meticulous event planners — sending out e-invites, pre-ordering treats, posing for low-rent maternity shoots and organising other happy distractions from the atmosphere of gloom.
Thirty-one-year-old Biswas,who found both her discomfort about following convention — dressing up as per Bengali tradition in a new silk sari and the arduous prospect of sitting on the floor — melt away the moment a bevy of familiar faces started filling up the laptop screen. “They took away my sadness,” says Biswas, who recalls the gentle teasing that followed when an American-football-sized watermelon was dropped into her pallu.
For avid Harry Potter fan Shruti Joshi, having a theme-based baby shower had been an eight-month long dream and she wasn’t going to let the lockdown spoil it for her. Joshi got her guests to dress up in cloaks and hats and carry wands — all fashioned out of things at home. Spells were thrown at each other and Joshi even managed to get Potter memorabilia couriered to the guests.
‘Revelations’ could easily have passed as the unofficial theme of digital marketing company head Neha Goud’s virtual baby shower — a pink-and-blue-balloon-filled surprise planned by her husband Kumar Rakesh — in which the duo not only realised that they both think they are going to have a daughter but also found out that some of their friends had run away from home as kids. To diffuse the grimness of the times that saw the two moving out of their home in Mumbai three weeks ago to Goud’s maternal home in Bengaluru for the delivery. So, while Goud had baked a cake for her husband that day “because it was Father’s day”, the icing came from the answers to fun queries such as “Who do you think will make a better parent?” and “Who is more likely to spoil the child?”
Some mothers-to-be have also been mindful of how Covid-19 has impacted the less fortunate. Techie Ankita Agarwal requested friends and family to donate baby care products for new mothers to a non-profit group, instead of buying her presents. “I did not want a religious ceremony. So friends and family logged online, played some games and shared a fun Powerpoint of old photographs of mine,” says Agarwal, who had a half an hour session on tech support for her elderly parents so they could join in.
“In normal times, I doubt if so many people could have joined us at once,” says Biswas, who was both impressed by her doting husband and infuriated by him at the end of the jolly event. Tradition demanded that she polish off all five fruits offered to her during the ceremony, including the mammoth watermelon, the only one her husband could find in these scarce times.” Couldn’t you have bought a smaller watermelon?” she cursed him lovingly, even as she chomped through the fruit over the next five days and made as many, if not more, trips to the washroom as her husband had in preparation for the event.