Minipost 8 – Elbina ebong tar baccha

It is with great pride and joy that I can announce to my special blog friends that our adopted daughter Elbina gave birth this morning (approximately 5:40am) to a healthy and beautiful baby girl. She doesn’t have a name yet – that tends to come later and Elbina has said I have to name her; I haven’t figured out if she’s joking or not! I suspect I don’t, in reality! But she does have a weight – 2.3kg.

We have been waiting for weeks for this baby to come. Elbina got married almost exactly a year ago and just before we left for the UK in July she told us the good news that she was pregnant. We thought it would be touch and go whether we would get back in time for the birth – we needn’t have worried! Babies seem to come into this world in much the same way Bangladeshis do other things – at their leisure!

What has been nice to see is that Elbina’s husband, Ibrahim, wanted a girl. In a society which tends to favour boys over girls – especially the first one – this is pleasing to see. I get the feeling (and I certainly hope and pray) that this little girl will get doted on.

Mind you, it’s doing nothing for the statistics if you count Elbina as still part of her birth village (she normally lives with her husband’s family now) – there is a plethora of girls in that village and hardly any boys at all!

Elbina originally was one of our ayahs but the relationship gradually changed as we all got on so well. She is full of life and energy, loved by my own two children and became a good friend to us all. When it came to finding a husband, I – along with her own father and other men in the village – had the task of vetting the young man and giving (or taking away) approval. It was at the point that I became considered to be her ‘father’. Santals have an even greater sense of collective identity than other Bangladeshis.

Whereas Bangla has a ‘Tumi’ and ‘apni’ for ‘you’ which are similar to the French ‘vous’ and ‘toi’ – they give different meanings for status – the Santals just have ‘am’. But when greeting a Santal you are more likely to ask not “how are you?” but “how are you all?” The family is considered to be the primary unit and you function entirely with that unit. It was a real privilege then, for my family and I to be adopted into the family unit and considered part of it. It’s a role I take seriously!

As you might guess, I am somewhat proud of being a ‘Granddad’ – even if it is fair number of years earlier than expected (my own daughter isn’t even twelve yet!). Looking at these photos though, I think I am fitting the role nicely. I’m so grey these days! How did that happen?

About D K Powell

British freelance journalist, author, writer, editor, musician, educational consultant. I lived with Wifey, Thing I (daughter) & Thing II (son) in Bangladesh for 5-6 years working for an NGO called LAMB. Wifey led the Hospital Rehab department and I used to teach O levels at the school before going full-time as a freelance writer in 2013. Now we're back in the UK learning how to be British again. When not writing or editing, I'm busy trying to complete a Masters degree in Intercultural relations in Asian Contexts and reading way too many books at once. I also drink tea - lots of it.
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14 Responses to Minipost 8 – Elbina ebong tar baccha

  1. kidswhogig says:

    Congrats grand dad and ALL! The baby is beautiful and i love the photo of the little feet in all that beautiful fabric – thank you for sharing her with all of us!

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  2. Jox says:

    What a lovely blessing. Congratulations! I know that you would mold this baby into a great person.

    Like

  3. Ruth Subash says:

    Love this blog! Enjoy your new roles as Grandparents, Aunt and Uncle. I would love a cuddle so you will just have to enjoy one for me. Suresh saw the photo and kissed the baby (papa) on the laptop screen- please pass this kiss on and our love and congratulations!

    These photos have made be incredibly broody! I would love to have our second baby in India or at least with Patti and Tatha here with us.

    Love to all.

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  4. i am all smiles looking at this beautiful pictures. The baby girl is indeed very very pretty….. Shez like a “pari” (fairy) ….god bless the child and the mom🙂

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    • Thank you so much – I read your comment on my phone whilst visiting Elbina in the hospital and showing her the blog. I translated your words into Bangla (and discovered that here a fairy is “pori” or “puri” which is very similar to your Hindi (?) version! Elbina was very blessed by your comment and amazed that someone from India was looking at these photos! She has never travelled further than Dhaka before! So, thank you🙂

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      • ohh my god!! how sweet of u…wish her all the best and congrats……my wishes are wid her from INDIA……….. yeah “pari” in hindi means fairy…………Lots of love the little baby.🙂

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        • I will pass the message on – I promise🙂

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          • god bless you ken…you are doing a real nice work…… I am glad that people like you exist in this world full of hatred….. do visit India sometime….would love to show you around🙂

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          • I came to Kolkata last year and loved it. I wrote two blogposts on it too – All the Raj – and we went there because my mother was born in Kolkata. Her family were military raj and her mother was a senior nurse at the Presidential Hospital. It was like coming home to a home I had never been to before yet knew so well. I loved it and hope I get to go again one day – I’ll try to let you know when I do!

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