Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The First Born

If you utter a word before a baby, it imitates and parrot-like repeats the word. In the same way, when this morning, i received an overseas call to listen the words ‘Happy Birthday’, i repeated the two words.

It was a call from Daughter I, who lives in the U S of A, to wish me on my birthday. I repeated the two words to her as today is her birthday also. Yes, Daughter I and i share our birth day. It is a good coincidence. Both of us consider ourselves lucky for this.

First Born children have certain advantages over their later born siblings. Birth of the first child is a thrilling and exciting experience for a couple. The expectant mother dreams and plans about how she would welcome the family’s new member. The joys of the thought ‘I am going to have a baby.’ have few comparisons.

In Odisha, a special festival is earmarked for the first born child. It is called ‘Prathamastami’ which usually comes in November. On this day, the First Born gets new clothes. She/he takes bath early morning, wears new clothes and her face is decorated with chandan (sandalwood) paste.  The child’s maternal uncle provides these new clothes every year. Puja is performed and special ‘pitha’ (cakes) and other tasty dishes are prepared on this occasion. A special item called ‘Enduri Pitha’ is prepared. It is a steamed item made from rice, cheese, coconut, sugar and other ingredients. The dough along with the stuffing is placed in leaves of turmeric plants and then steamed. In the process of steaming, some juice of turmeric leaves enters the dough and gives enduri pitha its unique and distinct flavour and taste.

 Ou leaves also are used to prepare enduri pitha.‘Ou’ is a typical tree found in Odisha and some parts of West Bengal. It bears round fruits which are sour. The 5 petals of its flower evolve into a fruit. The fruit is added to some curries to give a sour taste. The fruit is also used to prepare a kind of mouth-watering pickles. Banana leaves also are used to prepare Enduri pitha. However, the unique flavour of enduri pitha can be had only by using turmeric leaves.

 The second and the other children are not given this special treatment.

When Daughter I was born, the wife was in her parental home in Odisha, India. I was in U P. The good news was conveyed to me by telegram. I have preserved this telegram (I have added a photo of this in my post ‘Mother Serious Stop Come Soon’ dated 26.06.2013. )

While in the school, she started learning Odissi dance.

  Later, she also started learning painting.

 It was a pleasant job to select a suitable match for her.


As in the case of all fathers, my eyes became moist when she went to her sasural.The mother's emotions were less controlled.

When this ‘baby’ of ours had her first baby (a girl), she told us proudly “I have made her.” I told her what i had seen in an advertisement for baby-food, ‘It feels like someone has taken out a part of you and yet has made you complete!’ 

Wish us a happy birthday!                  


  1. A very Happppppy Birthday to both of you :) Today is an auspicious day for Jains/Baniya and many Gujaratis. :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks a lot.

      Why are you out of blogging recently?

  3. Happy Birthday! Wish you both loads of happiness :)

    1. Thank you.

      I shall convey your good wishes to her also.

  4. Many more happy returns of the day to you and your daughter. It's sure is a rare coincidence.

    Reading your post made me realize I have been pretty lucky in being a first born though I never thought about it. Enduri Pitha now makes me yearn for home.

  5. Thank you. I shall convey your wishes to my daughter.

    2.By mistake, I had omitted to mention that leaves of turmeric plant are the first choice for packing the dough for 'enduri pitha' before steaming it. Ou leaves are also used for this purpose.

    3. Congratulations for being the first-born! I used to envy my elder brother, the first born, for getting so much attention and for being fussed over by everybody on Prathamastami.

  6. Well I can see I am too late to wish it...but still I wholeheartedly wish and pray near Lord Jagannatha that you and your lil' daughter get to celebrate many more gleeful birthdays...Enduri Pitha..the name itself is enough to water my mouth..I miss homemade food a lot. :)

    1. Thank you. It is the wish that counts, not the time. I shall convey your good wishes to my "lil' daughter". This 'lil' daughter of mine' has two 'lil' kids.

      Your reference to Lord Jagannath and Enduri Pitha makes me to presume that you are from Odisha. Are you away from home?