For Namrata Aswani-Setty, life at 30 looks exciting, especially when it comes to balancing her role as a mother to her 21-month-old boy, Pavit, and being head of the Public Relations division at her firm
BY CHARLENE FLANAGAN
PHOTOGRAPHS BY AKSHAY KULKARNI
HAIR & MAKEUP BY SACHIN GATHE
It’s true what they say: the only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability. For Namrata, life was nothing but an unpredictable chain of events, each with a wonderful surprise in store. Having grown up in Mumbai, and being the only child to her Sindhi parents, Namrata enjoyed a life filled with abundant joys and laughter. “I am the only daughter, and understandably, have been totally pampered. My parents and close family members have always stood by me to ensure all my wishes are fulfi lled,” she says.
Tying the knot
Their support certainly didn’t waver when it came to Namrata choosing the man she wanted to marry, despite their initial reluctance. Namrata met her now husband, Santosh, back in 2009 when he joined the organisation she worked at “Me being me, a fun-loving and notorious girl, I was eager to speak to the ‘new boy’, but more with an intent to tease him a little, make friends and, off course, make him feel comfortable. But somehow, we just clicked and we haven’t looked back ever since. Looking back now, I truly realise the meaning of ‘love at fi rst sight’,” she says.
In 2010, Santosh left for New Zealand to pursue a higher education, but the couple stayed together and worked on their relationship. After his return in 2011, it was as if nothing had changed. In fact, the distance only served as a way to cement their bond. A year after his return, Namrata’s mother and maasi paid a visit to Santosh’s parents, and before they knew it, the couple were engaged in a small ceremony amidst close family and friends. “Valentine’s Day 2013, Santosh and I were married in a typical Sindhi way because my in-laws had been to and been a part of many South Indian weddings, and were really excited at the prospect of a Sindhi wedding in the family,” says an excited Namrata. “Our wedding was a four-day grand affair with DJ cum sangeet ceremony on the 11th of Feb, Mehendi party, haldi and oil ceremony and, finally, the pheras in the morning and reception in the evening,” she recalls.
Bun in the oven
The couple enjoyed two wonderful years of marriage before deciding that it was time to add a new member to their family. “While neither of us were really under any pressure from our parents to have a child, we just felt we were ready—emotionally and fi nancially—to start a family,” says Namrata. After returning from their trip to Hong Kong in May 2015, the couple decided to start trying and were successful almost immediately. “I was super happy to see my home pregnancy test turn positive and immediately called Santosh to the washroom to tell him the news. However, before we made any pregnancy announcement to our parents and family, we visited the clinic to confirm the pregnancy. After we were sure it was positive, we broke the news to all at home. My in-laws and parents were on top of the world!” says Namrata, excitedly.
There after, everything was smooth sailing for the happy couple, especially when it came to her pregnancy. Namrata is thankful that she didn’t experience any morning sickness, nor pregnancy cravings. She was even glad that she didn’t experience any swelling in her feet or any of tha pregnancy stress she’d heard about. “I am a big foodie and I’m someone who’d crave junk food any time. My pregnancy was no different. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted. I never really had a hankering for anything in particular. During my pregnancy, I continued to eat all my favourite foods. My family always tried to give me more healthy food and did reprimand me for eating my fair share of junk. But, coconut water was one routine which I would never break. My mom-inlaw would say, ‘The baby will have good hair’. She was right!” The fact that the couple had an absolutely easy pregnancy also allowed them to make a few trip to enjoy some time alone before the baby came. “We did few local trips to Lavassa,
Karjat, Lonavala, Shridi,” she says. However, while Namrata did not really stress about her pregnancy and took each day as it came, her parents and her in-laws ensured she ate a well-balanced diet, drank plenty of fluids, and made sure she was well-taken care of for those none months. After all, she was living for two. The couple had a wonderful time bonding with their unborn baby. “I listened to some soothing music, read a book which gave me week by week pregnancy update of the growth of the child. My checkups and sonography sessions were always exciting. I got to see my baby’s developing body parts. During my pregnancy, I even attended a workshop on how to deal with pregnancy, the various preventions and preautions I needed to take, how to effectively manage my labour pains, etc. It really helped me a lot. Santosh would always tell me to talk to the baby. He would join in when we were in our room at night, and it was always exciting to feeling his kicks in response to our voices,” she says. The couple were excited to welcome a baby and didn’t really mind if it was a boy or girl. They just prayed for a healthy baby to be born. Their baby shower, a traditional godh bharai with a twist of the modern, was even centered around that belief. It was ‘Pink or Blue —Wear what you will’. The guests were treated to a western affair, complete with a cute invite, a photo cake, super fun props, dance, games, but a a traditional ceremony to bestow their wishes on the couple and their baby. The evening also included a fantastic photo shoot.
Welcome to the world
Namrata was told that she would be full term by the last week of January, 2016. “The doctor told me that my due date was January 30, 2016. But it could also be any time before that. So after consulting my gynaecologist, Santosh and I decided to have the baby on due date itself. Since ours was a scheduled delivery, Santosh and I enjoyed a scrumptious meal at our favourite restaurant the night before. On the morning of January 30th, we got ourselves admitted into Bombay Hospital, Marine Lines, after which, they induced labour. I didn’t feel any contractions even after fi ve hours post inducing, and that’s even the doctor further induced labour. That defi nitely took effect almost immediately, and I was in pain for four hours. There came a point when I just couldn’t take it anymore. And since I was nowhere near dilated enough, I begged for them to do a C-section. It took my doctor some bit of convincing but fi nally, my C-section was scheduled by 7.30 that evening. At 8.01 p.m, our little boy was born, and our wait was finally over!” says Namrata.
“Celebrations began outside in the waiting room, while I was still in the OT. For my parents, their joy was endless as a boy was born after 60 long years!” The next few days were a blur as her C-section didn’t quite allow her the freedom to move about. It was Santosh who stepped up and wore his ‘Daddy’ hat with pride. “He had sleepless nights more than me. Each time baby woke up, he woke up even before me,” she recalls.
My baby and me
Namrata owes a lot to her mum-in-law and mother, particularly during the initial months after delivery. “In the initial days, it was still unbelievable, with numerous sleepless nights. My mom-in-law was a nurse and my mom had worked with a hospital all her life. These two women played such an important role when we brought our little angel home from the hospital. Fortunately for me, Santosh always loved kids. Growing up, he always had all his cousins visit him when they were born so taking care of a baby came naturally to him. He even took a three-week long paternity leave and was with me all the time. He took care of the baby more than I did, and I still maintain that he played the role of a mother for initial months. He knew what to do when and kept telling me the right way of doing things. Santosh is a real blessing,” she says.
On the sixth day after his birth, the couple held a small puja where in the maharaj gave them the letter ‘P’ for his name. Obviously, when it comes to naming a baby, a great deal of discussion goes into the matter and the couple wanted a unique name, and even took four long months to choose the perfect one for him. “My sister-in-law told me that since we were taking a while to settle on a name, he needed a pet name. That’s when she picked Richie. We loved it and started calling him that, Honestly, the name stuck and we still do. We had an offi cial naming ceremony on 28th May, 2016 with a rather grand function, complete with a small dance performed by my parents, in-laws, Santosh and myself. The dance was what we used to reveal his name as Pavit Santosh Setty. Pavit means love, pure and pious,” she says. Once Namrata settled into her role as a newbie mother, she soon started gaining a bit of confidence and before long, she was managing splendidly all on her own. “After the sleepless nights, things finally started to settle into a routine, sort-of easing things out a bit,” she says. “After Pavit completed three months, things only kept getting better. When he began responding and recognising us, that’s when the fun really began. As parents, we made it a point to always talk to him. He’d listen intently, and even coo back in response. The experience was magical,” says Namrata, excitedly. “As parents, we decided to put our phones completely on silent for three months. I started to put a curfew in place at home whenever he would sleep, but over time I realised that kids could sleep in the noisiest of places,” she recalls.
“In the fi rst week after delivery, I noticed that Pavit was a carbon copy of his father,” says Namrata. “But that’s not where the resemblance ends. He loves copying everything his dad does —whether it’s driving around in his toy care, walking around and talking on the phone, or even dressing like him! His first word, even, was ‘Pa’. I’m really not surprised because santosh and Pavit shar an indescribable bond, and it warms my heart completely. Naturally, since he’s the only child, we do tend to go overboard with the pampering, but Santosh ensures that Pavit knows when it’s too much, and Pavit accepts our final say without any tantrums.”
Namrata is perhaps a little sad that her little angel is growing up too fast. “I remember when he was this tiny little thing in my arms. Now, it’s getting diffi cult just trying to keep up with how much and how fast he’s learning and growing,” she says. As a toddler, Namrata believes that Pavit can speak a great deal of words. “He’s recently started attending PlayGroup, and just listening to him talk about his school, friends or what he’s learnt is an absolute joy. I love it when he tries singing songs. ‘Love you Zindagi’ is his favourite. But more than anything, what I absolutely love is the fact that he waits to greet us with open arms, every evening. After a long day at work, getting a tight hug from tiny arms is a feeling that just cannot be compared to anything else in the world. Puvit is just an absolute joy, and sometimes, I can’t believe I gave birth to such an angel,” she says.
Life after Puvit
The couple has definitely had to make a few sacrifices when it came to their social life, but when compared to spending quality time with their son, they wouldn’t have it any other way. “Santosh and I loved to party and go out on the weekends. That cut down after Puvit was born. Now, if we do have to party, we put him to bed under the watchful eyes of our parents, and then enjoy some quality bonding, just us two. But, our parties are few and far between. After all, Puvit is our priority. That doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy family outings to our favourite restaurants. Watching him discover new foods and cuisines is always entertaining. We love going on short trips and watch him discover something new each time! He’s definitely the light of our lives.” As for what the furture brings, Namrata says, “As parents, we can only hope and pray that we meet all his needs, give him a quality education, teach him what’s right and wrong, and hope that he grows up to be an upstanding global citizen. We just want to ensure that all his dreams are fulfi lled and he becomes a respectful and loving human being.” |MB
The fact that the couple had an absolutely easy pregnancy also allowed them to make a few trip to enjoy some time alone before the baby came
When it comes to naming a baby, a great deal of discussion goes into the matter and the couple wanted a unique name, and even took four long months to choose the perfect one for him
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