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In the West, people often say "It takes a village to raise a child," but on the ground the notion that it's an entire community's job to care for kids is mostly just a quaint, nostalgic ideal. When you have a child in India, though, the village comes to you whether you like it or not.
Weeks into my self-imposed exile--stuck at home, living like a pampered hermit with my newborn son--the Indian practice of observing 40 days of confinement after giving birth tipped from excruciating to enlightening.
As my grandmother, mum, husband and I debate the finer details of taking care of a newborn, it has been a battle between Nani's street smarts and our smartphones. Nani, unsurprisingly, is unimpressed by the opinions of the strangers at our fingertips.
Recently we've had the scent of lilies wafting through our home - a glorious amalgamation of belated Valentine's Day love and gifts from friends with impeccable floral taste. Having noticed one flower was yet to bloom, about a week ago, I told girlfriends that when it does, baby will decide to make his or her way into the world. Freakishly, over the weekend the lone lily, placed next to an antique Ganesha statue at the front of our home, bloomed.