Hyderabad , Feb 06, 2021: The past Sunday was a happy day at Nutakki Asha and Navakumar’s home. Neighbours, friends and relatives poured in, showering their blessings on mother-to-be Steffi, at her seemantham, the traditional Telugu baby shower.
The house was decorated for the special occasion and a dressed-up Steffi, seated on a throne-like sofa, welcomed all the well-wishers, as they applied vermilion on her forehead. In the words of Navakumar, it was a family get-together with lots of laughter and joy, followed by a sumptuous meal. All the guests were sent home with return gifts.
Steffi is the couple’s 15-month-old pet dog.
Navakumar, who works as the principal of a private B.Ed college in Sathupalli town in eastern Telangana’s Khammam district, said Steffi is like their daughter, and that is why they thought of holding the traditional ceremony.
Steffi, according to Asha, is just like a human being who understands the family. “All of us love her a lot. We had celebrated her first birthday in October last and all our neighbours were present. This time, when she got pregnant, we thought why not do a traditional ‘seemantham’, as she is very much part of our family,” Asha told indianexpress.com over the phone.
One of their neighbours in NTR colony, Narayanamma, said that Steffi loves the neighbours too. Recalling an instance when her son was crying outside while playing, she said: “Steffi came to him and started licking his face to wipe off the tears. She is a harmless being and loves everyone.”
However, two days after the ceremony, Steffi started grieving.
“Our 12-year-old pet dog Scouty passed away on Tuesday night. She was terminally ill following a liver infection. Steffi has become dull, her eyes are red, she is sobbing and refusing to eat anything since,” said Asha.
The family would celebrate Scouty’s birthday every year too by cutting a cake and inviting other dog parents from the neighbourhood.
According to the couple, their friends and relatives were not surprised to hear about the unique baby shower ceremony. “They were really happy to see how a pet dog is being treated like a human being, and not chained outside the home as a guard. Everyone was amazed as they had not heard of anything like this,” added Asha.
The couple’s son Saneet, an engineering student in Hyderabad, said that Steffi was all of 21 days old when they brought her home, and since then, has been an integral part of the family. “It was a small ceremony for our happiness. Now we are getting a lot of phone calls,” he said.