Jai Sakhale in Pune’s Mulshi taluka sings nine ovi about a woman advising her daughter – a new mother – on looking after her health while also observing the social customs and norms expected of her

“Your calves are so fair, loosen some of your saree pleats to cover them.” A pregnant woman’s mother gently tells her daughter. That she is expecting a child is no reason to ignore society’s demands of ‘modesty’ from a woman.

Jai Sakhale of Lavharde village in Mulshi taluka , Pune, sings about a mother rejoicing over a daughter’s first pregnancy and childbirth. Concerned about her health, the parent gives some tips to the new mother about home remedies.

The mother notices that her daughter’s heels look yellow after the exertion of childbirth and advises the young woman to take a fumigation of fennel seeds and turmeric. “This is like a second birth for you, take your husband’s ghongadi [rough blanket] to keep you warm,” she tells her.

'I tell you, my daughter, you are glowing like a yellow jasmine.' Illustration: Labani Jangi

The mother remembers fondly how the daughter felt shy about her pregnancy on meeting her parents and relatives. The son-in-law pampered his wife during the nine months of her pregnancy. When she had morning sickness, he gave her areca nut as a mouth-freshener. He plucked out ripening fruit from the mango trees when she craved for them. As her pregnancy progressed, the young woman glowed “like a yellow jasmine.” The mother feels proud of both her daughter and her son-in-law.

Listen to the nine ovi in Jai Sakhale’s melodious voice

अशी बाळंतिणी बाई, तुला देखिली न्हाणी जाता
माझ्या बाईच्या हाये, पिवळ्या तुझ्या टाचा

अशी बाळंतिणी बाई, घ्यावी शापूची शेगयडी
अशी तुझ्या ना अंगावरी, तुझ्या कंथाची घोंगयडी

बाळंतिणी बाई, घ्यावी हळदीची हवा
माझ्या बाईचा, तुझा जलम झाला नवा

गर्भिणी नारी लाज माहेर गोताला
वाणीची माझी बाई पदर लाविती पोटाला

अशी गर्भिणी नारी, तुला गरभाच्या वकायाऱ्या
अशी हवशा तुझा चुडा, देतो चिकण सुपायाऱ्या

अशी गर्भिणी नारी तुझा गरभ लाडाचा
अशी हवशा तुझा चुडा, आंबा उतयरी पाडायाचा

गर्भिणी नारी, तुझ्या पोटऱ्या गोऱ्या गोऱ्या
सांगते बाई तुला, तू तर घोळाच्या सोड मिऱ्या

गर्भिणी नारी, तुझी गरभ साया कशी
सांगते माझ्या बाई, माझी पिवळी जाई जशी

गर्भिणी नारी, तुझ्या तोंडावरी लाली
सांगते बाई तुला, कोण्या महिन्याला न्हाली

aśī bāḷantīṇībāī tulā dēkhīlī nhāṇī jātā
mājhyā bāīcyā hāyē pivaḷyā tujhyā ṭācā

aśī bāḷantīṇībāī ghyāvī śāpūcī śēgayaḍī
aśī tujhyā nā aṅgāvarī tujhyā kanthācī ghōṅgayaḍī

bāḷantīṇībāī ghyāvī haḷadīcī havā
mājhyā bāīcā tujhā jalama jhālā navā

garabhīṇī nārī lāja māhēra gōtālā
vāṇīcī mājhī bāī padara lāvītī pōṭālā

aśī garabhīṇī nārī tulā garabhācyā vakāyāryā
aśī havaśā tujhā cuḍā dētō cikaṇa supāyāryā

aśī garabhīṇī nārī tujhā garabha lāḍācā
aśī havaśā tujhā cuḍā āmbā autayarī pāḍāyācā

garabhīṇī nārī tujhyā pōṭaryā gōryā gōryā
sāṅgatē bāī tulā tu tara ghōḷācyā sōḍa miryā

garabhīṇī nārī tujhī garabha sāyā kaśī
sāṅgatē mājhyā bāī mājhī pivaḷī jāī jaśī

garabhīṇī nārī tujhyā tōṇḍānāvarī lālī
sāṅgatē bāī tulā kōṇyā mahinyālā nhālī

You have just delivered, I saw you going to the bathroom
My dear daughter’s heels look yellow [with exertion]

O new mother, take a fumigation of fennel seeds
Your husband’s coarse blanket will give you warmth

You have just delivered, refresh yourself with turmeric
My dear daughter, it is like a second birth for you

My pregnant daughter is feeling shy before her parental family
My dear daughter covers her stomach with the end of her saree

O pregnant woman, you have morning sickness
Your caring husband gives you chikani supari

O pregnant woman, you are being pampered in your pregnancy
Your caring husband is taking down ripening mangoes from the tree

O pregnant woman, your calves are fair complexioned
I tell you, woman, loosen some pleats in your saree [to cover them]

O pregnant woman, how does your pregnancy make you look?
I tell you, my daughter, you are glowing like a yellow jasmine

O pregnant woman, your face glows with the pink in your cheeks
In which month, O woman, did you have your [last] periods

Performer/ Singer: Jai Sakhale

Village: Lavharde

Taluka: Mulshi

District: Pune

Caste: Nav Bauddha (Neo Buddhist)

Age: Died in 2012

Education: None

Children: 1 daughter (Lilabai Shinde – contributor to the Grindmill Songs Project)

Date: Her songs were recorded on October 5, 1999

Poster: Urja

Read about the original Grindmill Songs Project founded by Hema Rairkar and Guy Poitevin.

Namita Waikar is a writer, translator and Managing Editor at the People's Archive of Rural India. She is the author of the novel 'The Long March', published in 2018.

Other stories by Namita Waikar

PARI Grindmill Songs Project Team: Asha Ogale (translation); Bernard Bel (digitisation, database design, development and maintenance); Jitendra Maid (transcription, translation assistance); Namita Waikar (project lead and curation); Rajani Khaladkar (data entry).

Other stories by PARI GSP Team