I imagined my own translation of his words:
"Ohhhh . . . little baby, this is roast chicken for you to eat! Someday you will love roast chicken and we hope you have lots of it! Ohhhhhhh . . . little baby, this is a chunk of cooked rice, may you always have all the chunks of cooked rice you could ever desire, may you be showered with rice for always. Ohhhhh . . . little baby, this is a coconut, isn't it funny how this coconut looks, someday you will eat lots of coconuts! Ohhhhhh . . . little baby, this is your family, do you not see how much your family adores you? Ohhhhh . . . little baby, you are pre-cious to the whole universe! You are an A-plus student! You are our magnificent bunny! You are a yummy hunk of silly putty! Ooohhhhh little baby, you are the Sultan of Swing, you are our everything . . ."
Everyone was blessed again and again with flower petals dipped in holy water. The whole family took turns passing the baby around, cooing to her, while Ketut sang the ancient man-tras. They even let me hold the baby for a while, even in my jeans, and I whispered my own blessings to her as everyone sang. "Good luck,"I told her. "Be brave."It was boiling hot, even in the shade. The young mother, dressed in a sexy bustier under her sheer lace shirt, was sweating. The young father, who didn't seem to know any facial expression other than a massively proud grin, was also sweating. The various grandmothers fanned themselves, got weary, sat down, stood up, fussed with the roasted sacrificial pigs, chased away dogs. Every-one was alternately interested, not interested, tired, laughing, earnest. But Ketut and the baby seemed to be locked in their own experience together, riveted to each other's attention. The baby didn't take her eyes off the old medicine man all day. Who ever heard of a six-month-old baby not crying or fussing or sleeping for four straight hours in the hot sun, but just watching someone with curiosity?
Ketut did his job well, and the baby did her job well, too. She was fully present for her transformation ceremony from god-status to human-status. She was handling the responsibilities marvelously, like a good Balinese girl already—steeped in ritual, confident of her beliefs, obedient to the requirements of her culture.
At the end of all the chanting, the baby was wrapped in a long, clean white sheet that hung far below her little legs, making her look tall and regal—a veritable debutante. Ketut made a drawing on the bottom of a pottery bowl of the four directions of the universe, filled the bowl with holy water and set it on the ground. This hand-drawn compass marked the holy spot on earth where the baby's feet would first touch.
Then the whole family gathered by the baby, everyone seeming to hold her at the same time, and—oop! there goes!—they lightly dipped the baby's feet in this pottery bowl full of holy water, right above the magic drawing which encompassed the whole universe, and then they touched her soles to the earth for the first time. When they lifted her back up into the air, tiny damp footprints remained on the ground below her, orienting this child at last onto the great Balinese grid, establishing who she was by establishing where she was. Everyone clapped their hands, delighted. The little girl was one of us now. A human being—with all the risks and thrills which that perplexing incarnation entails.
The baby looked up, looked around, smiled. She wasn't a god anymore. She didn't seem to mind. She wasn't fearful at all. She seemed thoroughly satisfied with every decision she had ever made. Eat, Pray, Love