Old veshtis were diapers then.
They tore it off in small pieces, tied it around the baby's "arana kayaru" and washed 50 such pieces every 2 weeks. The mom sleeps inside a mosquito net, gets up only to feed the baby and sleeps for most of the time. The grandma cleans the baby poop, changes diapers, cooks, gives thatha 'filter kaapee', does kulimurai, applies oil & seekai podi and buys 'nai kaasu'. The baby is stabilized, brought to normal sleeping condition in 3 months and when the dad gets to see the baby, he is blissfully unaware of all the baby poop under the redoxide floor. He won't see it ever and won't even know how the underside of the baby looks like. The mom has no mental problems and depressions. She is ready to send her kid to IIT classes and Srimathi Maa'm classes.
Then the thamizhan migrated to amerikka and became a saaftwear engineer mapillai.
Just like there are ABCDs there are also DCBAs - Desis Confused By Americans. These are proto-typical Bay Area migrants who have delusionally bought into the white man's life style. They put photo frame's of their wife and their wedding photos in their office, go on camping trips, buy mulch and worry about 'Green Bay Packers'. The last 10 years have seen a dramatic change in the desi man's involvement around pregnancies and babies. It is the complete opposite of the SBI officer situation. The other extreme. The man still invites the girl's parents to stay with him and to assist during the pregnancy. However, his wife ignores her mom's advise, goes to pregnancy classes, breast feeding classes, postpartum depression prevention classes, and prenatal yoga classes. The white man does it because there is nobody to help and his in-laws won't come even if he paid for the tickets. And the desi man wastes $300 for these classes 'just in case', accompanies his wife for all these painfully boring classes (this gets a separate post) and then finally follows his wife right down into the labor ward.
He is actually present when the baby is born.
This very act of participation is a symbolic show to the world that he is different from his rude, male chauvinistic, and barbaric ancestors. The man wants to be involved now. He has no choice. This is the definition of 'normal' now. Sun rises in the east, gravity pulls the apples down, man has to go to the labor ward. Its a religion unto itself, you don't question 'why' you just do it. All this has became so in the last 10 years. If you don't believe it - try saying 'no' to the labor-ward thing and you'll find out.
Diaper Fever, Obsession and Love
The man waits like a predator for the baby to be born. He crouches and is ready to leap. Moments after the baby is the born the man leaps, captures the baby, cuts the umbilical cord lining (signifying the importance of his participation) and proceeds to do the most vital thing he will ever do all his life - change the diaper. The man wants to change the diaper. He needs to. He has to. He pines to. He longs to. He desires to. Cleaning baby poop is a priority for him. It is all that he wants to do. He has been waiting 10 months to do this. It is the new code. It is a burning desire more potent than the desire to email pictures of alien-looking-new-born-soaked-in-blood sitting on a ghastly looking mom (the ugliest she has looked her entire life) to his entire corporate organization. More important than the desire to post ultra-sound pictures on Facebook. The grandma can go an entire pregnancy without changing the diaper. The mom can go an entire pregnancy without changing the diaper. But the man cannot.
If aliens were observing social patterns of earthlings, their report would read something like this - the younglings discard waste products from their intestines, which are emitted out through fissures on the back of their bodies. Curiously the male's social standing among other human beings is determined by how many times, how quickly and how desirously he cleans the youngling's intestinal discard. Cleaning the backside of younglings and removing intestinal waste with passion and love shows that the male is progressive, sensitive, caring and responsible.
In continuation with the theme that the default standard in the modern desi world has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. A person who is not appropriately tuned in can come for a rude shock. Changing diapers, celebrating fathers day, mothers day, first-onnukku day, and poopy day are the societal norms that need to be followed to preserve an appearance of being normal. Baby names have to get smaller and shrink to the point of becoming olden day police constable like serial numbers such as A1, C108 - so that the arbit white man who stops to say hello to the baby in 'wal-mart' can pronounce it without difficulty. If you forget to follow any one of these you are "not normal" "strange" and "difficult".
The rise of the diapers
The man has to use his parental leave (imagine this - pregnancy leave for men!???) and hang around the house. Even if he has his 'maamiyar' around to do most of the work, he has to hang around. Even if there is no work to do around the house - he has to hang around. While it is civil to buy tickets for maamiyar and ask her help, the desi society considers the man barbaric if he lets the maamiyar do all the work. There might be an army of 2000 people he could have paid for and brought them to United States to help with the pregnancy. However, the correct protocol for him to is tell the entire army of 2000 people that (a) they don't know anything, (b) they are in violation of modern science methodologies and (c) proceed to do all the work himself.
Even if he has nothing to contribute (the baby wants to eat, he has no part to play here), he has to get up in the middle of the night, stay awake and hang around the mom. Because if she is "suffering" it is considered good courtesy and acceptable normal behavior for him to suffer alongside. A person who refuses to do any of this is considered chauvinistic, barbaric, cruel, regressive and of course a wife-beating cave man. The word gets out soon. People ask each other details. Its like a hygene test. They ask "how many diapers does the father clean? How much work does he do around the house? ya..ya.. I know your parents are here and they do all the work but what does he do? It is what he does that is important?" A man who has cleaned zero diapers is an outcast. Other women won't let their husbands talk to this Neanderthal, lest they be corrupted by such evil and negative influence.
Diapers are everything. The smellier they are the more their importance. More than ever before cleaning disgusting, ugly, smelly shit has become the most romantic, caring, sensitive and important act a man can ever do. Diapers control things that are larger than poop. They control the man's status in the society. The baby poops and fills up these paper products unknowing of the consequences of that action and the tension surrounding things that what their bodies don't want. This is diaper generation. You pick up the wipes and start cleaning or you are permanently cut out of society.