I sit here typing up this post with intricately designed henna on my hands (Not just the palm!) and a bright red nail paint starking a high contrast to the black keys on my laptop. The bangles on my hand are making a melodious jiggle, which my husband calls as melody in a child-like innocent tone. My forehead has its glorious smear of red sindhoor, which I wear just this day every year. Yes, it is Karwachauth.
Few questions will pop into your mind when you read the title of this post. First- a modern women’s take on Karwachauth- time for some feminist bashing of ‘why men dont fast for wives’? But, wait, isn’t she a South Indian? Do they have Karwachauth? Inspired by Bollywood huh?
So, as every year since my marriage 3 years ago, I had decided to keep the Karwachauth fast- with no food and water praying and waiting for the moon to rise. I must say that this festival owes its glamorous status to Bollywood and all that ‘sajan ka chehra’ songs. I have known about it only through movies. The real deal is a lot different and each household follows rules in a slightly different way. But no-I’m not here to tell you what and how it is celebrated.
Why did a modern, educated and well-travelled person like me (or many others like me) keep this patriarchal system of Karwachauth? Twitterati had a full swing party today comparing the festival to burqa too. Well, let’s steer clear from that.
To start with, well, it did keep aside a day where we would doll up (If you thought only Bollywood actresses dresses so on this day- you are gravely mistaken!) and do nothing but doll up! Wow! Now, I sure cant miss out on that fun! It’s also funny to notice how much time you actually have in-hand once you are not eating for a day. For a busy mom, it was a blessing! Can you believe I actually painted my toe nails after about a year? Motherhood you see!
Above all the Karwachauth bashing, it celebrates our free will to accept/ reject tradition. There are many who do not fast and many who do. At least most of them, do it out of their free will and belief system. Now that is a valid point! OK-for the extension of life of husband – no proofs for that. Yes, the day does celebrate the love between a couple- however young or old they are; and that to me is a beautiful reason to celebrate Karwachauth. In this busy life, any small moments to celebrate family, oneness and marriage should be cherished.
Are you celebrating Karwachauth? What was your reason?