Editor’s Note: Karva Chauth is a part of our culture and it is good that we remain aware of the sanctity of this occasion. Our member Promilla tells us of her first Karwa Chauth. Share your experience with us here.
Technically what should be started after marriage, started after many years of it. But who cares about being politically correct in marriage? Anyway, there was nothing like Karva Chauth in our culture. But living all my life in north, near and amongst Punjabis I was aware of the sanctity of this day. So I was determined that I will observe it after my wedding. But when I mentioned it to my mom-in-law, she looked at me as if I was a joker straight running from the circus. She tried to keep a straight face but could not and started laughing. Then she told me No, we don’t do it, and there is no such need. All scenes of real life and movies flashed through my eyes and with a sad nod I forgot about it.
Now after all these years when my closest buddy all decked up came to my house on Karva Chauth, she was surprised to see me in my T and Capri.
‘What’s this? You are not ready yet?’
‘Why? Where are you going? Some wedding? At this time?’ It was around 4PM and she with all her jewelry and heavy suit I was surprised.
‘Are you crazy? It is Karva Chauth.’
Oh that’s why she was shocked to see me. I smiled and told her that I don’t observe this fast. Now she looked at me as if I was an alien. Tell you frankly I felt ashamed. Whole World..err…I mean city is keeping fast and praying for their husband’s long life, fasting, not even having a single drop of water..gulp…and there I was not doing anything and sipping my tea at leisure!! After the initial shock she gave me a lecture and I felt more ashamed. Her logic was simple when you can fast once in a week why can’t you do it once in a year? Good question..but I told her I don’t keep the fast for any religious reason and there is nothing attached to it. But being a pakki punjabhin she convinced me. My dream to keep fast for my husband was flashed again and I said ‘ok, next year I’m going to do it but you have to tell me what to do’ and with a big smile she agreed.
Next year a day before Karva Chauth she came and took me to shopping. Bangles, Bindi, and Henna were put on my both hands and feet. After marriage this was the first time I was putting henna on my feet and full hands. Then she made me buy Matthi, Fenni and some sweets and with lots of do’s and not to do’s she left. I liked everything about that but the most difficult part at that moment I felt was getting up at 4AM!! And eating!! No way…I run at the sight of food even at 10am and there I was expected to eat all that stuff at that hour!
I called her around 11.30 PM and asked to repeat the instructions.
‘Get up at 4, or wait. I will give you a call, and then have bath, wash your hair, wear lipstick( at 4AM!!!), bindi, bangles, and wear something red! Then do pooja and eat some sargi’
‘What is sargi? And what I am supposed to eat at 4AM?’
‘Eat matthi, fenni in milk. Make some paranthas, sabji and tea.’ I was almost nauseated.
‘What if I don’t eat all this?’
‘Then eat whatever you like. Happy Karva Chauth.’
‘Same to you.’
And next day at 4 AM I got her call and I started following instructions. When I saw my face in mirror I was laughing ..me decked up at 4.30!!! Hubby was awake too with the hustle bustle and was gasping at me. I was expecting a lecture, why you doing this n all but I was surprised. He seemed excited and happy and lo…serious.
He made tea for me and that was another surprise. Kitchen and he are enemies. But I had a great cup of tea in the wee hours of that cool morning and I felt connected. It was a different kind of romance. He was caring and loving and pampering me. I really felt good. I had a full bottle of water and we slept again.
The day passed kids fussing around. Daughter did her first course of make up on me that day! Son was hiding behind d doors so that I could not see him drinking water. I loved his logic when I asked why he was doing that…’if you see water you will feel thirsty!’ Sweetheart na!
And that day hubby came early and was on terrace with kids looking for moon. And when they saw it…Omg!! Whole house was filled with their screams.
‘Mama moon nikal gaya, jaldi aao. ‘
Daughter ran with the glass of water and gave it to her dad.
‘Papa, keep it handy you have to make her drink it after pooja.’
I looked at her, she was 12 and knew about this? Must be movies and friends. This is how our children learn the culture and values. This is how they follow them one fine day when they start their lives. No wonder she will do the same after her wedding. Son was jumping here n there with excitement and then I saw him hiding something in his hands, it was a piece of Burfi which he wanted to put into my mouth after pooja!
Finally after giving Ark to moon, I touched his feet. Even this is not our culture but he hugged me and I hugged kids. Then had the soggy piece of Burfi from son’s hands. Fast was over, I drank water from his hands and with some beautiful memories this culture entered our lives too.
What I found best thing about this is that these are the little bindings which work like fevicol in lives to tie strongly threads of relations. These festivals bring togetherness and joy and join families as one. They teach us about sharing and caring for each other and above all they give a reason to celebrate the otherwise mundane life.