Thursday, 8 October 2009

My first Karva Chauth

Winter months approach and what makes the dwindling sunshine, the shorter days, the drooping flowers in my garden bearable is festival season. I don't think it is by accident that most of the celebrations are in the winter months. It is to cheer us up and distract us from our house arrest that all the fun festivals line up in these months. From Navarathri, Diwali, Karva Chauth, Halloween, Christmas and New Year as the flowers go away these festivals give us an excuse to put up our own decorations even as nature takes a break. My only grouse with the festival season however is all the fasting.

Each time any of the fasting festivals roll up I consider it half heartedly. With skill equaling that of insurance companies looking for loopholes in my plan I set out to look for loopholes in the fasting rituals. While they scour page after page of legal paperwork, I have it easier and submit my request to the Google God. And as it turns out the rituals are apparently better structured then our health insurance because I failed miserably in trying to find one that would keep me well fed and fasting. Perhaps the common sense laws are more effective for the common people. Anyways I digress.

So Navarathri flew past and I had done nothing apart from eat all the goodies my mil made. To top it off we went golu hopping on Saraswati Pooja day and ended up having three breakfasts all served with a sweet. I had but resigned myself to accepting defeat when along came Karva Chauth. How did I find out about this not celebrated by Tamils festival?? Husband and I relied on long distance phone calls to India for any festival type information before in laws came to visit. And now that in laws are there they multi task by reminding us, doing all the preparations for the festival and then lowering their standards for our part in it so we can meet their expectations. Well facebook of course.

So, despite having felt queasy every time yet another heroine in Hindi cinema decks up in Swarozki crystal studded lehengas, gazes with adoration at husband/ boyfriend, sips her water and then breaks out into a song I decided I would embrace this festival and fast for hubby dearest. Though in all honesty it was done for all of the family. I am not a pati vrata sthri (I like Daniel Craig too much for that) and I will not be standing between anybody and Yama mainly because if I did see Yama I would be rushing off to the nearest emergency centre to get my BP/ brain checked.

Needless to say there was no sargi since the sun rise was long gone by the time I woke up. My brain also did not awaken until I had swallowed my giant cup of tea. After which I finally awoke to realize that it was Karva Chauth and I should be fasting. So I bathed, wore some red and prayed to be forgiven for ingesting large quantities of ginger tea and set off for the vrath.

After all the drama it was relatively easy. What was hard was to be cheerful and hungry but it seemed very non spiritual to be in foul mood while fasting for your loved ones. Husband was sweet and made poori and channa and when they were made demanded I break my fast regardless of moon cos the poori was ready. I made some halwa and tried my best to perform some prayer that would not result in offending my deities.

As luck would have it, it was a cloudy day and husband and I spent a good 40 minutes after scheduled moon rise looking for the damn thing. Since the moon is not visible from our balcony I took to going out every five minutes to check. When the moon was finally visible, I hurried the husband out, sipped the water, gave the other half a hug and rushed home for a table full of food.

So my take, fasting was not bad, the praying was even better, the food was the best and I still think we have these festivals to add drama into our lives.


Balaji Shankar said...

Am not sure if the winter vs festival correlation works for India, as half the country still sees bright sun light even in December ;) Even for that so called "winter" people start feeling cozy and abandon all their little walking exercises. Shouldn't they be exercising overtime to account for the extra calories the festivals bring with them?

Another thing I have been pondering is, why don't Indian men fast for the welfare of their spouse? In Indian custom, strangely men seem to undertake rituals for their better half only when they are no more. Did googling on all these fests provide answer to my question?

stringOfPearls said...

true :) though delhi had winters. And my theory is that they need the blubber to keep the warm ;).

I did not find anything specific but I do know of many men who fast with their wives.

But I did not want to do that I am starving for you thing. I husband wore a expression full of guilt all day karva chauth and this despite me repeatedly telling him that it was for all of the family not just him.

Scribbler :) said...

You make it sound so much fun (I mean, apart from the starvation, of course).

Is there any ritual in any part of the world where the wife eats or sleeps all day (perhaps praying for her husbnad's long life with every morsel she "forces" down her oesophagus OR with every sharp snore she emits?? If you know of any...please let me know. Would love to try.

The Ketchup Girl said...

your husband made u poori and chana? pray where did u find him???! A friend rec ently said- she didn;t believe in Karwa chauth, but still loved doing it because it was oh soo romantic. methinks, romantic or not, if you husband makes pooris and chana, just do it :D

stringOfPearls said...

Scribbler - it was fun. Which surprised since I am not the fasting type.
I do not know of any festivals but if you have ever eaten marathi upvaas food I know they have it good... Give that a shot..

TKG - found him in my cublicle around 5 years ago :). I know it is NICE to have someone else around you like to cook and eat as much as me.

Anonymous said... sweet. And how sweet of your hubby to have yummy dinner ready for the moment you break your fast.

Your post almost makes me wnt to try Karva Chauth fasting. Almost :))

stringOfPearls said...

:) He gets points for making poori?? He is a sweet sweet man but dont give him too many points. He cooks wells and enjoys his food so I am betting they were made as much for him...

Meira said...

When one finds a husband who cooks, one should work hard to keep him. I think I could fast for this reason :D
Nice blog