Traditionally – Married Indian women keep this fast to pray for long life of their husband and fast from sunrise until moonrise.
Last week during Karwachauth I flashbacked being at my grandma’s 11 years ago as a 18 year old as she instructed her two daughter inlaws in India on Karwachauth rituals. Bollywood movies do not stay away from glamorizing this festival either.
I have very fond memories of ladies in my family nicely decked up in their finest sarees chit chatting, applying henna, shopping and fasting while their husbands waited over them. Men cooked for the wife’s or brought their favorite food for dinner so their lovely wife would eat stomach full at the end of the night.
I think I shocked my granny that year as a rebellious teenager asking why she believed in this superstition. I never understood why only women had to do it? Can fast keep people from dying….seems like an insane logic, no..?
After the initial shock, she with a very sweet and knowing smile on her face said – This practice began during war between Hindu’s against Mughal invaders centuries ago. The men had to leave their homes for war. So the women of the community came together to pray for the safe return of their husbands and fiancés.
She further went on to explain – Please don’t call it superstition. It is a belief that when we ask something wholeheartedly, the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. You can see it as a superstition with no science backing it or you can see it as I see it – It all comes down to “Love & Dedication” for one another. Have you seen the love in the eyes of your father and your uncle for their wives? It is these small gestures for one another that keeps the marriage strong.
Fast forward to present and I was being fussed around and being fed by Ricky at the end of the day as he kept pilling food after food on my plate.
It all started a night before Karwachauth.
11:00PM – Curled up on my couch after a busy day at work I was watching Big Boss(Big Brother UK’s Indian version) and trying to convince myself that I don’t want to put henna on my hand. Oh…but I love Henna….I love everything about it. I wish I had a personal artist put one for me everyday of the year. Before I knew it I was sitting on the bedroom floor applying henna to myself.
11:45PM – Ricky wakes up due to light in the room and worriedly asks why am I sitting on the floor thinking? Jumps right out of bed realizing I am not able to put Henna on the second hand and insists to apply it for me…..he is a worst Henna artist but funnily somehow he always ends up being the one applying me henna on every Karwachauth…..and I am not allowed to give any ideas. He just draws something. This year my palm and the mirror on the wall were both reflecting our smiley faces as we couldn’t stop laughing at this silly yet the most precious design.
Is this what Granny meant when she talked about this being reflection of love and dedication? Maybe…or have I been watching too many bollywood movies.:P
5:30AM – It was time to eat delicious sargi(first meal of the day) and be done by 7:00AM before sun comes up. At 7am It was time to stop eating & drinking for the day.
9:00AM – I was driving to work and making mental note of remembering to not touch the candy bowl as I walk by the reception and avoid going by the water cooler. I had the whole day planned and ofcourse my outfit for the day was the big part of it. It had to be a nice Indian wear…. but I have so many…..It had to be something different than the usual saree or trendy n glamorous anarkali..I wanted to do a full on traditional Punjabi kudi(one of the types of Indian wear).
4:00PM – Pleasantly shocked my dad as he opened the door. He couldn’t get over the fact that I looked so Punjabi and so different. He kept saying that I need to dress this way more often. Now, that is impossible. Can you imagine the shock at my coworkers face if I walked in dressed in my bollywood avtar everyday? Mom came and rescued me from him as she was struggling with jewelry selection and needed an expert opinion :)….ufff even she loves dressing up!
On the outfit note, why is bollywood dress a Halloween costume (Bollywood Diva)in America? Seems weird….I mean imagine jean or skirt being a Halloween costume in India(and be called Hollywood Diva)….that would be too funny, no?
5:00PM Anyways, got to temple with mom in tow decked up as a Christmas tree and like every year celebrated this fun event with my mom, a dear friend Divya and other gorgeously dresses women.
After the ceremony went back to Mom’s and caught up on life with my family. I was in no hurry as Ricky has been working past midnight everyday due to a release that went horribly wrong couple weeks back and today was no exception…or so I thought.
9:00PM He came home early to make sure I didn’t wait a single minute to break my fast as soon as moon came out at 10PM. It didn’t actually come out. It never does in Seattle due to rain……Yup it knows that we have bunch of desis(Indian chics) starving and he is a VIP tonight. So every year we just imagine one hiding behind those dark clouds and break the fast by relishing over mom’s made delicious Indian food!
So does it work?
Answer is very plain and simple – NO fasting doesn’t save anyone….and NO that is not the reason I keep one.
However, prayers do get answered. I am just praying and if for any unknown reason God seems to be listening today or If Moon has some magical powers today then I want to pray a very selfish prayer.
Every single day of my life I pray to God that I want him next to me till my very last breath. When the time comes make sure it’s me first.
Having said that, no we are no special as a couple. We are a normal family. Look inside your own house and you won’t want it any different. We all fear losing our loved ones as we grow older. They say loss of your life partner hits you the hardest. You can get over death of your parents but death of a life partner especially at older age can be the most tragic times a person can go through in their lives. I have seen my grandma’s health deteriorate multiple folds after my grandfather passed away. Same with Ricky’s grandma.
Is it fear? I don’t know….. but one thing I know for sure is, it sure saves some wonderful memories if not life.
There is no need to keep Karwachauth to pray for your loved one just make sure you say “I love you enough times and make some simple yet precious memories together because that is the only thing that will last…memories..…FOREVER…