The ‘fast’ and the furious

Deccan Chronicle.  | Sean Colin Young

Entertainment, Bollywood

This Karva Chauth was different for Delhiites for many reasons, and the chand appearing late was just one of them.

A still from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

There is no point of keeping it down as we know all about last night — relax, it was Karva Chauth. Once the moon rose (late), pati parmeshwars across the capital helped their biwis #No1 break their fasts. Aww, how sweet… or, was it?

Sure, there many married women who go all out to make this auspicious day even more special by getting mehendi put, wearing glitzy bangles and, to top it off, putting on beautiful red sarees. However, a lot of them have expressed their aversion to the tradition because they consider it patriarchal and outdated.

Medical transcriptionist Charu Sharma celebrated her first Karva Chauth and she could not contain her excitement. She says, “As it celebrates the bond of love and marriage, I wanted to follow it to the fullest. We have always seen our mothers fast diligently for the safety and long life of their husband and, having been brought up in the same atmosphere, I have imbibed those values and practices.”

More than that, it is the tangible aspects of the festival that excite Sharma. She reveals, “I like to dress up like a newlywed bride with solah shringar, be it jewellery, mehendi, sindoor, etc.”

On the other hand, Rashmi Priyam has been keeping the Karva Chauth fast for about a decade now. Besides praying for her husband’s long life, she expresses her gratitude to him for being a ‘rock in her life’ and ‘taking care of her children and the family’. She opines, “I don’t mind dedicating a day for him by fasting. I don’t feel that keeping doing this makes me less of a feminist or modern person.”

Some people might argue and say this concept is regressive, but not Rashmi, who says “It is sometimes nice to woo your husband by decking up, and you enjoy all the pampering that you get in return. No one forces us to keep the fast. I fast whenever I want to and sometimes I feel it also helps me with my fitness regimen.”

Conversely, Kasturi Nath, a corporate professional, feels that Karva Chauth is “no doubt a cultural explanation for Indian women’s fixation on their husbands’ long lives, in a country where women are brutally raped, burned and abused.”

She continues, “It has become a fashion statement for people today because of the way Karva Chauth is celebrated in TV soaps, movies and even by marketing companies. Apart from this, it can be dangerous and may lead to hypertension, gestational diabetes and other complications among women.” She then begs the questions, “Why do women need to put their husband even above their health? Why is the longevity of a woman’s life ignored, even though she is the true pillar of the familial unit?”