I am typing this with henna on my hands and a smile on my face. Tomorrow is Karwachauth . This fast is observed by married women for the safety and longevity of their husbands.
In ancient times, the fast would have been followed with all the traditions and customs, However, in the current context, when the spirit of festivals has got subdued or diminished, this rigorous fast has sustained due to faith and become popular with the glamor of the Bollywood.
Here is a snippet of the Day of the Fasting at my house:
3.45 am: The alarm clock went off and I drag myself out of the bed to eat Sargi sent by my mother-in-law so that I can survive without food and water throughout the day. I stumble around near the dining table in a half-sleep state gulping some fruits and sweets at this unearthly hour. Did I forget to mention? I have to go back to sleep and wake up in the next two hours as the regular day will start off then,
6.20 am: I woke up from my deep slumber, only to realize, it is the fasting day and I feel a pit in my stomach as I will not be eating or drinking throughout the day. Seeing Mr. A sleeping peacefully next to me, I express my gratitude to God for giving me such a great soul mate.
9.30 am: Many of my colleagues have come to work and it brings a relief that there are other people like me. Ouch!! What I am seeing there is all of them are dressed up in the finest clothing, sparkling with colorful Bindis, adorning heavy makeup. I am thinking if i missed any announcement yesterday for a fashion show in the office?
10.30 am: The office boy comes with the coffee, smiles at me and goes to the next workstation. How come he knows about my fast, I wonder?? I am wearing a traditional suit with henna in my hands, probably gave him the hint.
11.15 am: I am thirsty…
2.30 pm: I am glad that my boss has allowed me to go home to perform the puja. I rush to my home to grab a nap as my head is banging without a single drop of water since morning.
3.30 pm: I can’t sleep. I want a cup of tea…
4.15 pm: We gather in the community garden where we perform the Puja, listening to mythological stories and singing songs. I am exhausted and parched.
5.00 pm: My mother-in-law calls me and tells me to have a glass of water and a cup of tea. I don’t want to break my fast, but she convinces me saying that the time has changed as we can also modify the rituals. She is concerned about my health and I really appreciate her.
5:10 pm: I reluctantly take a glass of water and make a cup of tea. Taking a deep breath and praying to God, I have the first sip of water, almost after 12 hours. Tears flow down my cheeks!! Don’t get confused, I am really happy (to be blessed with such a nice family).
9:00 pm: Mr. A has come back home with the news that the full moon has come upon us.
I am fasting for Karwachauth. Are you??