Yesterday was Karvachauth. How do I know this when I am a staunch opposer of any form of rituals? It’s not hard when you have close to 400 ‘friends’ on FB, many of whom are newly married and therefore enthusiastically celebrating the occasion with the gusto of James Faulkner against Ishant Sharma. Further, one look at the ladies at work, casually loitering around in their bridal finery in office, and you would not be allowed to forget the fact that the singlemost sexist festival is upon us.
Now I have never understood how it would enhance the lifespan of a man if his wife fasts for the day, dresses up and stares at the moon once a year, especially if the man in question continues to lead a sedentary lifestyle, smokes and drinks excessively while stressing about work. If all it took was an annual fast by the wife, then most women in India would be outlived by their husbands, especially since there is no reciprocal ritual where the husband fasts for the wife.
If you ask me, this is more a festival for the mom-in-law than the husband. Or an excuse to wear that insanely expensive bridal outfit you bought during the wedding and haven’t had the chance to wear since. Or like most rituals, an attempt to conform.
My mom never keeps a fast for my dad though she goes on a liquid diet every week to detoxify her own system. What she does make sure though is that she cooks healthy food at home, minimizes eating out, hides his cigarettes and screams at him every morning to go for a walk. Most importantly, she shares both financial and emotional responsibilities at home, she listens when he is having a hard time and supports him thick and thin.
It’s not an annual exercise but a daily rigour year after year after year, which if you ask me, is much harder simply because it involves being patient and understanding with another human being rather than looking at a far-off celestial object which doesn’t argue back.
Now, not for one moment am I suggesting that women who believe in Karva Chauth are not good partners, but being a good partner requires more than just an elaborate annual ceremony.
To all the women out there, look at the moon all you want, but do so with a pinch of salt. Posing against the moon in bridal wear makes for a wonderful Sanjay Bhansali set, but if you really want a long life for your husband, drag him out of bed for a run in the morning and hold back that extra piece of butter chicken. Even if it makes him angry.
The moon has its blemishes so don’t rely on it to add years to a human life.
The annual trip to moon is a feel-good exercise, but it’s time to get back to earth…