"I believe in Karva Chauth, but do not keep the fast because..."
Every time anybody asks me what I would be wearing on Karva Chauth or how I plan to break the fast I just politely tell them that I do not fast. This is never an easy situation as women look at me accusingly
It is that time of the year again when everyone from my in-laws to relatives and neighbours will begin passing on snide remarks to me because I do not practice the Karva Chauth fast.
Every time anybody asks me what I would be wearing on Karva Chauth or how I plan to break the fast I just politely tell them that I do not fast. This is never an easy situation as women look at me accusingly and make me believe as if I am committing the biggest crime on earth.
My in-laws are particularly enraged and the days preceding Karva Chauth are always full of my mother-in-law giving me graphic details on what she and her daughters are doing for the day. I understand this is a warped comment on me but I respect her sentiment and maybe one day she will understand mine too.
I come from a fairly religious family
Before you all get me wrong let me begin by telling you that I come from a devout family where all religious customs are performed with utmost devotion. In my 32 years of life, I have never seen my mum miss a single Karva Chauth fast coupled with various other fasts and rituals she observes for her children and husband.
Now why I chose the divergent route has been a totally individual decision from my end, which left my mother upset, and my mother in law enraged. My husband though understanding sometimes does tell me to just pretend in front of his mother that I am fasting to ease out the situation.
But I have put my foot down, as I do not want to start a web of lies. My husband with whom I had a love marriage is aware of my decision even before we got married and he had no major problems.
It has been my decision
While many people have felt outraged, confused even offended by my decision to not observe Karva Chauth, very few know the real reason behind it. Today I am sharing it with you all just to take this burden off my chest and also to take a perspective on what other women in my situation would have done.
I had a very troubled childhood. My dad was an alcoholic who never ever gave my mum the respect she deserved in the house. Shouting and raising a hand on my mum was something dad never thought twice about.
My mum, an uneducated woman from a poor family had no courage to rise against this bad marriage and terrified of her fate would spend long days praying to the God to bring peace in her house.
The day that changed my life
My mother religiously kept the Karva Chauth fast hoping her dedication would transform my dad. But he seldom ever bothered to be home for my mother to help her break her fast. One Karva Chauth that is inked in my memory is particularly painful to recall.
My mother followed her yearly ritual and dressed in her only Banarasi sari hoping against hope that dad would come home on time that day. Unexpectedly that day dad did come home but only to announce that he was leaving us all to be with her mistress.
That day on Karva Chauth he left my mother crying and sobbing with no financial or emotional support. Something inside me made me swear then and there that if ever I get married I would never fast for a man because there is no guarantee that by fasting you get status and love that you deserve. I told myself that if any man would love me he should not expect me to treat him like God.
I know many people may not agree with my view but because of the emotional upheaval, I saw during my childhood it left me scarred for life. It led me to believe that sometimes fasting or praying for someone is either not enough or simply not worth it.
My husband is everything for me
I love my husband dearly and would happily and would surely die for him if the need be without even sparing a thought but still I do not want to prove my love for him by any external rituals. My mum followed it all but got nothing in return, she still fasts as she says she a married woman and she feels it’s the right thing to do. I differ, but then we are two individuals who are free to follow their hearts.
All I would say on Karva Chauth is that all you women who would be dressed in fineries and would exchange those beautiful thalis if ever you see someone like me observing you all from a distance do not judge her. She may have reasons totally unknown to you.