This year has been of many firsts. My first full year of living in India, my first Rakhi, Holi, Ganesh Chaturti, etc. It’s definitely been extremely special. Two days ago, was my first Kaurva Chauth. For those who are unfamiliar with Kaurva Chauth, it’s a day when the wives keep a day’s fast (no food and no water) for the husbands long life. It’s a tradition that is quite popular in the North (particularly Punjab) of India. I, being a Gujarati married to a Punjabi, have the benefit of following rituals and ways of both cultures and this is extremely exciting!!!
So let me be honest, I had been thinking about Karva Chauth for a while now, like since September. As a kid, I always saw Bollywood movies with the actresses keeping a fast for their lover, and eating only once they saw the moon. I mean, who can forget the DDLJ scene which basically immortalised Kauva Chauth? I was all excited and nervous. Why nervous? Well, it’s quite silly, I have never ever fasted for anything. Growing up, my friends always kept fasts for something or the other, I, on the other hand, was never able to keep one. So the thought of not eating anything for a day….or more importantly, not having water for a day was slightly scary. Excited, for the obvious reasons, I mean, in a way, Karva Chauth is a very sweet and romantic way to celebrate the love between a married couple. It’s a such a simple, yet unique way of cherishing the strong bond. Usually, I am not for all these lovey-dovey things, but something about Karva Chauth holds a lot of meaning for me. I think getting to dress up, learn a new ritual, etc. also makes the day more fun.
So my day started at 5:00 AM with my awesome husband cooking the Sargi (food, typically prepared by the mother-in-law, that is had before the sun rises). In addition to the traditional Feni, Sabji, Paratha and dry fruits, my Sargi included a salad and pasta! If was going to be starving the whole day, might as well eat something I LOVE! After stuffing my face, I got ready for the day ahead. Teaching (and hoping not to have to scream at kids) because part of the fast mean no water. Luckily, the kids had term exams going on, so the talking and speaking was minimal, but still I found myself thirsting for water every few minutes. Usually, I go through school without water or food, but the fact that I knew I couldn’t eat or drink, made the process harder.
After school, I got all dressed up in one the saris from my wedding trousseau and headed to a friend’s place to take part in the Karva Chauth puja (prayer). It was one the quickest and most fun prayers I have witnessed. All the ladies sit in a circle and pass a thali (plate that is decorated with dry fruits, sweets, a bit of food, diya, and water that you husband will give you to break the fast) around in a circle seven times to a traditional Karva Chauth song. The ceremony took 20 minutes at the max.
The paper said the moon would rise at 8:46 PM and I was literally counting hours till I could eat. All my friends were whatsapping me their food carvings through the day. We waited and waited, and waited a bit more. The bright orange moon finally decided to show its face at 9:30ish! It was like the moon was playing a game of hide and seek, peaking through the clouds and finally unrevealing itself. I broke my fast with water and then started the STUFF YOUR FACE part. Rice, Dal, Pasta, Vegetables, Sweet and of course, Coke Zero!
Karva Chauth was even more special than I expected it to be. Yes, it was slightly tough, but was completely worth it.