Unlike most other festivals, which I either hate or love, Karva Chauth is a festival that evokes rather ambivalent feelings. I think it is a festival that I love to hate. I quite like the air of festivity that in any case is all pervasive in the month of October. The Karva Chauth special goes on to add to this mayhem- ladies going ballistic in the markets , mehendi on hands , plethora of small small customs (sargi) and finally decked up in all bridal fineries in the evening. Honestly I still get mehendi put on my hands even though I bid adieu to the fast years ago. Yet, as the RSS sanctioned Desi Valentine’s Day approaches every year, I’m forced to rethink the ideology time and over again.
Finally I’ve realised that what irks me about this festival the most is the hypocrisy it reeks of. When those very women, who oppose yet another manifestation of this patriarchal set up that forbids women from entering religious places during their periods , fast with a halo over their heads, it irks me ; when women who are shattering glass ceilings at work succumb to the tyranny of glass bangles only because they don’t want to rock the boat and create a controversy at home, it upsets me ;and when the very generation that spearheads movements like “pinjra tod” fasts for their boyfriends , I am truly disappointed. Of course explanations and reasons are plenty….from “it’s my choice and no one is forcing me” to “it’s a way of showing my love” to “it’s a good way to detox” but the bottom line is hypocrisy in which we Indians excel. How about an honest ” I don’t believe my husband is god incarnate but I fast nevertheless ” or “I just like the air of festivity ” or “I rather fast than become the black sheep of the family” or “I just like to pamper myself” or “I haven’t given it a thought. .I just do what’s being done” ? And while you do fast, please be sincere enough to spare the feministic rant.
Considering the all pervasive double standards and hypocrisy that we are born and brought up in , asking for some honest introspection is just asking for too much. So while “unpativrata”women like me eat , drink and make merry , let the pious and loving ones fast and may all be blessed with long happy years of companionship.