Dear Mrs Kumar or Ms Khanna or Ms Bhatia (er never mind, I'm sure you have a take ready on how women should not change their surnames post marriage, keeping in mind their individuality and stuff. How regressive!)
I was 'amused' to read your take on Karvachauth, for the lack of any better word to summarise my feelings after having read your lines and also whatever lay in between them. It is amazing how independent and rational thinking we can prove ourselves to be, with the mere power of our pen. And how pretty darned chuffed dear Akshay must be, with the knowledge of you having a good action plan chalked out in case the poor man gets tapko-fied by a freak accident, performing one of his dare devil stunts! Little does the hunk know, he has a dare Devi at home, much better attuned to facing the terrible atrocities that fate may have in store for her as a wife. No, don't get me wrong. It's wise to preempt tragedy that may befall, to the minutest detail. You must increase that life insurance claim too baby, just to be more foolproof. Don't trust these silly fast stories. We need more concrete proof than what history or Google can oblige us with.
Quoting madam's subtle lambasting of the silly tradition for lengthening the poor man's life "the unfortunate circumstance of your spouse’s demise merely frees you up to place ads in the matrimonial column, go on online dating sites and feverishly attend bar nights, the zeal for such taxing endeavours seems a bit extreme . . ." Aww. Mommy must be so proud! How very wonderfully far sighted are we, Twinky! Almost tempting the gods up there to give the good woman her much sighed for freedom.
Go on, exercise your choices, woman. Eat during the fast and let god's wrath fall upon that puny soul of your husband. Better than having to eat your words later. Tell you what, keep a box of chocolates (better still, diet chocolates) in your closet the previous day. And before adorning the paraphernalia in the evening for the Karvachauth thaali puja, gulp down a handful just to prove the bloody historians and religious goons wrong. Go on baby, why suffer when you can feast, though privately of course. Shh, not a soul should know and we'll zip our mouths and keep within your secrets like you gulp down your saliva in self pity or the wallow of not being able to shampoo that one day. I mean just imagine all those pretty, traditional dressing up photos without gorgeous, flowing tresses! Tch!
I could understand a woman from the ordinary class cribbing about having to go hungry and thirsty all day after (like me perhaps) having to get up early morning, wake up the whining child that hates her for doing so, pack his tiffin, send him to school, rush off to work herself, return and pick the child back from school, spend hours on getting chores done for him and go about putting the house in order till it's time to slog with his homework then drop the child to activity camps and go to gym and blah blah (Yes, yes I have a tough life. Don't go all "Tch!" Not to mention, also click selfies in between and upload fat arsed Facebook statuses like this one)
But then madam it's cute to hear your dukh bhari daastaan about getting up at 'bat and owl hours' of 5 am; for isn't that the "unearthly hour" around which most "infamous Bollywood parties" end? Aww. (Stop turning me into an aww machine, will ya?)
And your concern for the poor pet tortoise showing how you care for the animals, took my heart away. Now will somebody give you the philanthropic or humanity award already please? Pretty please! (P.S. Mrs Tortoise is very jealous of your overtly flowing affections. She's decided to keep a fast too from next year)
But then again, perhaps I am not the best person to judge here, not having gone through the rigmarole of a day spent in extreme hunger and thirst. We as wives in our family through generations, do not exercise Karvachauth in its rigid traditional avtaar. We begin fasting from 5 in the evening after the thaali puja till 8.30pm, when the moon whimsically though generously appears. So we get to dress up, observe the customs for about four hours, not wake up in the wee hours of dawn, eat our guts out in lunch and dinner, get money and all that jazz in gifts and yet be branded as wonderful wives that husbands adore through their long lives. Piece of cake, isn't it? (So stop this open letter already, you bitch - you might be saying)
The idea here is, each one to his own self. Either do things with respect or be self respecting enough to not do what you don't believe in, only to condemn and strip it apart eventually. Nobody is stopping you from sipping your "scotch on rocks" baby but then having a sip of water from the hand of your husband with glowing smiles on your faces, possesses a fairy tale-ish charm of it's own. Let us live the Karan-Johar-on-screen-lives no, for a few hours? Wish we all also had the luxury and money to do it generally, throughout the day, every day. Sigh!
Besides in most educated households, I find mothers-in-law insisting on the bahus to have cold coffee and fruits at least in the evening. Belonging to a small town and yet to come across a saas that would say "Observe the Karvachauth warna hamare naak kat jaayege"
We do something because we chose to do it. Not because we want to please someone. For honestly, there are countless things we still do, without caring if it pleases the same others or not. I fail to understand how criticising old customs makes us more liberated. I haven't been to a temple in months. I don't believe in deities residing only in a particular compound. I can close my eyes and connect. Yet I see no need why I should dissuade someone who does it everyday with utmost faith and hope. Why take away a bit of pleasure that he derives from his make belief? And having said that, I'd be the first to jump with immeasurable delight if you were to take me to Vaishnodevi anytime. Double standards you'd say? Naah, just bending around the ideas to imbibe what I chose to as mine, move along the paths that give me comfort, pleasure and the satisfaction of doing something worth while.
I absolutely love the idea of Karvachauth. That one day when we don't eat for a few hours and use it to emotionally blackmail the dear husbands. That one day we show we want to do something special to please the special man in our life, akin to buying new lingerie for some or preparing a sumptuous meal for another or maybe buying the latest iphone for him for someone like you. Just one of the many inexpensive yet effective ways in which we would like to show we care. Not because we "have to" but because we want to.
This one day I get my husband to come early and we get to spend a few precious minutes on the terrace by ourselves in the moonlight. The idea that he gets a chocolate each year only today, to lovingly put in my mouth while I bend down to touch his feet(only today again), with the dangling mangalsutra in my neck that sees daylight just on this one day through the year! If we go around looking for a point in everything, then we'd soon be a nation without festivals, culture or heritage. What's the point of celebrating Diwali or Holi? Why burn the poor Ravana? Why save historical monuments? What's the point of getting married at all?
While looking for points, maybe we're crossing too many lines? Anyway, all I know is that there's some magic in that embrace under the moonlight after you've looked at his face through the "channi". It kind of eases some of the creases that may be appearing in your monotonous day to day lives as a couple. There's a glow on a woman's face that she derives from the strength of having done something tough. There's pride on a man's face when he watches the wife all dressed up for him whether or not she keeps that blessed fast. For it's his day. Like Mother's Day, Children's Day, Valentine's Day maybe. Let the poor man enjoy it, for the rest of the days, he anyways doesn't have a say.
Wishing a long life to all husbands and wives and strength to the Population Control Board.