Karvachauth Kyun? – Bhavana’s Reasons Are All Heart

So in the wake of the #metoo movement in India, I have felt pain, helplessness and rage like never before.  How far will they push women till we just can’t take it anymore? Anyway, in all this pent up anger, I have been questioning why do we North Indian women even keep this fast?! None of our men are out at war. In fact, these days, it’s we women out at war, with society, it’s baseless rules and sometimes with ourselves for having taken the shit we were subjected to! What am I going to tell my girls about our hypocritical society when they come of age?!
So while I am getting my pedicure done, I am really breaking this down for myself! To begin with, yes, I am a North Indian woman, but not Punjabi. I was brought up by very strong liberal parents who told me I could fly as high as I wanted. Yes every now and then, they reminded me I am a girl and unfortunately had some restrictions only because the society was sexist. Hmm… But then I pretty much did everything my heart desired, whether it was working in an ad agency or going to the US to pursue a design degree or choosing to marry my very Punjabi husband.
image: wikimedia

Having married into an NRI Punjabi family, I learnt the differences very quickly. My very first Indian festival in NYC came with its baggage of being a Bhartiya Nari. Wow, people in Long Island had not caught up with the times or changing India! (This was 18 years ago and a lot has changed since then, thankfully). I don’t think back then I was given a choice of whether I would keep the Karva Chauth fast! But a few years went by and over time I realized I enjoyed keeping up with the tradition. I didn’t conform to any particular rules around the fast, but what I have done over time, is understood why I keep it.  Somebody recently told me integrity is when you are alone and perform without any pressures of “you have to”!

  • I keep the KArva Chauth fast because I believe in tradition. I believe in the value of prayer and intention. For years women prayed on this auspicious night And I believe in its collective energy. I believe it will eventually bring out the good in all of us, the keeper of the fast and the recipient. Perhaps even make us all introspect a bit. Which is like winning a battle. Yes I detox that day and I dry fast, but then, these nutritionists seem to be raving about it recently. So it’s a win-win.
  • I do it for my partner in crime to show my support and solidarity to him. It’s one night in the year that I do send out a heartfelt prayer for our relationship and our future together.
  • Now, this is the most important reason why I keep the fast. I do it for my Mother-in-law and Sister-in-law and their excitement and belief in the tradition. I do not do it to be one with them, in fact, for years they have felt I don’t do it the right way! But I still do my version, out of respect. It’s respect towards my elders, my family and their joy! Yes, I can challenge the tradition and my husband would totally support me in it, but here I am telling my daughters, that somethings in our religion are beyond logical reason. It’s done for faith and belief and it’s a way of keeping us all together and celebrating, whatever form that might be!

– Bhavana Phul

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