Karva Chauth symbolises love between husband and wife. Celebrated in north Indian states, Gujarat and Rajasthan, the festival has unconfirmed origins.
Women display vibrant enthusiasm as they deck up with bright clothes and choicest jewellery and fast the whole day without food and water for a long life of their husbands. The festival considered to be a sacrifice by the better halves turns out to be challenge of sorts for the menfolk.
Starting with elaborate shopping, preparing the sargi (special meal to be had before dawn) for the wives, facilitating uninterrupted TV viewing the whole day, a gift for the wife as a mark of thanksgiving, and last but not the least, spotting the moon at the earliest for the starving wife to gorge on the special meal.
I am reminded of this particular Karva Chauth which left us in a tizzy. We were at Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu during early 90s. This hill station is known for an uncertain weather, an unannounced cloud cover and accompanying haze, making it nearly impossible to sight a timely moon. Even the local gods there, it seems, are oblivious to this critical requirement of the north Indian brides.
Thankfully, the newly introduced news channels had started an update service on the progress of moon appearance for the benefit of famished womenfolk. The women had resigned to this hi-tech way of viewing the moon on the TV, leaving us husbands a relieved lot.
Our maid was considered an expert in preparing Karva Chauth delicacies. Some friends with their fasting better halves had got together at our house in the evening. The feast was to follow the sighting of the moon. As expected, a thick cloud cover dampened our spirits as we sat in the balcony of our top-floor quarters, facing the direction from where the brightness was to erupt.
Not to lose hope, we switched on the TV, where the newsreader was talking about the festival and interviewing some women. Everything was going fine when the power shutdown brought us to our knees. The wives would have none of that and commanded a way out. With no mobiles and a dysfunctional ‘community landline’ nearby, even telephonic feedback from the north was difficult.
Time was running out till one of us pulled out the day’s newspaper and read out the weather forecast, “The moon will rise at 8.12pm” and announced the appearance of the moon half an hour back. Thus, ended our agony and commenced the much-awaited party.
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