Karva Chauth is the most sacred ritual Indian women observe with sanctity. Gone are the days when it was celebrated in a simple manner. Today, times have changed, and there is a lot of glamour attached to it. A number of decorated shops come up days ahead of the festival.
In the past, the occasion gave women a break from the daily chores. Now it has become a mode for a wife to express her love for her man. It has assumed the proportions of a truly social and religious festival and indicates a woman's devotion to her husband.
I vividly remember my wife's first Karva Chauth at our village home in 1971. As we would often dine together, I feared the hunger pangs my young bride would feel, and decided that I would also observe the fast.
My parents, especially my father, made fun of me. I sent an application to my college principal, requesting him for a day off for the festival. In keeping with the custom, the information was put up on the notice board saying I was on leave on account of my first Karva Chauth.
Word spread in the college and the staff had a nice time at my expense. The news also reached the families of my students. While I was consoling my young wife at home, I had no idea that my revolutionary step had amused so many people.
I went to the college next day, blissfully unaware of the consequences of my brave confession in my leave application. What greeted me was the gatekeeper's blushing 'good morning' to me. I had never seen the old man with a long moustache so happy. Even when my students wished me, they had that amusing look in their eyes.
At the entrance to the staff room, one of my colleagues had a hearty laugh as he hugged me, saying, "I appreciate the resolve you showed yesterday." When I asked him what did he mean, and before he could reply, another senior colleague said, "Well done, my boy, you are a hero. I am sure you will soon do us proud. Did you wear the bangles too?" His sarcasm was not lost on me.
Today, times have changed. Many husbands are becoming sensitive to the travails of their wives. If observing the fast by a woman can prolong the life of her husband, why can't a man observing it add years to his wife's life?
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