Today many women in the city will be going without food. “In Karva Chauth, I observe a fast for my husband’s longevity,” says Anita Jain, a financial analyst. “I’ll wait till the moon appears, and only then will I eat.” Karva Chauth is a festival observed mostly in north India.
“We Assamese don’t celebrate any such festival,” says Shyamalima Kakati, a Guwahati-born freelance illustrator, who has been living in Delhi for seven years. “On this day, I do like to visit my neighbours, who dress up in beautiful saris and apply mehndi on their palms.”
Till a few decades ago, Karva Chauth was not celebrated in large parts of Uttar Pradesh, north India’s biggest state. “I don’t think my mother or my aunts were aware of this festival,” says Kshetra Pal Singh, a civil engineer, “but when I married 42 years ago, my wife observed the Karva Chauth fast for me.”
Film critic Anupama Chopra credits Bollywood blockbuster
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
(DDLJ) for the Karva Chauti-fixation of the society. “It became a pan-Indian thing after DDLJ. In the movie, Kajol fasts for her beau Shah Rukh Khan, and she later learns that he too hadn’t eaten for her sake. This scene made an impression on millions of women in the country. “Karan picked up from there,” Chopra says, referring to film director Karan Johar’s later melodramas. “And then Karva Chauth became filmy. Till 15 years ago, it was a family event. Now, I get invites to Karva Chauth parties.”
For Singh's wife, it will still be a cozy family meal. Tonight, she will make
. But don’t the women get hunger pangs during the day? “Anything for my love,” says Meenakshi Fernandes, who is fasting for her boyfriend. “I will definitely smoke a cigarette or two though.”