I’ve always been fascinated by Karwa Chauth ever since I was a teenager. This is perhaps because the women in my family never observed it. But I married a pukka Punjabi-Sikh munda, Narendra Singh Lote.
I didn’t know the legends behind the festivities or the significance of the fast for a married woman but throughout my teens, I had dreamt of holding a sieve in my hand, dressed in my shaadi ka joda and looking at the moon through it.
Then an imaginary man would get me a sip of water and a piece of mithai to break my fast. I enjoyed this dream to bits.
My teenage days passed without me realising it. Soon career occupied centre stage in my life. I barely had time to breathe but the dream remained fresh in my memory forever.
September 2005: I met my husband at my place of work. Soon we graduated from being friends to man and wife. Life was never the same after our marriage.
Dream come true
Six months later, my dream came true. It was my first Karwa Chauth. Ma-in-law and I were jubilant. According to the rituals, I went shopping for suhaag ki nishanis with my husband, on the eve of Karwa Chauth.
That was my first step towards realising that this reinforced the relationship between husband and wife. We moved from shop to shop, hand-in-hand. I felt secure, loved and wanted. It was quite an ordeal to wake up at 4 am on the Karwa Chauth day because I’m not a morning person. But there I was, dressed in a red sari looking like a pukki suhagan.
The morning puja was followed by heavyduty sarghi. This was exciting except for the fact that I couldn’t eat much.
One cannot even sip water. That’s the real test. I had taken the day off from work, so I found it difficult to keep my mind off food and water. My husband returned home at 7 pm. He forced me to drink some water because I looked tired. I performed my puja and looked out for the moon.
The overcast sky irritated me but well, I had to wait. Finally we could spot the moon. I couldn’t have been happier to see the moon. Then I did something that I’d always dreamt of — the sieve, the dream man and sipping water and eating sweets.
I’d survived the day. I was at ease after that. I presented the bayna (a gift to the mother-in-law). My ma-in-law and husband presented me with a gold bracelet.
It’s my third Karwa Chauth this year. I don’t crave for water any more. But the memories of the first one will remain as fresh and special in my mind as my teenage dream.