So are you fasting for Karwa Chauth tomorrow?

Brought up, as I was, on a steady diet of Hindi films, all with the mandatory inclusion of the good wife fasting for Karwa Chauth, I entered married life with much trepidation. Expecting me to fast was to look into the sky hoping to count the pigs flying at Quidditch speed there. And secondly, fasting for the health and longevity and such like of the husband was acceptable only if he would consent to return the favour. Which of course, he would not. Therefore, I never ever kept the Karwa Chauth fast. Call it laziness. Call it gluttony. Call it the lack of pressure from the dear mother in law who knew the limits of my ability to be held back from food and my dislike for getting myself into shiny new clothes and lots of jewellery.

The thought of wearing clothes equivalent to my body weight, weighed down as they are with kilos of sequins and embroidery is scary. Added to this weight is the jewellery which one has to dig out from the locker, where it rusts away peacefully all through the year, undisturbed except for the rare occasions when weddings in the family compel you to go open said locker, fight with the alien life forms growing within and wrest out your boxes and flee for your life. Plus the full scale make up, hair sindoor, mehndi and such like. Plus not eat during the entire process, which includes dressing up all by oneself, without even someone to help drape the damn kilo heavy saree. I would need a box of chocolates to survive this on a good day. And to get through without food or liquid would be akin to me opting for euthanasia.

Therefore, when the women in the building complex I live got all fluttery and panicky because they had a)not got themselves three new outfits to be worn through the day for Karwa Chauth b)not booked the mehndi walli for said mehndi to be applied on hands and feet and c)basically not done anything of relevance to make the festival pass by peacefully, I smirked sardonically, smug in the knowledge that I would not be the one with my tongue hanging out, halluncinating about the Bikaji Maharaja Thali being fed to me by muscled hunks in loin cloths. You know. Or muscled hubby with or without loin cloth. You get my drift.

The husband thankfully, does not insist I inflict such torture on myself for his wellbeing. He is a good husband. He knows I love him and dont need to starve myself to prove it. Or maybe it is the fact that he knows I am capable of biting heads off when in starvation mode. Or maybe it is sheer self preservation. He knows his wife. And can foresee that he would be roped in to fast for my longevity too, and that would be a scary prospect for any husband eking out current years of single wife misery, counting on a rocking post retirement second marriage with a nubile nymphet type consequent to yours truly croaking herself to an early grave.

But the practice is a beautiful one, symbolic as it is of a woman’s ability to ensure for the wellbeing for her spouse and her family. I endure snoring through the night. That is my level of endurance and tolerance. I endure unmentionable bodily sounds. I endure said spouse vegetating in front of the television for three days continuously during long weekends without insisting I be taken out and entertained. I have a lot of endurance. But it is of a different cadre.  When it comes to food and being fed I have zilch endurance. To keep my spirits up, and to end my self flagellation over not being a good wife, I decided to list out why I am a good wife.

1] I never say no. I never have a headache. I am never too tired.

Repeat 100 times.

Therefore I am the best wife the spouse could get in this life or the next. QED.

And he doesnt have to buy me any jewellery for Karwa Chauth. What more could he wish for.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published nine books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016), psychological thriller with Missing, Presumed Dead (2018) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. In 2018, she was awarded the International Women's Day award for literary excellence by ICUNR and Ministry of Women and Children, Government of India. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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51 Responses to So are you fasting for Karwa Chauth tomorrow?

  1. Rohini says:

    QED indeed. Which man in his right mind would want a day of starvation in lieu of that 🙂


  2. Ruchira says:

    hilarious post ! I hate dressing up too !!
    At work married females have already got mehndi on – some till almost elbows – and tmr they are going to look like xmas trees all decked up and glittering with jewels – I wonder how they manage to do any work !! 🙂


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  4. Ms. Tic says:

    Hahaha! I think your husband prefers your current set of offerings to self imposed starvation for you both 😀


  5. Homecooked says:

    LOL…you truly are the best wife 🙂


  6. Suki says:


    You rock, Aunty K!


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  8. Aathira says:

    This is the first time I am going to keep it 🙂 since I am engaged and I am expected to!

    I am taking it to be one bog dieting experience… and clothes and shopping.. I never say NO to 😉

    I do not have many suits/ sarees so I think initial years I shall keep it to add to my wardrobe;)


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  10. Ron says:

    Good god is it Karva Chauth tomorrow? My mother in law did politely let me know that it would be nice if I observed this. And I did, they first year. Was awful. Since then we have been in two different parts of the world this time of the year. Therefore I tell her that yes of course Im observing Karva Chauth… while chomping on tandoori chicken or such like. In the years to come, I shall ensure we are never in the same city at this time of the year. The Boy doesnt care one way or another. Everyone is happy. Dishonest yes..but what to do, saying no to her involves looooooooong discussions and justifications and I do not have the energy for that.


  11. Meira says:

    People have been biting my head demanding that I keep the fast as it’s my ‘first after marriage’. I have now run out of creative retorts and have resorted to ignoring these nosey parkers and digging into my potato chips.
    You are now my mentor in being a good wife 😛


  12. shilpadesh says:

    A lifetime of no no’s is all worth it!


  13. sands says:

    I do keep this fast along with husband but we tend to celebrate it more like Valentine’s day. Instead of reading the katha that is traditional read, we go through our wedding album and the pictures from dating days, its so much fun!! The whole day is spent laughing, sharing jokes and talking about carefree yesteryears 🙂


  14. Sands says:

    You are the best wife indeed 😉 The only way I could starve is if involved some personal motivation like weight loss and cleansing the body. The OH knows in many other ways that I love him. Thankfully that is one tradition we don’t have in the midst of 16,000 others that we do…


  15. Anamika says:

    You are the best indeed 😀

    No offense to anyone but I dont like this particular festival at all. If both were fasting,there is some merit to it. Otherwise its bribing a woman with new clothes and jewelry and then putting her through torture. Not cool.


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Anamika: I read an interesting editorial in the TOI today about fasting being a way of women in India to get their husbands indebted to them, being so deprived of power as they are in the traditional patriarchal set up.


  16. choxbox says:

    To answer your Q: NO WAY!


  17. CA says:

    You ARE the BEST wife and I am sure your husband agrees 😉


  18. Nova says:

    I am planning to keep it… Its my first time and m super excited 😀


  19. suma says:


    yes, you are a good wife 😀


  20. sscribbles says:

    since both of us fast for each other I feel motivated enough. Honestly, I fast to just keep alive the traditions and the bonus part involves some detox and test of willpower and endurance levels.


    • Kiran Manral says:

      sscribbles: That is fair. That is my kind of fasting for the spouse. We, the spouse and I, did the nine days of navratri together. It was bonding over sabudana khichdi, I must say. And I lost 3 kgs.


  21. Lakshmi says:

    Well, our Karva Chauth was yesterday, and I did keep a fast. Wore a saree to work. Without any jewelery except for earrings, and put mehendi, by myself on the left hand. As luck would have it, had double the amount of meetings to attend and work to do, but left at a good enough time, picked up Chinni, fed her dinner, waited for husband, waited for the chaand, and had dinner at 11. Which consisted of 3 dosas ( that’s what we do, dosas symbolify the chaand or something) and am still alive to talk about it. Done this for the third time (didn’t do it last year coz Chinni was too small. You know why I did it? Coz Pawan fasted too. And ate AFTER me. That man takes my heart away 🙂


  22. Bhavna says:


    Since I cnsider myself an emancipated woman , I hated the idea initially and always protested and resented my Dad for making my Mom do it. Married to a tamilian, there was no pressure from the in laws but Mom ( sigh!) guilt tripped me into it. Now I like doing it, the daughter puts mehendi on my behalf and I attend work so that I am not constantly pestered by hunger. But at one time, I would do all of the above- dress up, look nice etc etc.The hubby would sweetly keep the fast with me ( with required doses of coffee). But now I just do it..coz I like too ( esp all the laddoos at night!).

    and the meethi mathi and the ghee floating in the dal makhani and the white rice and the mathi achaar and the …u get the drift???


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Bhavna: Its not the emancipation bit, I mean I do some amount of fasting. I’m an old fuddy duddy. I did navratris, I do occasionally fast on other occasions. But those are fasts I do for myself. (mostly fuelled by need for spot reduction, I must confess). Why I dont do Karwa Chauth is primarily the premise, I fast for husband’s longevity. I love my husband more than myself. Why should I do all this to prove my love for him. And it should be reciprocal, he needs also to fast for my longevity. Right?


  23. Orange Jammies says:

    K, could you point me to that Times editorial? As alarming as the gist sounds, it also rings very true. I always thought KC was one of those Hindi movie dramas, having never known anybody who did it, but the Boy pointed out Hindu women actually do it and it isn’t so uncommon. Me, I supped on chicken dhansak. And went back for seconds.


  24. Pratik says:

    Good for you! I am totally against this festival in terms of its modern day practicality. My wife works full time as do I. Probably (and I admit), she puts in more at home than I do. We have young kids. So we are exhausted at the end of the day. Now, to expect that on top of this that my wife should fast would be inconsiderate (and to ask me to fast as well, if she does–a la DDLJ– would be living in a fool’s paradise because I can’t give up food…messes up my system, headaches, etc etc). So I propose that on karwa chauth both my wife and I should go out for a nice dinner and stuff our faces (leave the kids behind, of course)–while everyone is having a hissy fit about what to wear and whether the moon is put or not, while at the same time just about to pass out from hunger– and have a nice romantic evening instead: an evening which is not an anniversary or a birthday, just a day where we can catch our breath from our daily responsibilities and catch up with each other! I think that some festivals need to evolve with out new societal demands and family structures and karwa chauth is a perfect example (or one can evolve them for one’s self because after all a festival is all about what it means to you and for me it means neighter of us starve if we don’t need to!)…I even tried to get my mom to opt out of it and in fact she had no interest in it either, but sadly she said that she was doing it onyl for fear of what the neighbors would say if she didn’t!!!! Ouff!


  25. Shobana says:

    I wasn’t aware of such a custom till the day of when I saw a couple of my Indian neighbors all decked up and mehendi-d (and driving like maniacs to the school and back with one arm). I stopped one of them and talked to her about it, and it just irked me, when she looked at me down her nose, when I said that I don’t fast. Too much peer pressure man these days…no one is spared.


  26. You are so getting the Best Wife Award of the Century!

    Me? Let me put it this way, sleep is my sex.


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