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.