Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Fasting and feasting

Yesterday was Karva Chauth and for the first time in my life I kept a day long fast, sans water too. And like all my friends who did not 'fast' reminded me, yes, it's not in our custom to observe the Karva Chauth fast. But I remember the first thing that ma-in-law whipped out of her suitcase, when she came visiting just after we got married. A strainer or 'chalni' as the round netted thing is called! I accepted it with all reverence. Finally the gifted 'chalni' came to use yesterday as I peered through it, first at the moon and then at hubby.

It started as a normal Sunday. I sat down with the morning paper. And then I saw the ads, trying their best to sell everything from cars to diamonds, in glory of skipped meals by wives all over the country. Gosh! Just in time!! I had always liked this custom and also wanted to do something special for the husband sometimes. Unfortunately, earlier I would only remember the day when I smacked my lips after a satisfying breakfast.

I immediately announced, "I am fasting today. Karva Chauth."Hubby almost fainted. Quickly recovering, he tried his best to convince me to do it next year."I don't like this! It's a great thought but please eat now!" His eyes were fixed on the grand Sunday breakfast spread before him. He had already had a mouthful. But he got up in a huff declaring he too wouldn't eat if I behaved like that!

"No! No! I am NOT eating if you aren't! Why don't you also eat breakfast? Then we can start the fast!"

I made him see reason. "You have already eaten a bit and had a bottle of water. You can't undo it. So eat well now and skip the other meals for the rest of the day. And anyway, it's not your fast. It's mine."

"Hmm... are you sure?"

"Absolutely. And we will have a great dinner in the night!"

"When? When? At what time??" He was more interested in knowing what time he would be getting his next meal. At one time, he even offered to show me the moon in the morning itself.

So there I was with a parched throat fending off calls from friends, who coaxed me to sip water, cause they did. Then off to meet parents at sis's place. As I entered I realised it wasn't a good idea. They were baking. Bigtime. And the aroma... was killing.

So while everybody went from one meal to another, I murdered my hunger and thirst and refused to eat. Hubby called after a meeting and said all he could think of, while sitting with his client, was food. Now there are days when he goes without lunch too, and doesn't even feel hungry . But yesterday, he was dying - his words!

As I got used to an empty stomach, I also realised the amount of food humans consume in an entire day. From little snacks to big ones, full and fuller meals. I was wondering do we really need all that or is it sheer gluttony that makes us go on and on...

Finally, the day came to an end. But the moon of course showed no signs of emerging. It got difficult to sit doing nothing. As I rolled out puris, dolled up like a lady my mother would have been proud of, hubby ran up to the terrace several times in case we missed the moon from our balcony. As it got late, we got desperate. Frantic SMSing and phone calls happened, to the far east too, in case the moon appeared there.

Then P, my friend from Pune, called. "Anumita, stopping SMSing and look at the moon! It's gorgeous!!" And sure enough, I had never seen such a magical sight. A huge orange ball was rising, in slow motion over the hills... I called out to hubs and we stood transfixed. It was a sight we'll remember for the rest of our lives. Maybe it was the ritual involved, maybe it was the much waited for moon on a special day, but the moment was bewitching and the feeling overwhelming. I wanted it all to last forever. Suddenly I was glad I was part of the fasting half of wives. I was glad to be part of this magic.


Blogger manan guju said...

your blogs are a beautiful celebration of life.. thanks for writing.

9:16 AM  

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