The Karwa Chauth festival is as exhilarating for the Suhagans who have matured, greyed and wrinkled, as it is for newlywed brides … if not more! The exhilaration of wearing maang mein sindoor, bindi, mehendi, kaanch ki choodiyaan, replete with saree, sargi and Pooja ki thali, always brings colour to a woman’s cheeks!
Over the years, having offered Aarti and Arg (water) from a Karwa (earthenware pot) to the Moon on the Chauth (fourth day) of Krishna Paksh, in the Kartik month, we mature, and so does our relationship with our spouse. It is a relationship that has to be nurtured with patience and love. Come to think of it, there is no blood relation with the husband, but this relationship is very powerful. It is a relationship that starts with the Pheras and the Sapt-Padi. It starts with starry dreams, that are coupled with hiccups, punctuated with doubts, sharp edges, ego-hassles, and the fear of the unknown. Many adjustments have to be made before a sense of comfort sets in and makes a woman feel that her new house, is now her home.
Karwa Chauth is the day when a woman gets to re-live her wedding day and has the liberty to dress up as a bride, year after year. Fasting on Karwa Chauth surely prods the husband to pamper the wife. Having feasted on Sargi at dawn, a woman may not really be hungry or thirsty but it’s a great feeling when the husband asks, “Are you thirsty?” Perhaps God made women’s hearts out of butter. They melt at the slightest warmth.
Women are referred to as the better-half of men or as the fairer-sex. The men shoulder so many responsibilities that I sometimes wonder why women demand equality. I love being the better-half!
Our scriptures say that if a man commits a sin, his wife does not partake of the sin. But if a woman commits a sin, half of its liability is borne by the husband. Conversely, if the wife performs good deeds, the husband gets no credit. But if the husband performs good deeds, the wife gets half their credit. We are indeed privileged!
God made men and women differently for a purpose. For God’s creation to continue, children have to be born. In an organised society, marriage is the respectable way of begetting children.
Let us maintain what our Vedas have laid down. Marriage is the sacrosanct union of a man and a woman. In our culture, the wife is referred to as Dharam Patni (one who has a sacred stature, being the lawfully wedded wife) or Greh-Lakshmi (Goddess of the house). She has a long list of rights as well as duties.
I hope that women who believe that marriage is a beautiful and sanctimonious relationship in which both spouses value each other, shall keep alive the tradition of fasting on Karwa Chauth with aplomb, because they value their husband’s presence in their lives.
The Karwa Chauth festival is a time to celebrate the value of marital bliss. My father often said that the pins and needles in the famous Karwa Chauth story of Veerawati, are really the pins and needles of hurtful words said to each other. The festival is a reminder to rise above petty things and cherish and value this beautiful bond of love.
(This piece has been published in the HT on 20.10.2023. It can be viewed here https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/sunrays-the-exhilaration-of-karwa-chauth-101698522882525.html)
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