The moon and its relationship with human beings is a story of many layers.
We love the full moon night with the incandescent light enveloping our being. The light falls lightly like a bashful bride on the visage of the woman in love. The moon is poetic and the moon is celestial, like a light among the dark clouds it stays nestled in the lap of its vastness.
Yes, the moon is special for all festivities in India.
Today is Karwachauth and as a young girl in Delhi, I grew up watching the faithful wives with their blatantly unfaithful husbands, they did the Karwachauth ritual of fasting till the moon came up and then they broke their resolve of no water no food. I really felt sad for some of them. I was glad I was a Bengali during these times.
This is practised to pray for the longevity of the husband and his sexual well-being. The woman fasts to keep her reproductive system in good condition because a man’s arteries is directly linked to the groin & dumb ass me all along thought it was the unique groin and brain deep connect for the other gender. I am learning every day.
Hindu scriptures herald this practice as a “good wife” who prays and doesn’t eat till she sees his face in the moonlight and then she breaks her fast. I came from a progressive Bengali home where fasting is considered healthy to keep your metabolism in place & give your gut some rest. But to fast for husband my Baba would surely take me to see a shrink. He knows he needs to show me good fish curry and all resolve will go to hell!! So Karwachauth is also heralded as a health benefit fasting ritual for women. My only issue is that the onus of reproductive bliss again lies in the responsibility of the woman. No man is ever accountable.
Therein rises the ugly head of patriarchy and archaic systems where free thinking and questioning women will oppose a forced fasting system and the skewed reason behind it. These women are considered not so faithful and not good at all.
I hated this ritual because I can’t ever forget one evening in Lodhi Colony as a young school girl I saw these brightly dressed Lady Santas resembling a Christmas tree and ardently waiting for the damn sun to go down. And one window had shrieks of a woman being hit by her husband on Karwachauth. I swore to not ever fast for a man ever. Unless he looks like Brad Pitt, I may consider intermittent fasting but only for my own well-being.
Yes many men feel good with a pumped up ego, that the tamed creature at home actually believes her one day fasting and the moon may increase his virility, but my question is if you don’t pave the way ahead for your sons, daughters, nieces and sisters to know that the man is also accountable for your sexual well-being, you are doing a disservice to progressive thinking. This practice doesn’t treat women to feel like an equal.
Most rituals are steeped in patriarchy and the best form is religious fear to make the ignorant tow the damn line. There are mythological stories abound on this ritual. We liberals question the Burqa and the Hijab but in the same breath do Karwachauth and don’t bat an eyelid when we meet ghunghat clad red sari Santa lady in tony colonies of North India.
So I am slightly confused with Kitty ladies doing a Santa look once a year, for their husband’s well-being. Please help me find a good reason to watch the moon and break fast for a man. I suggest you instead do the intermittent fasting two times a week and keep the curves intact to enjoy life to your fullest. We can call it “har hafta pati sukh, sati sukh Yojana”