thedelhibells: First Karva Chauth

If you’re new to the blog, start reading thedelhibells series from here. This is post #12.

thedelhibells first karva chauth

I know, I know. You are expecting the Honeymoon post. I began writing this with the title “thedelhibells: Honeymoon” but the story of the first 48 hours of our honeymoon is so intimately tied up with Karva Chauth, that I can’t possibly talk about it without mentioning this first. You know me, I must give you ALL the details and so – here’s the story of my first Karva Chauth.

We got onto the flight exhausted (we’d just had our Wedding Reception the night before). I had managed the shortest nap possible, while my husband had pulled an all-nighter in order to finish packing. Once the flight took off from Delhi airport, our honeymoon had officially begun. And we kicked it off with a nice, long nap. The airhostess woke us up to ask if we wanted breakfast, but we told her “We’ll have it later, so please save us some. But we’re exhausted right now!” And then we went back to sleep.

We had a layover at Singapore airport for a couple of hours, where we ate and shopped a bit, and window-shopped a lot.

We've arrived! @Changi Airport
We’ve arrived! @Changi Airport
Clearly, the week long celebrations have taken a toll! Doesn't make for a pretty sight.
Clearly, the week long celebrations have taken a toll! Doesn’t make for a pretty sight.
Atleast someone's cheerful about their Chicken Pie!
Atleast someone’s cheerful about their Chicken Pie!

The airport is really big, and really nice! We didn’t even realize how time passed, and suddenly it was time to catch the next flight!

I had this great strategy to ensure we were minimally jet-lagged when we reached Australia. Other than the sleeping we did right after we got onto our flight from Delhi (which was a necessity, considering we’d barely slept the night before), we tried to stay awake through the rest of the flight. And we were supposed to land in Brisbane at 7 am Australia time, so we tried sleeping for a few hours before we landed. Of course, thanks to the almost 24 hour journey, we were exhausted anyway. But atleast it helped – we were relatively lesser exhausted, if that even means anything!

But to give you the true masaledaar picture of that day, we must go back to the flight. So we woke up shortly before the final landing, and were mid-way through breakfast. The sun was just beginning to rise, and the rays of light were cutting across the flight in beautiful lines. Suddenly, my husband says “Oh, Karva Chauth (KC) has officially begun! Since the sun has already risen over here…” I had my mouth full of food, and paused wondering whether it was ok for me to swallow the food now that I knew Karva Chauth had started. My husband quickly realized my dilemma and said, “Uhmm finish eating your breakfast. It’s ok, it’s not officially Karva Chauth in India yet!” Haha! I did finish my breakfast, but my hazy memory tells me my husband stopped eating immediately after he realized KC had started.

You’re wondering – oh, you’re THAT couple? Who does Karva Chauth together? Well, I had never really planned anything this way. And our reasons are not as clearly black and white as you may think.

I am not a Punjabi. I am a Bihari. We don’t do Karva Chauth. So I have never attended or even seen a Karva Chauth ceremony, not even from a distance. Only in the movies. And my parents are probably one of the least religious parents in India. We do puja once a year, on Diwali. Nobody prays every day. I visit a temple once in 5 years probably. And Bihari wives do Teej. Which also, my mother started doing very recently. She tells me an amusing story of why she never did it for so many years. Want to know now? Ok, I’ll tell you.

My Nani (maternal grandmother) used to keep all these fasts for her husband, my Nana. And her body could never quite keep up with it. On plenty of occasions, she almost fainted with the lack of food and water. And my Nana, who is a doctor, used to literally scold her to eat, but she used to resist it till the last possible moment. And he always commented on how silly it was for her to do all these things when the end result was so disastrous on her body! My mother saw this scene repeat itself many times as a kid, and eventually formed an opinion that such things were not necessary, especially if it ends up with you on the bed barely able to get up! That’s why she didn’t keep fasts most of her married life. And that’s why I have never been exposed to concepts like fasting for your husband. Or for any other reason. Atleast, not at home.

People had asked me before the wedding – Karva Chauth is right after you get married! Will you keep the fast? My first reaction was “No, I don’t believe in these things.” But eventually, I started to re-think it. I was going to live with my in-laws. For Punjabis, Karva Chuath is a very big deal, or so I’ve heard. The whole family will do it together. Do I want to be left out? Will anyone mind if I don’t do it? I get acidity very easily if I leave my stomach’s hunger pangs unattended, so I’m usually nibbling on food all day. Do I want to take the chance that I will get acidity on purpose? And don’t they say – do it once, then you have to do it for life? What if the first time I do it, I get acidity, and then I never want to do it again? Will bad fortune befall my relationship if I don’t do it a second time? Does God not forgive women who don’t fast because of acidity problems? What are the rules? Who makes them? And of course, the ultimate reason – defying the patriarchal society we live in. Or in other words, feminism. I’m a borderline feminist, but not to the extent that I feel we’re better than the boys. I like to think of us as equals, in every single way and in every single aspect of life. If I need to learn how to cook, it’s not because it’s a woman’s responsibility, but because it’s a very useful skill to have as a human being. And when I learn, I would want my husband to also learn it with me. So that we can help each other out as and when it’s required.

So, back to the current story. My husband was doing Karva Chauth WITH me. And honestly, I don’t think I would have done it if he hadn’t volunteered (without ANY suggestion – direct or indirect – from my side! Really! I wasn’t even sure if I would do it, remember?) Once I knew we were in it together, I thought “What the heck, let’s give it a shot!” But I made him promise that I could back out at any point of time if it got too much for me. He agreed. And so began, the first fast of my 24 year old life.

We landed at Brisbane, and immediately started looking for our coach. We got a little delayed in figuring it out, and were eventually seated right outside the airport, waiting desperately for the bus. We had no idea that this desperation was nowhere near what we were about to feel in 2 hours time!

22 hours in. So close, yet so far - to a bed.
22 hours in. So close, yet so far – to a bed.

I slept on our way to Gold Coast – the bus ride was around an hour long.

Stylishly dozing off in the bus
Stylishly dozing off in the bus

*don’t have any more pictures after the bus ride on THIS day, you’ll know why once you’ve finished the post

By the time we reached the hotel, we had already been travelling for 22 (or was it 24?) hours straight. It was 10.30 am, and the Receptionist told us “Sorry, but you’ve not opted for an early check-in and your room won’t be ready till 2 pm.”

I was this close to murdering someone.

My husband called up the travel agent, who was unapologetic about not arranging for an early check-in. We figured, he’s not going to be of any help now. So my poor husband, in that exhausted stupor, went about convincing the lady at the Reception why we needed a room urgently. She said, “I can give you a room with 2 single-beds” which we enthusiastically said yes to, before she mentioned “But you can’t change the room once you’re in it, during this stay.”

I really badly wanted to murder someone right now.

Ummm…we’re on our honeymoon! NO WAY! I took a very, very deep breath and plonked myself onto the sofa in the lobby. This better not be a long wait, I mumbled to myself.

After some more back and forth with the Receptionist, my husband came back to me and said, “She’s given us these access cards to the Pool area. We can wait there.”

“Does it have a bed to sleep on?”

*husband looks bewildered*

“Of course not”

I definitely deserve a chance to atleast slap someone now. A nice, hard jhataak!

“Then you go tell her we need to be horizontal somewhere. On a thing called a bed. Nothing else will do right now.”

I was fuming. And SO exhausted. I have no idea how my husband could even stand on his two feet, let alone argue with a Receptionist for a simple thing like a bed in a hotel room. I know, it wasn’t the hotel’s fault. But we were so tired! We’d travelled for 24 hours straight by now, AND we were both doing Karva Chauth! I told my husband, “I can’t keep this damn fast now. My body is giving up!” He was more than ok with me breaking the fast, but then I said, “Ok, atleast give me some water.” So I had many sips of water, and finally – I felt a teeny tiny amount of energy in my body. It cooled my temper also, just enough to keep me from blasting the entire hotel staff.

I slept off while sitting in the lobby. And I think I did it just as much to embarrass the hotel, as I did because I was just so tired. After the longest 2 hours of my life, we finally had a room at 12.30. I got into bed, and the moment I shut my eyes, I was asleep.

Now that I think back, it was probably the best way to spend Karva Chauth. Asleep! I woke up almost 4 hours later, and the first thing I asked my husband was, “do you think the moon is out now?”

“It’s 4.30 pm, Shinjini!”

Oops. I guess that means I have to wait a bit longer till I can eat.

Without any energy to do anything, we just lazed around. I don’t think I stepped out of bed till 7.30 pm. Just kept dozing off and doing nothing.

We finally went downstairs at 7.30 pm to check if the moon was out. The second we stepped out of the hotel, we were hit by a really cold breeze! What on Earth! I thought it was the beginning of Summer in Australia! Bearing the freezing wind, we walked 5 minutes till we reached an open area. No sign of the moon. Anywhere. We waited around, and walked a bit more – as if willing it to appear would help in some way. But the moon was nowhere to be seen. We decided to walk back to the hotel and grab a newspaper, to look for Moon Rise time in Brisbane.

The newspaper said that the moon was expected to be at its highest point at 10.30 pm. Damn it! Was the moon in Australia not aware that there was a first-timer-Karva Chauth-performing-bride on its shores? This was not the time to play hide and seek!

We headed back to our room, disappointed. After waiting some more, my dutiful husband said he’d go look for the moon and told me to stay in the room and relax. I chilled for a while, but then I started to get fidgety when he hadn’t returned for over an hour. I had just started thinking that maybe I should go downstairs and check on him, when he walked through the door. With Subway sandwiches in tow!

“Ohhh!!! Did you find the moon?”

“No. I can’t see it anywhere and it’s 10 pm now. Let’s just eat.”

*without wasting a second* “Ok!”

I almost started unwrapping the sub, when I realized something.

“Wait a minute! What kind of Karva Chauth is this? We don’t drink water and eat food all day, and this is how we end it? By just heading straight for the food? We need to do something to make it feel like KC. It’s our first one, after all!”

So I quickly rummaged through my bag, and found a pouch made entirely out of net fabric (that my SIL had given to me for the trip, to carry essentials like lip balm, sunscreen, etc). I emptied it, and this was going to be the thing I looked at my husband through. But, what about the moon?

I looked around the room, and this floor lamp had a bright white light emanating from it’s oval shaped shade. That would be the moon.

So I looked at a lamp through a pouch, then shifted my gaze to my husband who looked like a pretty pink blur through the dense net fabric. We fed each other our first bites.

The second bite onwards, it was as if no other person existed in the world. We got so engrossed in eating our first meal of the day, that for 5 minutes neither of us spoke. And that was, hands down, the best Subway sub I’ve ever had in my entire life! My husband seconds that.

Do you keep any fasts for your husband, or plan to keep post your wedding? 

PS. It was not AS bad as I’ve made it sound. The tiredness due to travelling for 24 hours and the jet lag also contributed to our condition. I didn’t feel any hunger pangs, probably because my mind was prepared to not eat all day. But it was only my first fast, so it’s too early to draw any conclusions.

PPS. Coming up soon – the rest of the honeymoon post! Edit: You can now read Part 2 & Part 3 of the honeymoon posts.

For the rest of the stories from my wedding (Pre-Wedding Shoot, Sangeet, Wedding Reception, etc), go to thedelhibells series.

Advertisements

33 Comments

    1. Haha.. Yea.. I am sure it will be. Its so good that you r sharing your whole journey and transition from a girl to a bride. I never want to stop reading this blog of yours. Very helpful.

      Like

  1. Interesting Read..!! I jus feel you guys were so tired more so bcz of the wedding ceremonies that happened for the past 4-5 days. Jet lag also contribute to it. After reading this, one thing is clear to me. I dont wanna feel like this atal on my way to honeymoon. I want to enjoy every bit of it even the flight time as well.. i want to be in a very relaxed mood. So for all this whenver i get married, i am definately going to tell my husband that we will go for a honeymoon only after a week of reception and all. 🙂

    Like

    1. haha! Yeah, best not to leave right after the wedding ceremonies get done. atleast wait a full day.
      and probably not the best idea to do your first ever KC and first ever fast on the first day of travelling to a country that’s so far off! on the bright side though, it did make for a very interesting first KC that I don’t think I will ever forget!

      Like

  2. Adorable! Totally completely and absolutely adorable! My husband kept it with me last year (before the wedding) but by default..he forgot to eat coz he was busy in Court and conferences all day.. or so he told the entire family when they went all awwwwwwwww on him!

    I’ve actually been keeping teejri (the sindhi KC) & KC since I was 10 (yes. I’m a lunatic.I know) but now i think I’m soon going to stop..I’ve got a headstart of about 20 years…so i can pick it up again in my 40s!!!

    Like

  3. so you do not do chatt puja either!! well, i guess that is always ok unless one really believes in something themselves. and, if acidity issues are there one better take care of health before any other thing!

    Like

    1. no way! do you know how tough chhat puja is?!
      And I just think – it’s hard to make someone believe in something like “doing a fast will help you get xyz wish” when you’ve not been taught to believe in that since childhood. Hard to unlearn that! And equally tough to tell someone who has been fasting since childhood that “doing a fast will make no difference to whether or not your wish comes true.” I think whatever it is that you have seen for most of your life is what you believe in, specially when it comes to religious beliefs. It applies just as much to praying, following religious rituals, etc. as it does to fasting.

      Like

  4. I do both Teej and KC (i ❤ the abbrv). While I have grown up watching Mom do Teej and I really do love the Pedakiya (sweets made during this Puja), AB has grown up watching his Mom do KC. So I decided to do both – and KC is the easier one to follow. Teej requires the wife to fast for the whole day. But then I enjoy the attention AB gives me during these days – and its easy to do these if you deviate your mind. I make it a point to go to office for the day. Office work keeps me busy and keeps my mind off the need to drink water or eat. And by the time I get back the day is over – and AB is fussing around me to drink some water (during Teej) or hv something to eat (during KC). And the gifts I get makes it even better 🙂 😉

    Like

    1. Yeah, I guess the attention is definitely one of the pluses of keeping the fast! 🙂 And way to go! You do TWO fasts! I can barely keep up with this ONE! hehe

      Like

  5. Hahaha! The post is too funny…I am not insensitive but just trying to appreciate the humour in the agony.

    I am a Bihari as well and got married recently. 🙂 And I know that Biharis don’t keep Karva Chauth so fasting the entire day and that also when you’re on the go is no easy task.

    I have got a little blog of my own: Clothes and Creativity. You might want to check it out http://clothesandcreativity.blogspot.in/

    It would be great if you could give me some valuable feedback.

    Cheers!

    Anya

    Like

    1. I see the humour now when I look back at those painful hours! 🙂 But it made for a really great memory, and story!
      Will check out your blog, Anya. Good luck!

      Like

  6. Can’t get enough of thedelhibells series!! Waiting eagerly to read the rest of the post. Although feeling a bit sad that its probably going to the last in thedelhibells series 😦 enjoyed reading every bit of the journey from the day 1 of wedding festivities to a fitting finale of love and celebrations! It’s like that feeling when you nearing the season finale of your favourite show! Tell you what… Lets go over the wedding again 😉 heheheh… Looking forward to more of the wedding tales from you! Coz with you there’s never a dull moment in wedding planning journey 😀

    Like

    1. Awww, thanks D! Even I feel sad sometimes that it’s almost over. But there’s still one or two more I will add, even after the honeymoon post 😉 So, you have a little bit more time before it’s truly wrapped up.

      Like

    2. Well, I just spent the post-lunch office hours going over the series again — read the whole thing from prologue to latest post!! 🙂

      Like

  7. Enjoyed a good read early morning! =) Reception last night – 24 hr journey – waiting in the hotel lobby for 2 hours — all this on your FIRST KC!! My god! :O And I too suffer from acidity so I totally understand your pain.

    Like

  8. This year would be my first Karwa Chauth fast and I can’t wait to keep it!! I love all these rituals in our culture 🙂 And I feel the husbands should not keep the fast that day; it takes the attention away from us you know 😉

    Like

  9. I feel soooo lucky to have stumbled across this blog. I so loved reading the Delhibells series. And this one surely is an icing on the cake. Love your writing. It all feels as if its happening in real time in front of me 🙂 I could so connect with what you’ve written here as I too am a Bihari. And yes, My Mother and Father are also on a lookout for a groom( still 23 but then who can argue with parents :D) Hoping to tie the knot soon *excited* and this blog would be a lifesaver for my wedding planning woes,. May god bless you both, Keep those lovely posts coming!

    Like

  10. Haha! I understand that hungry expression in that photo! It’s on my face everytime I’m even the tiniest bit hungry.
    And what sort of a silly rule is that you can’t change your room later on?

    Can’t wait to see read the second part of the post and see more photos of Australia!

    Cute post!

    Like

    1. Yeah I was pretty hungry by then! And I guess the rule is because they will do a thorough clean up of the room once, and wouldn’t want to do it again in just 3-4 hours time 😦

      Like

    2. But they are in the hospitality business! They’re getting guests from another time zone!
      Anyway, waiting to see the second part of this post! 🙂

      Like

  11. Really entertaining, TDB! Although I’m sorry you didn’t have a smooth beginning to your honeymoon, its kind of comforting to know that everything doesn’t need to be perfect for a great honeymoon! We had a few hiccups on our Greek honeymoon, but it was more than amazing :). Also, while I may not completely agree with your stance on KC, I think you’ve penned your thoughts down very well and and I am happy to know that you’ve analyzed all the angles important to you. Not to nit-pick, but want to just clarify one thing- feminists do not think women are better than men; we only want to be treated as equals.

    Like

    1. I believe the feminist movement began as a means to get women considered equals with men, but over a period of time a small section of women took it too far and started believing the extreme, where they’re better than men. I know this section of women is very small, but I’m afraid to call myself fully “feminist” just because of this. However, after reading your comment, I guess most people do understand that a true feminist is someone who just wants to be treated as an equal. Thanks for clarifying! 🙂

      Like

  12. I kept Savitri this June. It’s an Oriya tradition. Bengalis don’t really keep any fasts or maybe I have not seen my mom keeping any fast for my dad. So it was a little unusual for me! But .. Whatever keeps the in-laws happy … 🙂

    Like

Pen down your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: