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Most women of my mother's generation never called their husband by name. Most women in my generation have not held hands with or made willing and happy eye-contact openly in public with their husbands...
My newsfeed today is full of photographs and status updates about Karva Chauth (KC), that controversial festival where women fast for the longevity of their husband. There are two types of posts: phot...
It happens only in India.
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The notion that I will be given away by my father to my would-be husband is frankly cringe-worthy. My father has, without doubt, been one of the most important influences in my life, but that does not give him or anyone else the right to give me away. For me, a ritual like this is downright misogynistic and I decided to share my concerns with the people around me.
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There is a cultural explanation for Indian women's fixation on their husbands' long lives. Whether a man lives or dies ultimately defines how his wife is socially perceived and treated! A married woman is called Sumangala -- the fortunate one, the bringer of good luck. A widow, on the other hand is called Amangala -- the unfortunate one, the bringer of bad luck. The reverse logic does not apply to men.
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Today, we are fighting for equality and we are holding high positions in every field. We are working 70-hour weeks and doing ground breaking work, we are travelling, we are in meetings and making presentations. It's unrealistic to starve. Are the men doing that for you?
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As a bride, hailing from a family where women were unfamiliar with Karva Chauth, I wasn't really excited by the idea of fasting or decking up for a story session. Given that my mother-in-law, bless her soul, was cool enough to respect my choices, I decided to test Karva Chauth waters with selective participation. If anything, the idea was to test my patience and tame my appetite.
Hindustan Times via Getty Images
I do not know how you will label me. Am I the feminist who pays the bills and shares household chores with her husband? Or am I a "typical" Indian woman who at the end of the day submits to the belief that her husband is her God and fasts for him. Here's the thing. When it comes to Karva Chauth, I don't see myself as either a feminist or a traditionalist. Because between the feminist and the "typical" woman, there stands a wife too.
I am someone who observes Karva Chauth out of choice. I don't do it for the longevity of my husband's life either. I instead pray for the longevity of the beautiful life that we have created together. I have never put henna on my hands nor have I dressed up like a bride on the day of the fast. I do not see the man through the sieve when the moon comes up. Looking him in the eye under a moonlit night is far more romantic.
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