Friday, October 25, 2013

karwachauth 2013

The festive spirits begin escalating with the month of October saying “hello” to us. First it is the navratras, and then comes karva chauth followed by the diwali celebrations. This post is about karwa chauth in particular. It is a festival in which Indian women fast from sunrise to moonrise for safety and longevity of their husbands. As per the tradition the mother-in-law gives sweets and other crackers (sargi) along with clothes, bangles and cosmetics to her daughter-in-law.

Till I got engaged, karwa chauth to me was witnessing my mom and other women (including girls fasting for their boyfriends and fiancés) fast for their husbands. However, this year it was my first karwa chauth post wedding and so it was extremely special. As per the custom on my in- laws’ side, for the first post wedding karwa chauth I had to take sargi before the sunrise with my mom, conduct the evening puja (ritual) at my parents’ place and open the fast at my in-laws’.

Since I was at my parents’ place for a few days prior to karwa chauth and was helping them shop for my first, I covered just a little madness around the festival. One could see kiosks selling vibrant and colourful bangles in every market. 
a woman selling bangles at galleria market, gurgaon

a bangle stall outside a sweet shop in sector 29 market, gurgaon

Mehendiwalas (henna artists) sitting in a row, in every nook and corner was a common sight. The prices of mehendi art shoot up absurdly on this day since the demand for it increases at an alarming rate. They start from Rs. 200 per hand and can go upto Rs. 2000 or more.
women getting mehendi outside a sweet shop

I went to buy sweets with my mom and the sweet shop was buzzing with people buying sweets, mathi (a type of fried snack) and fenia (type of vermicelli which has to be consumed as a part of the sargi before the fast begins). There were so many variations of one type of sweet that it just did not spoil me for choice but also left me baffled. It took us one long hour to get the entire order (phew!).
sweets galore

baskets of mathi displayed at the sweet shop
Luckily, the society my parents live in (and I lived in L) had arranged for mehendiwalas in the complex itself so I did not have to wander in the market to get the mehendi. However the rush in the complex’s club was no less than the one in the markets. The women had booked their appointments in advance and yet the appointments were running late. I had fixed mine for 6 in the evening, but my turn finally came at 6:45 P.M.  To my respite, the organizers had also arranged for chaat, so while I waited for my turn I devoured a plate of golgappas and papri chaat (yummy!!!).

mom and i getting mehendi
women waiting for their turn

my mehendi
Then came the 22nd of October, my mom and I woke up at 4 A.M. and consumed the fenia, fruits, and some veggies before the sun came out and then went back to bed. We booked ourselves at the salon for 1 P.M. (karwa chauth gives us all the reason to pamper ourselves; plus it is the best way to pass time :p). The entire day my mom’s phone was droning with karwa chauth jokes. After loads of laughter and a bit of self indulgence we got ready for the evening puja. I wore my wedding outfit which must be almost half my weight (phew!) but the feel of being in that outfit again is so special. It is simply beyond words. 

Since it was my first karwa chauth post wedding, unlike the usual ritual of rotating the plates, I just had to sit and listen to the story that was being played in the background.  After the puja finished, the actual wait started to open the fast at the arrival of the moon. My husband behaved no less than a moon. He was three hours late to pick me up. We bid goodbye to my family in a hush-hush way since we had to reach home (in laws) in time. It was quarter to nine and the moon was already out while we were on our way.  My husband was trying to make up for that late arrival. He bought me a bunch of beautiful lilies and roses on the way and got me busy with his banter.
a quick click by my mom before we bid her goodbye
We finally reached home at 9:30. My mother-in-law told me the way to open the fast. I first gave water and sugar to the moon thrice and then looked at my husband through the sieve (filmy right? But that is how it is done!). Then, my husband made a starved me have some sugar. It was followed by plenty of water for my dehydrated soul.

that is me opening the fast

While my mom always opened the fast with churi (Indian flat bread fried in clarified butter, crushed into crumbles and mixed with sugar) and sweet rice and then went out for dinner with the family; at my husband’s place the dinner menu is fixed for this day. We enjoyed gobhi aloo (cauliflower and potatoes), palak paneer (spinach and cottage cheese) and dal makhani (black lentils cooked with lots of white butter).

Post dinner me and my husband went out for a cup of coffee. With that the karwa chauth craziness and another big festival came to an end. Before we will realize diwali will knock at our doors.


  1. Nice couple ! Wish u a very happy married life ! :-)

  2. god bless both of you..ankita, you described the karwachauth very nicely.

  3. I just wanted to add a comment to mention thanks for your post. This post is really interesting and quite helpful for us. Keep sharing.
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