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Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Fast Women Fast

Early morning, my fingers grope for BlackBerry, as I lay in bed.

I start my day with the messages that I might have missed while I was sleeping. After reading BB messages, I check my emails, then Facebook, Twitter, Internet explorer. By the time I am ready to get up from the bed, I am already enlightened by my friends’ state of mind and what are they thinking, with the world news, with all the latest jokes and the topic of discussions for a day.

Today, everybody is talking about ‘Karwa-Chaud’, a fast that women keep for health and prosperity of their husband. Abstainers are hoping that their spouse will outlive them.

Ah! I am glad that I am responsible only for my self.

So they fast, those women in red, with large round bindi on their forehead, dark green bangles jingled on their hands but, do their hubbies appreciate and treat them well?

Why do u starve, oh women folk? Know it not that it's an old story told? The health of men depends on his vice; your diet has no ropes on his life.

Starve if you must then it could be, to learn the hunger of a child on the street, whose parents brought him thoughtlessly to quench their greed shamelessly.

You could starve on the days when you have bigger waistline, it pains you to see your unhealthy lifeline, just for day you could stop those fatty canap├ęs that you gorge greedily on a whipped cream.

But then, who am I to advocate? Huh?

All day long I see married women celebrating their fast together, visiting temples, listening to stories of woman achievers who have prospered in their love-life, many of them forgetting and forgiving the abuses that are hurled at them every hour of the day.

They all look so much in love.

In the evening, when I go for open-mike poetry performance at the Prithvi theatre, there are more love poems. Love is in the air. Am I missing something?

The woman recites, "I would like to wrap you all over me, feel your breath and touch your glow," and I am enthralled by her emotive desires. I am thinking “How do you feel when he comes home, swinging his butt, fully drunk, do you say "Duh!"

Late night, my friends and I walk on the beach. This is a Juhu Beach - one of the dirtiest beaches of Mumbai, a beach where one would not risk wetting a toe. The moon shines brightly reflecting its silver rays on the water. It’s a low tide. There is no wind. Everywhere, I see the cluster of women sitting in a group around the burning lamps and incense sticks, praying to the moon.

Having survived without food all day, they offer their prayers to the moon; the conclusion of Karva Chauth involves the offering of sanctified water (arghya) to the moon, as it represents Shiva and Parvati, there will be feast to celebrate with their spouse.

Their spouse will be treated like God today.

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