The vrath(fasting) wrath

This post is about fasting in India. While people fast to lose weight, there are other religious reasons too for fasting. The most famous fast happens on the Karva Chauth in North India. The women are supposed to fast for an entire day for their husbands' well-being.

Pic: Karva Chauth

I am a Tamilian married to a Maharashtrian. Born into a Tamil brahmin family, I too had to participate in the Karadayan Nombu, a fast where we pray to the Gods to give us good husbands. It is not a fast per se. I always ate scrumptious food throughout the day.

Now, Maharashtrians indulge in various fasts. There is the Vrath Savitri Puja, the Teej and what not. My mother-in-law asked me to fast along with her. For the menfolk. It is not a complete not-even-a-morsel fast. We can have fruits and grains other than rice and wheat. I wonder why it is called a fast then.

Pic: Vrath Savitri Puja

My question is, why do men never fast for our well-being? Do they not love us as much as we do? If I don’t want to fast, does that mean I do not want my husband to have a long life?

My husband shares my views. So during the vrat savitri puja, he too refused to eat until I broke my fast. He intends to do the same on Sunday, for Teej.

But not all wives have such thoughtful husbands, do they?

I do not believe that my fast can somehow contribute to my husband’s longevity. Neither does he. But we do not wish to hurt my mother-in-law’s sentiments.

I think traditions should be followed wisely. Times have changed after all. With more women in the workforce, a full day fast is an awful concept. Indian culture needs to imbibe and reflect changes. Otherwise, it would lose followers.