(This piece is from The Quint’s archives and was first published on 29 October 2015. It is being republished on the occasion of Karva Chauth and might change your mind about fasting altogether.)
There hasn’t been a single day in all of my 30 years, that I’ve spent fasting for anything. I’m a total foodie and just the idea of having to skip a meal makes me shudder. So, on my very first Karva Chauth, I decided to set the record straight for years to come. I asked Puru, my husband, if he would mind me not fasting for him. He said, “Why take the trouble? Plus, if you fast, then I’ll have to do it too and I really don’t want to.”
This pressure he was feeling to maintain the equality in our relationship was touching. Luckily my in-laws are not big on the idea either. But, what if they were? Should I pray and fast if it’ll make them happy? I was very confused till my genius husband came up with a brilliant idea. "Let’s switch fasting with feasting” he said. So on ‘our’ first Karva Chauth (and now our second), we’re going to feast on our favourite yummies, rather than keep glum fasts.
‘What’s for dinner’ comes with a great deal of excitement from Puru, especially on Karva Chauth. The menu is making me drool already.
Starter: Rawa Fried Prawns
We bonded over several plates of delicious rawa fried prawns on our very first date. So this one has to be on the menu. These little babies sprinkled with a tangy squeeze of lemon will be a lifelong reminder of our love for food and each other.
Main Course: Railway Mutton Curry With Rice
This is one of Puru’s all time favourites. We might not have seen the worst in each other yet, but we’re definitely our very best after wiping clean a bowl of rustic mutton curry. It’s an easy, no-fuss, spicy preparation that is a sweet reminder of our train journeys together. Hubby dear loves to have this with a steaming plate of rice. This mutton dish also has a special, and a rather clumsy place in my memory. On our wedding day, as my husband and I sat down for dinner, he got so excited to be served a piece of his favourite mutton curry, that somehow he managed to let a piece jump out of his hand and on to my bridal lehenga. It made me laugh then, and it still cracks me up today.
Finding a worthy life partner and getting married was hard work as it is. So Karva Chauth makes for the perfect occasion to celebrate a mission well accomplished. I’ve grown up with these blissfully sweet fried dough balls. My mom makes these during her fast every year and I have always been the lucky one to sprinkle the dough with fennel seeds and sugar. This year, I’m going to make my own. Who needs gooey wannabe desserts when we have these traditional cuties? Sprinkle some crushed pistachios, plonk a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side, and relish the magic of Karva Chauth.
Puru and I might be total opposites, but we’re clones when it comes to tastebuds. Ever since he’s become the proud owner of a cocktail set, he stirs up some mean drinks. He does a beautiful job of mixing wine and fruit, with just the right amount of sugar and cinnamon. We celebrate everything with his signature red wine fruit Sangrias, and this one flags off our Karva Chauth meal.
I know I’ve been a bit cruel to the fasting ladies out there with this foodie menu. A traditional Karva Chauth might not be my thing, but I believe that ever wife or soon-to-be-wife, has her own way of expressing love for her husband. I’ve grown up watching my mum fasting religiously for my dad. It’s the one day of the year when I think she looks the most beautiful, dressed up in a red and green, tie and dye chunri. Not just her, all the ladies in my family, including my sister, fast for their husbands. My favourite part of Karva Chauth has always been the end, when the men of my family lay the table and serve dinner for the hungry ladies. There’s a deep love in all of this and that’s what is beautiful about this tradition of tyaag.
But there’s love in our decision to feast together too. Where’s the need to give up on something we enjoy together, as a way to pray for the obvious? So we celebrate the abundance that we’re lucky to have in our lives, and you’re welcome to join us if you change your mind.
Happy Karva Chauth to all the fasting and feasting ladies out there.