Nirjal vrat or fasting without even drinking water is what I grew up seeing women around me doing. Then I would see them totally tired, having headaches or even managed to see one of my aunts sneaking out and eating during the fast on Karwa chauth and my uncle is fortunately all hale and hearty. And then there was my grandmother, who has never fasted on Karwa Chauth, yes, not even once and my grandfather lived for more than 95 years, all healthy, not even a single tooth broken.
Not that I want to say that fasting has no meaning but I want to stress on the scaring part. How sometimes, people use the traditional practice as a compulsion to scare others. ‘Don’t even drink water, that is the best kind of fast’, ‘Don’t eat anything’, ‘Don’t do this and don’t do that’. And then if someone does not follow these traditions as per stated by others it is frowned upon. Just stand in a group and say ‘I don’t fast on karwa chauth’ if you are more daring say it in front of your in laws and see what happens. They will be upset, very upset.
I fast on Karwa Chauth, not because I am scared but because I want to. Although mine is not that nirjal one, for a simple reason that my health does not allow me to. I have stomach issues, if I don’t eat or drink anything for too long, I get horrible headache, trust me only those who actually face the similar situation can understand how horrible this horrible means. I start vomiting and keep on vomiting. I rather drink a glass of juice and fast.
My devotion is true towards our traditions, my faith is honest and I believe that matters. I don’t think I need to stay hungry to prove my love for my husband. Everyday in my prayers I pray to God to keep my family safe and healthy, to bless my husband and my child with a sound body and mind. Every second I pray for my husband’s well being and he is the first one I pray for. All because I love him.
If someone wants to fast without even drinking water then it should be her own decision. The choice should be left to the individual and it must be respected. A lot of my friends fast without even drinking water and I respect their decision because it is their choice and is not forced on them. Then there are a few who simply do this because of fear. Fear-such strong fear is attached that women dare not break the rule. To be honest I am scared as well no matter how much I try but then my condition gets worse if I follow the rule with all the headache and vomiting.
One must not be forced directly or indirectly to fast the way everyone is doing. I believe it is more about intention and devotion than just being hungry.
My first karwa chauth was a craze. I fasted without water and spent all day dressing up and getting the make up and hair and stuff. But now, I can’t do that, I am a mother and my priorities have changed. I need to stay active and healthy for my baby as well. While I was pregnant, I knew I simply could not fast the same way. I had juice and tea as well. My husband takes us out for dinner always on karwa chauth. Now that I have a toddler to take care of, I have become a little flexible. With time, I believe traditions can change a little, a little more lenient towards women, a little less scary for women.
And so I pray may every woman celebrate Karwa Chauth with love and devotion with their husbands forever and ever. May every one’s life be full of prosperity and happiness.
Oh! Look what I found… Made it three years ago on my first Karwa chauth 😛 I guess I used to sleep a lot before I became a mother 😉