Today, a festival called ‘Karva Chauth’ is being celebrated in India, mainly in the northern parts.Married women fast, without drinking water, from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands.Sometimes, unmarried women observe the fast for their fiances or desired husbands.
It is marked by many rituals and practices which focus on the beauty of the woman, as well as the sacrifices she makes for the family. Mythology points to that aspect of feminine power which is central to her role as the nurturer and thus crucial to the continuance of the human race.
Of late,the festival has been criticized as being inherently sexist by some because there is no reciprocal fasting by males . It has been categorized as ‘anti-women” and that which perpetuates the notion of women’s dependence on men.Feminist ire has branded it as a symbol of cultural repression of women by their husbands.
Needless to say, the institution of marriage, comes in for a lot of criticism on this day too!
I received two cartoons on Whatsapp from my friends. The one from my male-commitment-phobic friend was this, with the cryptic words of Ambrose Bierce “Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage”.
The one from my female-recently acrimoniously divorced-friend was the picture below. It was followed by a message which read “Longed for him. Got him. Shit “
That got me thinking about marriage , which I really don’t hold much of a high opinion , frankly. But somehow Rilke’s words makes a wee bit sense of it . He says “The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky ( Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet)’
Perhaps,then we need to marry the right person ? Somewhat like Maya Angelou says “I don’t want to be married just to be married. I can’t think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can’t talk to, or worse, someone I can’t be silent with”.
Jeez! The accidental sufi has got her tail in a spin! Her most beloved guy is such a person.
He also told her he wants to hold her her hand ( and slay the dragons). Do you know what that means ? ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand. ? ( reference the Beatles song)’ “First single. Fucking brilliant. Perhaps the most fucking brilliant song ever written. Because they nailed it. That’s what everyone wants. Not 24-7 hot wet sex. Not a marriage that lasts a hundred years. Not a Porsche or a blow job or a million-dollar crib. No. They wanna hold your hand. They have a feeling that they can’t hide ” ( Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist)
I feel faint! Life is such a rollercoaster! Ta, guys!