South Asians have a complicated relationship with traditions, across generations. Some of our age-old customs feel oppressive and patriarchal to us, but they also bring the comfort of the familiar. Many of us saw our families celebrating the traditions that we no longer find acceptable in their old form. It’s an internal conflict that millennials and Gen Z-ers have to bear, especially during the festive season and weddings. One such part of north Indian tradition is Karwa Chauth, one of the festivals that attracts the most commentary and controversy every year.
So, in the interest of balance and avoiding another year of conflict, we gave Karwa Chauth a modern, feminist twist. If you’re at odds with yourself about the festival but still crave the sense of comfort that comes with it, here’s a new way to make Karwa Chauth your own and finally feel at peace with your 21st century ideals.
1. Cook together!
Instead of the wife fasting or the couple fasting together, create a meal together! No one needs to fast and be miserable in the name of tradition. Replace the discomfort with something you both will cherish and enjoy. And let’s face it, no matter how much rom-coms sell this fantasy to us, the reality of married life is all about chores, jobs, exhaustion, and asking each other what to do about dinner in an endless loop. It’ll be nice to have a day devoid of this monotony.
2. Download health apps on each other’s phones and monitor the other’s progress
I think we can all agree that the one certain way of ensuring your spouse’s long life is to keep them healthy. And the modern, millennial way to do that is to download health apps. Whether it’s intermittent fasting, a steps tracker, or an app to remind them to drink water regularly, you’ll find what you need if you look hard enough. But don’t use this as an excuse to spend all day on your phone, which brings us to our next point.
3. Spend the day with each other instead of lost in your devices
Another reality of married life is staring into phones and nodding wordlessly at half sentences. So, break the loop on this day. Use Karwa Chauth as a reason to spend time away from your phones and with each other. And this year, it’s on a Sunday! So, dress up and take selfies, but post them the next day.
4. Don’t meet relatives if all they’re going to do is nag you about not fasting
Mental peace over all else! If your relatives are going to curse you for ruining their traditions and hence being the cause of global destruction, it’s best to stay away till they get it. You might have to make excuses this year or maybe even the next, but eventually, they’ll understand your new ways if they truly love you. If they don’t, it’s probably best that you maintain a respectable distance from them anyway.
5. Buy a couple of plants and take care of them together
If that sounds too intimidating, start with one plant. Buy something that doesn’t need too much attention because neither of you will enjoy it then. But watching something grow that you both contribute towards is surprisingly joyful, even if it’s a regular old money plant.
6. Revamp one area of your house to make it a no-fight zone
Use the weekend of Karwa Chauth to do a bit of DIY. Choose one neutral space in your house and designate it as a no-fight zone. This way, there will be one space in your house that won’t ever be marred by an ugly argument. This will also be a happy memory for when the next year rolls around without a single disagreement in the no-fight zone.
Use the day to just talk to each other, no matter where the conversation goes. Keep it flowing and you may be able to tackle some deep, long-unresolved issues, both collective and individual. Take breaks, of course, but make Karwa Chauth the day of communication.
Make this festival a day to appreciate your spouse instead of dreading the ordeal of fasting and bowing down to patriarchal traditions. Reclaim your festivals and make sure they bring you joy and not the feeling of crumbling under pressure. After all, the festive season is supposed to be all about happiness.
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