Tuesday, October 26, 2010

They do it for their husbands

Beauty treatments, new clothes, matching bangles, dressy shoes. Intricate henna patterns, exotic bindis, professionally applied make-up.
On Karva Chaut, every woman tries to looks as beautiful as a bride-  she needs something to take her mind off the growing hunger and thirst. She eats before dawn, and breaks her fast only after sighting the moon at night- the same moon which invariably plays hide and seek. It is difficult but not as difficult as not being able to drink anything till sunset.

They do it for their husbands. Do the husbands appreciate it? Most just take it as their due.

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words. Another drabble on Karva Chaut here.


Dyche Designs said...

Wow that's dedication, not having anything to drink for that length of time must be tough.

Henna patterns have always facinated me. They're so beautiful.

Margot Kinberg said...

Rayna - Thanks for sharing this. It always fascinates me what women do to look beautiful, and what effort they go through. Your final line is very thought-provoking, too.

That's one thing I love most about your Drabbles and your blog; I never visit here without learning something and without taking away something to think about...

Jessica Bell said...

Sounds like the GReek women :o) Except replace henna patterns and exotic bindis with knee-high boots and caked on make-up!

Saumya said...

Wow. We never celebrated this occasion but I always say it in the movies :)

Carolyn Abiad said...

Henna I can do...dressing up I can do...but fasting all day for my husband? No way! I only fast for Ramadan. ;)

Jen Chandler said...

Very fascinating. I can't imagine going all day without something to drink. Wow.

And henna. That's one of the many things I wish I'd done when I was in India. It's so beautiful!


Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Kathryn- it is tough. One can go without food, but not without water.

@ Margot- thank you so much. And I wish I could live upto the high standards you set for me- something tells me I am setting myself up for failure :-(

@ Jessica- ouch (to the knee high boots).

@ Saumya- the movies have popularlised it, I think. I married into a family that does it, and while I don't really believe in it I do it out of respect for my mother in law.

@ Carolyn- fasting for Ramadan is MUCH MORE DIFFICULT.

@ Jen- yes, not being able to have water is what really kills you.

Mason Canyon said...

Interesting drabble. I'm with Margot. I always learn something when I stop by here and leave pondering something new that I wouldn't have known about without knowing you. Thanks.

Thoughts in Progress

Jules said...

I guess I'll have to stay single, no makeup, no dressing up and no way am I going without food. :) They sure have big hearts to do this though.

Sorry about your father but thank you for sharing it with me.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Mason- thank you. And I do hope I can continue doing so.

@ Jules- the dressing and make-up is optional. The going without food is mandatory, I'm afraid.
But they typically also get a nice gift at the end of it from the husbands.

LTM said...

as always, love it! Those henna patterns are so amazing, I love to look at them. Have you ever worn one/many? :o) <3

Clarissa Draper said...

I hope they take it too heart. That's a nice thing for a wife to do.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I wouldn't take it for granted.

Holly Ruggiero said...

Going without water for that long would be really hard and hard on the body.

Marjorie said...

There was a woman doing henna tattoos at the folk festival I went to for my class. She did such a beautiful job and quickly. I didn't get one done. I just watched her for a minute.

Mary said...

That last sentence is a little disquieting. Would certainly damper my enthusiasm.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Your drabbles are like dipping into an illustrated encyclopedia article. Personally, I think the henna tattoos are beautiful, but I would get one for myself, not for my husband.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Well, I didn't mean a henna tattoo for him, I meant a tattoo to please him.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

The sacrifices we make...

Melissa said...

I wish the husbands appreciated it more, that's a lot of work for a girl to go through.

I love how quickly you can sum things up. And how much you get across.

Ellen aka Ella said...

Quite the sacrifice for beauty~ I love the henna tattoos, so beautiful!
I know they are called something special...

Love how your wrote this~

Cruella Collett said...

Okay, first of all - "break their fast"? *moon lands on head* Is that where the word breakfast come from?!? To break your fast after night? It all makes sense now! I have NO idea why I never thought about that before!!!

Secondly - lovely drabble, as always (if there was a prize for the world's best drabbler - which there totally should be - you'd be winning. Easily). I know no one who manages to get across stories with such subtlety and refinery (as in the adverb I may or may not have just made up, not the noun aka chemical factory...), while always ensuring there is a serious and important message coming across.

Finally - men! (And for that matter - women! Why bother when the men[!] clearly are not appreciative?!)

subu.ps said...

Very neatly expressed. One of the many roles an Indian woman is expected to play. Occasional fasting is good for the body though :)

Amey M said...

Hi Rayna!First of all, take a bow for this wonderful blog.

I just loved the way you have created a miniaturized panorama of the Indian culture!Sans the hype, Sans the stereotypes, balanced like a perfectly brewed coffee! :)

About this post of yours, I would love to play the devil's ;) advocate on this one!

Lydia Kang said...

When I've seen my friend get married with the henna and the dress and the jewels(they're usually not fasting though) it took my breath away.
It means so much, doesn't it? The bride herself is a gift, all wrapped up in gold...

Julie Musil said...

OMG...eye opening.

My son and I were just talking the other day about how women used to cram their feet into small shoes. I wonder if they still do that?

kmckendry said...

Love your post. I was visiting Delhi 2 years ago and I was invited to watch the moon ceremony. It was fascinating.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Leigh - I am not a great fan of henna. When I got married, I had patterns on both hands and the feet, but in the last 12 years, I have probably had henna applied less than half a dozen times.

@ Clarissa- they should appreciate what the wife does, but so few really do.

@ Alex- you are a good man.

@ Holly- it is less difficult than you think. I do it often, not so much because I feel I should, but to see if I can do it.

@ Marjorie- it does get done really fast. Those women are real pros at it.

@ Mary- it would, wouldn't it?

@ Patricia- I think most women get it done to please themselves, though they claim it is for the husbands.

@ Diane- too numerous to think of, sometimes.

@ Melissa- thank you. I do know that often I do not manage to convey all that I want to say, but mostly 100 words is enough

@ Ellen- mehendi is what they are called in India, and I am sure they appeal to your artist's eye.

@ Cruella- that is how breakfast gets its name- you break the fast you have been on since dinner! And than you so much, Mari.
Idea - why don't you submit your thesis in drabble form?

@ subu- thanks for dropping by. Going without food is good, but not so much water. At least, I think not.

@ Amey- thank you. And go right ahead and play the devil's advocate- mine is after all a female point of view. I would love to hear otherwise.

@ Lydia- Indian brides are beautiful, aren't they? But so are all other brides.
The part of India where I come from, the weddings are very early in the morning, and the bride (and groom, and both sets of parents) are supposed to eat only after the ceremony. Not so at my wedding, because I got married to someone from a state where the customs are quite different.

@ Julie- maybe they still do in the more remote areas.

@ kmckendry- thanks for dropping by, and yes, the ceremony is fascinating.


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