26 October, 2010, Tuesday
I went to the market in the evening and Lo it was abuzz with colour. Bangles of all shapes, sizes and colours displayed in the shops and by the roadside vendors made whole of the town market so colourful! I stood watching the bangles and watching women buying these aplenty–some for personal use and some for distributing among other women friends. The ones that they were buying for personal use were costlier, prettier and worth decorating the slim and slender wrist of any woman but the simpler and cheaper ones would be stacked somewhere in the almirah to be brought out next Karwachauth. These poor cousins keep on making circulation from one home to another but never get a chance to adorn the wrist of any pretty woman. I wondered why people invest in such bangles which they are sure no one they gift to would put on. It is a plain custom that these woman follow. I watched women thronging the tailor shops for getting the suits that were ordered long bac to be stitched. Many others were straight way heading for beauty parlours. The beauty parlours have a hey day during Karwachauth. I never go to a beauty parlour during Krwachauth or at any other time of the year. Neither do I go to a tailor’s shop as I stitch my clothes myself so these activities, normal for any other woman, are special for me. Why am I so different from other women? Why can’t I, at times, relate to so many things which are very common to being a woman? Am I wrong or the world, of women that I am writing about, is wrong? I don’t have any answer for it but to find some answer to why I don’t act the way other women act on Karwachath day, I tried peeping in my past–my childhood memories. I tried reconstructing the images of Karwachauth during my Amma’s days.
Amma would put on her purple velvet suit on the Karwachatht day, all Karwachauth days that I remember. She never made a fuss about getting and wearing a new suit on this special day. She would put a golder “chakk” on her plait. Her ordinary black paranda would be substituted with a red paranda on this special day. A Bindi on her fair forehead and the dupatta with golden gota covering her head would complete her dress. In the evening she would put on her golden Nath, the picture of which I have somewhere put in my other blog post, and would loo so pretty to us children who would be watching her activities so closely. Her hands would be decked in Mehndi which some other woman in the neighborhood would have put on her hands before she went to bed the previous night. In the morning we would watch the colour and the design of the Mehndi which though was never so artistically done as is done these days by professionals but would have a love, warmth and wishes of other Suhagin!
In the evening we would rush to the Scandal point as there was a point from where the Moon would be seen rising at the earliest. And when someone would announce the raising of the moon, the news would spread to whole of the neighborhood and all women would mae way for the Mall which was only few stairs away. We would watch with awe other women on the Mall, dressed to ill, but Amma to us looked prettiest of all!
After the Puja and offering of water to the Moon, we all would run home to enjoy the sumptuous Dal-chawaal and a few more delicacies that would be specially prepared for the Karwachauth day. One thing that makes me laugh is how in the evening when Suhagis would be distributed among all the sugains of the neighborhood, we would watch what sweets someone has given. They would be replaced by our sweets and the business of circulating and distributing suhagis would continue. Even those days the set of bangles held by a red ribbon and used for distribution were the same as I saw yesterday in the market. Some thing never change at all though many others have changed a lot. Todays kids might miss the excitement that we had during our childhood during the times of my Amma’s karwachauth but many more newer excitements have replaced the old ones.
But one thing is certain, my Amma is the best. Even today, when I go home to her she would look at my wrists to check whether I have glass bangles on them or not. She would scold me if I don;t have any glass bangles on my wrists. So much so that when we start for her home my ids would say, “Maa put on bangles on your wrists otherwise Nani se daant padegi.”