Sunday, 2 December 2012

Rituals or Love

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 34; the thirty-fourth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "Of-Course, I'm insane"


“What!” Mom shot up from the chair as if her chair passed electric current.

I looked at her startled,” What!”, half reclining on my bed.

“You will not keep Karva Chauth fast!” She carried on the same tone.

I looked at her raising my eyebrows,”so?” What did I do to draw such a reaction!

“You know what Karva Chauth means? Why Maithili? Why you have to do it every time? Has this modern education robbed you off all your sensibilities? We always gave you freedom to do whatever you want. Does that mean you will not show even scant respect for your culture? Are you….”

“Mom, mom…relax…relax”. I knew I had stirred up a hornet’s nest and mom could go on and on, her anger rising with every question shot in my direction.

“Mom! It is not about culture or Indian values. It is about my unborn baby. Come on! It is my seventh month. Why should I torture my child for this ritual. Anand doesn’t want it. My parents in law don’t want it. I will do it next year, mom, I mean…what’s the big deal!”

A shadow of despair passed her face. She gathered herself from initial shock and said in solemn voice,” That’s the problem with your generation. For you it is just a ritual. If our wise ancestors made this ritual, there has to be some concrete reason behind it. I observed this fast when I was pregnant with your brother. All women do. It is an honour for a woman to die ‘suhagin’. They say once you start keeping this fast, you should never break the chain, it attracts ill luck. What if …” She halted herself. For her even uttering these words was sacrilegious.

This was not the first time we were arguing over rituals, traditions. I always found myself at loggerheads with mom on such issues. She demanded absolute compliance and I…explanation. It caused her immense pain that she couldn’t raise me in a manner most suited to Indian society. All other girls in our extended family, neighborhood were perfect examples of docile, demure daughters, always following what they were told to. Only she got a girl who always caused her embarrassment by her behavior. I wondered what hurt her more, my defiance to the rituals or my plain disobedience.

No, I can’t let it end on a sour note’, I pushed all other thoughts out of mind and said, holding her hand,” Mom, please sit.”

She flicked my hand annoyingly. I firmly pulled her by her arm and made her sit on the chair. Perhaps thoughts travel better at same level. I sat upright in my bed and started hesitatingly.

“Mom, I know, how you feel about it. But don’t you think it is a selfish thought after all. Why I should ever wish to leave Anand behind languishing without me, in the age when he needs me the most. Isn’t better that I stay with him till he needs me.”

This was enough to blew her mind away. Mom shouted at the top of her voice, ”Maithili, You have any idea what are you saying. Are you…”

Ofcourse, I am insane.”I retorted, hijacking her words. “What do you think, I don’t love Anand? Do I not want him to have a long, healthy life? Of course, I do mom…more than anybody else in this world. I am not against Karva chauth, for God’s sake. But every ritual, every tradition has relevance as per prevailing social fabric, system and values. It might had been relevant at a time when there were large families. Ageing men of the house were accorded the place of head of the family. A whole bunch of children was there to take care of them. They were consulted before every important decision. Their every word was received reverentially without question.”

I looked at mom if she was still with me. But she was fully attentive, ready to pounce on the next point of disagreement. I continued.

“But, now times have changed mom…180 degress. No more joint families, we have just one daughter. These days even sons fly away looking for greener pastures. A person, once retired, is treated not more than a non productive burden. Society has changed, but men are yet to accept the situation.  Ouch!” My baby kicked inside my tummy. ‘It must be a boy then’, I wondered. 

But it softened her grandma’s stance, who at once felt concerned, “what happened?”

“Nothing, It is okay,” I calmed her down, putting my left hand under my bulging belly. “So, where were we? yes, men haven’t changed. They still think their responsibility is limited to earning. They are dependent on women of the house for all their basic needs. After retirement, they need their partner the most, mom, because they cannot handle solitude. They are emotionally not as strong as we women are and Anand is no exception! If I go first, what will he do? He cannot cook beyond a cup of tea and Maggi . He cannot manage house. Leave alone that he cannot even find his pair of socks without my help, though they are always kept in the same place. He will need me the most when his limbs slow down, his eyesight fails him, when his ears refuse to hear properly. What if he, God forbid, gets confined to bed, becomes a vegetable! I cannot leave him to anybody’s mercy just to get my body wrapped in red.” I finished hoping that I was able to drive home my point. If only my mom gave up so easily!

Mom was staring at me in disbelief. She managed to speak finally,” Then you will be left alone, who will take care of you if you become, what you call ‘vegetable’?”

“In an ideal situation, I would say we both die together. But, if one of use has to bear that agony, then let it be ‘me’, mom! Because I love him more than the rituals” I said, weighing every word carefully.

I don’t know, my mom gave up completely on me or she did find some logic in my blabber but didn’t utter a word. “I have some chores to manage in kitchen”. She got up and left the room, banging the door. Oh! She made her point clear. I, still, am the ultimate ‘black sheep’ in the family. 


Karva chauth Festival is a fast observed by north Indian married ladies for safety and long life of their husbands. It is particularly a difficult fast to keep, because from sunrise to moonrise,  they are not suppose to eat or drink anything.
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: Panchali Sengupta, Participation Count: 1

46 comments:

  1. I loved the point of view you pressed here ... truly, love wins in this argument :-)

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    1. Thanks Amrit, Though I know there won't be many takers for this idea.

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  2. You introduced the new type of things to the readers... A well developed plot around the main concept.. ATB for the BAT...

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    1. Thanks Hari! I am glad I was able to convey my idea. Welcome to my blog.

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  3. Well structured! Rightly so! Though you make us old men look like wimps! :)

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    1. But that's the truth that I see around! Thanks Deepak...

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  4. first things first...well written..

    the love is definitely more important than the rituals....

    and some cultures actually forbid women who are carrying to fast or carry out any elaborate pujas..

    all the best for BAT!

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    1. hey Thanks for these encouraging words! Welcome to my blog!

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  5. great yaar.. lovely post..

    Perhaps thoughts travel better at same level.. i loved this..

    keep writing.. :)

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    1. Thanks Deepak, This is just a naive attempt! slowly picking up ropes.

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  6. i am not much into rituals but i believe faith should be balanced with reason and rational thinking.. I agree with you here Meenakshi..

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    1. Rituals generally lay their firm grip on women folk! I hope people behave more rationally.

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  7. even I hope the same.. in fact hope is one thing I love the most.. its a magical word I believe..

    rituals take an ugly face sometimes in our country.. we are yet to release ourselves from the shackles of superstition.. i believe there is a fine line between faith and superstition.. and that line.. should be respected and adhered with..

    I hope things will change.. for the better..

    right Meenakshi..

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    1. You words echo my sentiments. Thanks Deepak!

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  8. we can only say our point of view. to push.them in to others is difficult. when we try, its termed insanity, or results in emotional blackmail. well written.

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    1. Thanks Vinay, If we try to push are point of view onto others, we are doing the same things that they are doing through rituals. We crave for a society where everyone is allowed to have his/her own mind.

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  9. keeping fast during pregnancy is definitely not a good thing for the baby. lovely post! all the best for BAT!

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  10. A thumbs up from my side dear Meenakshi. Love crosses every ritual there ever was. I loved the scene here, its not at all insane, but I liked the way you portrayed it dear. I have seen a lot of women's do that. But, that's a personal choice altogether. You made quite a good post with the use of vibrant drama in the heart of the protagonist :) All the best for BAT :) Take care dear. A very adorable post :)

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  11. everything has logic, even the rituals, some may be just for no reason, and there is a probability that some may have good logic to be followed, but we just don't know it......good write up....liked reading it

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  12. Reminded me of my best friend who being a muslim completed around 28 days of fasting this Ramzan . I was against the whole idea and was shocked thinking whether the baby wouldnt be deprived of energy . But she was too religious and it was more a matter of faith for her . People who have utmost faith go ahead and do it . But then its always an option . I am damn sure God would understand even if we choose to be concerned over the baby more . Very good topic to debate on :)
    all the best for bat !

    maliny

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    1. Thanks for seeing the point in the story. yes, it is matter of faith and shouldn't be forced upon. And then don't men really need their wives more at the dusk of their life!

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  13. Point well made :) Most of the times people seem ignorant of the reason behind the ritual... Most rituals are meant to strengthen the various human relations and instill values in people but sadly this seems to have gotten lost somewhere...

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    1. Hi Reshma, nice to see you on my blog! I am happy you liked It! Keep visiting!

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  14. Standing ovation to you!! Especially on this point of yours:

    "In an ideal situation, I would say we both die together. But, if one of use has to bear that agony, then let it be ‘me’, mom! Because I love him more than the rituals"

    A simple point carefully sewn.

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    1. A big thanks, Neeta!

      I am participating for the first time IN BAT and quite an amateurish writer when it comes to story.

      But I was disappointed that participants either do not read all the posts. If they do, not beyond the first para and hence miss the whole point. May be my post was a bit long:(

      I appreciate you took time out to read the entire post and liked it too. If even one person is convinced with point of view, my efforts have bore fruit. Thank you so much!!

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  15. Well written post :) 'In an ideal situation, I'd expect us to die together." - Now there's true love! All the best for BAT! Keep writing :)

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    1. Thanks you so much for visiting my blog and taking time out to read it.

      Thanks for appreciating my write up. I am glad you liked it!

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  16. very well written.Beautiful explanation of love.You made your point crystal clear.gr8 work

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  17. Well written. Indeed love is more important than mere rituals. Nice work :-)

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    1. Thank for reading and liking it, Ash. Welcome to my blog!

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  18. It's the same story in every household. Everyone remembers just the ritual and have forgotten completely about the logic behind it. Nice compelling read.

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    1. I am happy you liked it, Megha! Welcome to my blog!

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  19. I am not into any kind of rituals. However, I understand the need of such powerful argument (and emotions of course!).

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  20. Wow. That was simply superb, Meenakshi. The dialogues are apt n masterful!!!The story carries a great message!

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    1. Thank yo so much ma'am! You made my day!

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  21. Very well written post!! Yes, we need to come out of this ritual wala mindset. Even if you ask an elder about a reason for a particluar ritual, the only answer you get is it's going since ages hence needed to follow.

    Yes, Love is the only thing which sees no boundaries and can stand in even difficult situations. Loved it!! :) ATB for BAT!

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    1. Exactly Rohan, even our elders do not know the logic behind many rituals and just want us to follow blindly as they did and that becomes the bone of contention;)

      Thanks for reading and appreciating!

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  22. I like how one character refines her point of view through the argument. What really strikes me is your usage of "love" as the decimating argument against a ritual which is in itself based on "love".

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    1. Thanks Shri, I hope I was able to convey the idea. Welcome to my blog!

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  23. Very well written. Somethin i so relate too and loved thw way the character described her love fr her hubby.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and liking this story!

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