Monday, 10 October 2016

Navratri, Karva Chauth and losing our traditional charm

It's last day of Navratri and I see my twitter and Facebook news feed filled with statuses like 'Thank God, it's over!'. I know we're not done yet because the festive season hasn't come to an end and there are still twenty days left before the card parties and alcohol stops. Like I wrote in my Diwali post last year (I will leave a link to it at the end) that I don't have a problem with the parties but I have an issue with how these parties now define our festivities. Our culture as we all know is rich, diverse and different. And we are the one's who are supposed to take it forward but I doubt that will ever happen because our generation has little or no knowledge about the relevance of these festivals.

I find it strange how people of the Hindu community think it's 'cool' to eat non-vegetarian food or consume alcohol during Navratri. Well, honestly, when I hear people say non-vegetarian food during Navratri my heart aches but I do find it shocking and painful even with the mention of onion and garlic! Oh how can you, Prerna? You're modern and smart you shouldn't believe in these customs and rituals. That's exactly my point I am modern and you are not!

Karva Chauth, a festival that my entire generation hates to the core because it's against the so called rules of pseudo feminism is almost here! The other day I went to Chandini Chowk and like always I spotted aunties. Aunties in bulk. Looking for matching bangles, dupattas, thalli for the pooja and what not! And I swear on my love for Akshay Kumar and add newbie Harshvardhan Kapoor to the list, I did not see any aunty sad. There was a smile on their face, a smile that you won't spot often because more than shopping for weddings they love shopping for Karva Chauth, believe me they do! They don't mind staying hungry for a few hours because out of 365 days it's that one day when they know their husbands will make 'time for them' without cribbing. It's the only day when their husbands will compliment them no matter how they look. It's that rare day when their husbands will feed them. The ritual should be women fast, dress up while the men Youtube how to cook!  But the modern man doesn't let his woman fast alone. Yes, I have seen a lot of husbands fasting with their wives. The only thing that doesn't change during the festival is the competition between aunties because duh, Sarla bhenji's across the globe needs a special day to say 'mein aur meri dressing sense sabse hatt k hai!' Also, it's eco-friendly!

Coming back to festivities and religion, I won't get into its detail, neither will I talk about God and her/his existence because these are debatable topics. But I would like to ask you all a few questions!

1) Have you ever seen a Muslim crib during Ramadan?

2) Do you ask them why do you fast because 21st century?!

3) Do you mock them because most of them believe in God and pray?

4) Why do you mock me and few others when we say I won't drink, consume onion and garlic during Navratri?

5) Why don't you mock Muslims when they tell you it's Ramadan and we can't go out for lunch because we are fasting?

6) Forget others have you ever seen your mother sad during Karva Chauth?

Is it because you respect their religion more than you respect yours? Is it because you're confused between westernization and modernization?

Compared to a month long Ramadan we have to fast for only eight-nine days twice a year. In fact, unlike the rituals of their festival, Navratri does not stop us from eating it just stops us from eating certain foods for just eight days! And you say our rituals are too hard on us ? That's the amount of will power you have? That's the amount of unity we as a community have? If your heart and mind said yes, then I am sorry. Extremely sorry because our generation is supposed to take forward our culture. Our culture that differentiates us from rest of the world. Our culture that is beautiful. Our culture that we think is stupid, senseless and ugly! Our culture that is trying to adopt to our modern ways as we run towards westernization,
 So, before somebody from the outside comes and asks you the relevance of your festivals and you give them the blank look you gave your Math teacher, start doing something about it. Ask your elders, google it or read books but make sure you do your bit to protect it!

Arjun Dhingra, a friend from Australia visited India for a wedding and I had the pleasure of meeting him.  Apart from almost making me believe that he has a pet kangaroo called Kanga he asked me if he was worth a blog post and boy, he was! Before leaving he said something that I will never forget you all my life.

''You know, I am worried because I hardly know anything about our culture. I have lived in Australia all my life and therefore, my Hindi is bad, really bad! I wonder what will I teach my kids when I don't know anything myself.''

These words still echo in my ears because what we're running from he is running for!

Read my take on Diwali-

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