I’m sure the title of this post has some readers asking, “What is Karwa Chauth?” and the rest asking, “What does technology have to do with Karwa Chauth?”
If you do not know what it is, and you want to know, please read this excellent Wikipedia page on Karwa Chauth. Now, you’ll still ask, “What does technology have to do with Karwa Chauth?”
What follows is NOT fiction. It actually happened on October 22, 2013 in the presence of a close friend.
A few women, who lived in the same apartment complex, had got together for a joint celebration of the evening ceremonies of Karwa Chauth. They were concerned that the moon was not visible even 45 minutes after the scheduled moon rise. They had all been fasting from dawn that day and, as per laid down procedure, each woman was supposed to break her fast after viewing (through a sieve) the moon’s reflection in a vessel filled with water, offering water to the moon to secure its blessings, and then viewing her husband’s face (through a sieve). Since it was very cloudy, they were afraid that they would not be able to view the moon that night. Now what???
One of the women decided to seek the advice of a slightly older friend who lived in another part of the same city because this friend was much more knowledgeable about rituals and would be able to suggest a suitable course of action.
The senior friend said that she had faced the same problem that day. She had resolved it by asking her sister who lives in another city to photograph the moon that evening and send her the photograph on WhatsApp. She had viewed (through a sieve) the moon’s photograph’s reflection in a vessel filled with water, etc., etc..
The women and their families were relieved! Then, one of the women came up with a better idea. She asked her brother who lives in another city to send her a live video recording of the moon on Skype, which she received on her iPad. They all went up to the terrace. Her son held the iPad in the same direction and angle as the moon would have been that day. She viewed (through a sieve) the reflection of the moon’s live video recording in a vessel filled with water, etc., etc.. All the other women followed the same procedure.
Technology had saved the day!
If this had been a piece of fiction, it would have been humorous. But since it’s not fiction, I would say it’s pathetic, maybe scary, even more so because the women involved are all well-qualified (some are graduates, some are post-graduates, some are MBAs). Most of them are stay-at-home (by choice) mothers, some of whom had worked before becoming mothers. The husbands are engineers or engineer-MBAs working in senior positions in the corporate world. All these people have the popularly perceived external signs of being ‘modern’. They speak English fluently, they drive big cars, use the latest gadgets, they wear western clothes, their children study in ‘posh’ schools.
I do not care for festivals like Karwa Chauth, but that is my personal opinion. Just as I am entitled to my own opinion, I respect the right of others to their own opinions. If people want to celebrate such festivals, that’s their own choice. But why do they have to make asses of themselves? For example, in the case of Karwa Chauth, the person is supposed to fast from dawn to dusk. The part about viewing the moon’s reflection through a sieve, etc. is probably just symbolic. Even if there is a scientific basis to viewing the moon’s reflection through a sieve, is viewing the photograph’s reflection or the video’s reflection the same as viewing the reflection of the moon itself?
I must clarify that I am not attempting to point a finger at the women involved. Irrespective of who came up with the bright idea, all the men and women were active and enthusiastic participants in this charade and are equally responsible for what happened.
If this is how qualified (I hope I don’t need to explain why I’m not using the word ‘educated’) and ‘modern’ people conduct themselves, what can we expect from people who are neither qualified nor ‘modern’?
Do you agree with me, or do you think I’m overreacting?