Sunday, 15 March 2015

Yardstick of Love!

“ஓர் அடையும் உருகாத வெண்ணையும் உனக்காக நான் நோற்றேன். ஒரு நாளும் என் கணவன் பிரியாது இருக்கணுமே”

“Thee, I feast you with delicacies and butter. Endow my husband with longevity and health!”

Those are the hymns that we recite during the காரடையான் நோன்பு (“Karadaiyan Nombu”) fast. An age old ritual that runs deep in our culture, where the pious married women pray for the good health of their husband and damsels for their future husband, and be on fast for the entire day until pooja. This tradition comes from an interesting story where Savithri wittily wins over Lord of Death and bring her husband back to life. Oldies would say it is the epitome of chastity and devotion to husband. But as a modern day girl, this ritual has a totally different meaning to me. Before you read further, let me tell you: this ritual is one that I hold so close to my heart.

By starving myself or tying a yellow thread in my neck, I don’t prove my devotion to husband (Read “future husband”). Well, I am not trying to please some sadist deity who would be appeased by my hunger. But, I condition myself to shower that unconditional love on my man no matter what. I would go to any extreme and fight against the world to keep my man safe. That’s what Savithri did. The part I love the most is, she didn’t win by water works or sympathy. Sheer brilliance and wit made sure her husband comes back to life. Now, that’s a modern woman! She didn’t trade her life to bring him back alive. She didn’t sacrifice something awful to bring him back. But she went to the end of the world and faced Death himself to trick him and bring back her love. I am pretty confident that any day I could do the same too. Intelligence talk, bring it on! Sentiments and dam of tears, oh huh!


To me, Savithri is not the symbol of celibacy or chastity. She is the symbol of undeterred commitment and unfailing love. Now, that’s what every man deserves! A woman whom he can count to save his back and be strong for both during dark times. Not a maiden in distress who needs rescuing at every turn. A self-sufficient woman, who knows she is good on her own but still, wants her man around to make her life meaningful. A woman who can nudge and push him to be better and pat and soothe him in pain.

I grew up with this Savithri picture in mind. If chastity is your yardstick, I might measure only in millimeters. But if it’s being a headstrong woman with unconditional love is you yardstick, I might outgrow it.


So yeah, I didn’t starve myself for this Karadaiyan Nombu. I didn’t tie a holy sari. But yeah, I did tie the yellow thread and pray. Solemnly took my vows in the name of Savithri to be there for my husband, no matter what. To be strong enough for both. To protect him and help him grow in times of need. To take care of his health. To love him unconditionally. To bring him back from death and try my best. To never let go of him. To keep up my faith. 

7 comments:

  1. Its really strange... Think about this...

    Belief A --> Created a Process X.

    People follow the process for years together and eventually forget or misread the belief A.

    The modern women likes the process X, but accepting belief A would be too dumb for her modern image.

    So, she creates another Belief B (to appease her ego or sustain the modern women image) and attaches the new belief B to the old process X.

    Wowww.... suddenly the world is cool... a blend of modern women following the tradition...

    Why Sruthi?.

    Why should you go through the process X to "save" your man? - when you know for sure that this process has nothing to do with your ability to save your man.

    Are your trying to prove something to someone?.

    Or are you simply satisfying your parent's desire?.

    Can you think through this "Karadaiyan Nombu" once again and write about the same event from a third person's perspective - probably someone who does not even know your religion and tradition?

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  2. Though woman can stand and face the entire world all alone, Man needs a woman to be his purpose of life and he will be lost in the world without the Woman be it mother or wife. Shruti you have written a beautiful article. Hat ke sochna tumhaara aadat ho gayee hai. Be happy my child

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  3. Prem,

    Think of it like this: We celebrate so many days that our calendars are flooded with it. Be it valentines day or friendship day or what not!

    Its not like on valentines day all of a sudden my love multiplies manifold. These days are just a symbolic representation. And until I add any value to them, they are yet another day.

    The day or the ritual is only a reminder to emphasize certain values that we would like to hold on to, which seems to be overshadowed in day to day life.

    Belonging to a different religion or not, the idea presented in the article is quite simple which readers can connect to.

    Like I said, it's not about being in someone's good books or appeasing a modern image. Its like your food preference. You are a raw vegan because you want to be one, not because its cool or someone asked you to beso.

    A ritual or a tradition might look like a funny circus until we add a value to it. This one looks good to me, whereas there are few more that still look funny.

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  4. Why isnt there any ritual in our so called culture, where the men pray for their " woman's " life. Isnt a woman's life worth praying for?

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  5. Why isnt there any ritual in our so called culture, where the men pray for their " woman's " life. Isnt a woman's life worth praying for?

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  6. Why isnt there any ritual in our so called culture, where the men pray for their " woman's " life. Isnt a woman's life worth praying for?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Why isnt there any ritual in our so called culture, where the men pray for their " woman's " life. Isnt a woman's life worth praying for?

    ReplyDelete