In school we were taught that the summer solistice occurs on about the 21st June in the northern hemisphere and that is the longest day, in the year. Later when we were in the Academy, a book with the title, “The Longest Day” was published which contained an account of the Allied landings on Normandy in France on 6 June 1944 which was probably the bloodiest battle fought in the War. Later, it was converted into a memorable picture.

However, today I have am here to talk about a day which stretches itself endlessly due to a tradition in North India. It is known an “Karva Chauth” and, this year it will be observed tomorrow, the 2nd November 2012. Married ladies will fast for the health and prosperity of their husbands from Sunrise to the time when the moon is actually sighted at around 9pm. They will not even take a sip of water for more than fourteen long hours.

I saw my twenty year old wife observe this fast with religeous fervour forty-five years ago, in 1967. In sympathy, I did not take my tea in the evening and the customary ”chhota peg” until she broke her fast.  I found it to be quite taxing. There was a post-monsoon cloud in the sky and that prevented the moon from showing up for several unending minutes. My sincere and conscientious wife refused to yield to my pleadings, and stuck to her vows right until the time when she could see the partially whithered moon.

After that, I saw her repeat the ritual each year, until 2001. She had to undergo a surgery that year, and was no longer strong enough to undertake this tortuous fast. At any rate, we now find that her longevity is far more important than mine. She runs the house, while I do nothing productive. When we took the marriage vows in 1966, we had pledged that the bond would last seven life-and-death cycles. But later, I read in the scriptures that if meditate and live pious lives, we can attain “moksha” and be released from re-birth. We are doing what we can, to achieve that ultimate salvation. For the moment, I have been able to persuade my wife to absolve herself from this penance.

Be that as it may, millions of ladies will be fasting tomorrow. Through my mind’s eye, I can see them wearing their colorful dresses, and waiting for the moon to rise.

At long last, the moon will show up and a smile will appear on the thirsty faces. And they will see the moon, filtered through a sieve for reasons which we might never find out.

And after a few more ceremonies, the first drops of water will be permitted, without the glass touching their lips:

Mr Surinder Sharma carried out systematic research on why ‘Karwa Chowth’ is observed in India whilst it is not considered necessary in the Western civilizations. He reported his findings in the form of a Television show a couple of years ago. Apart from being a social-scientist, he has a bit of wit (and that must be the greatest under-statement of the century!) To ensure that his humor is not diluted, he does not let even a mild smile appear on his own face.

In an interview, Sharma ji had averred that comedy is serious business. The comedian must not let  a smile come on his own face, or else the joke is ruined. It reminded me of Meena Kumari, the tragedy queen of Bollywood. She rarely shed a tear, but made the audience cry their hearts out.

To get the full import of the very serious message in this episode, I had to play this piece twice. I can give you several reasons why you should click on the link given below, but the most important point is that it will keep you amused for a few minutes and help you and your wife in waiting for the moon to appear.

May the moon show up early tomorrow, and wishing you all a happy ‘Karva Chauth’

  1. Dave Sood says:

    Well narrated.

    It is a very special day in the life of married couples in the NORTH. It got mileage from the movies that made it bigger than it was.

    My memories as a kid was a special day that my mother was not allowed to work in the house. At 5 pm Pandit came and told the story of Karva Chauth. It was fascinating in those days.

    Finally the moon appeared and every body was on the roof to look for the moon. Prayer followed by simple Halwa Puri dinner. Mom got a special gift of a Sari or a piece of Jewelry from my father, a tradition we have carried forwardtill day.

    Sharma takes the cake for making a stand up comedy on it. Love it

  2. J Thomas says:

    Any reason why widows observe karva chauth ?

  3. Swati Sharma Sibal says:

    The article is full of warmth and empathy. It is another admirable piece of writing by you, both in content and style. Thanks for sharing!

    Kind Regards

  4. Navrekha Sharma says:

    thanks for the laugh in your last mail regarding karwa Chauth. Here is one in return,


  5. Lt Gen RK Gaur says:

    (Forwarded to all his friends)

    Please ensure you listen to Surinder Sharma

    From: Maj Gen Surjit

    Tomorrow is a special day, for many of us. Last year, I had sent a message on this occasion which merits an encore. Please click on the link below, and let me know whether I am right.


    With best wishes,

    Surjit and Surinder

  6. Jayachandran says:

    Well done.keep it up.


  7. A big thanks……very fortunate for us to C some Gr8 friends talking bussiness serious !!

  8. Yuvraj says:





  9. Lt Col Harindar Singh Bedi says:

    Dear Surjit,

    A well-written piece. Kept us both amused right through.


  10. Brig AJS Behl says:

    Dear Surjit,

    It is very well written.


    Amar Jit.

  11. Lalit Malhotra says:

    Must admire the timing and the humour

    Very enjoyable


  12. Lt Gen Amarjit Singh says:

    Many thanks for your nice write up and humor at the end.



  13. Sundara Rao says:

    Dear Surjit,

    Thank u. I have been able to download this time.

  14. Onkar Pal Singh says:

    A good piece as always………..Dear Chacha
    No fast for us , so long / short day doesn’t matter

    Regards & Love


  15. Lt Gen RK Mehta says:

    Thanks, both Dolly and self saw it together and had a great laugh.



  16. Col Anand says:

    Dear Sir,
    Excellant !!!

    Col Anand, BSc, B Com, LLB

    Managing Director,

    Arumana Hospital,

    Airport Road


    Trivandrum 695008

  17. Maj Gen SC Jain says:

    Respected Sir,
    It is great fun going thru the article.

  18. Brig Dharam Prakash says:

    Correct you have captured the sentiments of our better half that’s why they are better.

  19. Maj Gen Oberoi Ravi Raj says:

    Forwarded to friends

  20. jag says:

    Indians are so sweet (and smart), K Chauth proves this. Another view could be that they are ludicrous, and superstitious.

    The video is of course classical comedy. Thanks.

  21. Billoo Brar says:

    Very well brought out by Sharma. How appropriate.

    Best of luck. Be happy and cheerful always. We all love u a lot.

    Cheeeeeeeeers………………………….God bless.

  22. Nirmal Mahajan says:


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