BHOPAL: Like many other things, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way Karwa Chauth is celebrated. Shopping for the big day is out and so are visits to beauty parlours. Joint celebrations are passé.
Free Press spoke to corona warriors - doctors and nurses - in the city to know how they will celebrate the festival while performing their arduous duties. All of them said that their work is as important as the festival. Excerpts of their views:
Won’t take leave
As a pathologist, Dr Renu handles samples of suspected corona patients. Her husband Dr IK Chugh retired as civil surgeon of Bhopal. She lives in a joint family and for past many years, she has been fasting and celebrating the day with 35-40 women including relatives, friends and neighbours. It was like a get-together, which they enjoyed a lot, especially those who were keeping fast for first time. Last year, it was her daughter-in-law’s first Karwa Chauth. Dr Renu will fast this year, too. “We will celebrate following all corona-protection norms,” she says, adding that she won’t take leave for the day.
- Dr Renu Chugh, pathologist
Dr Shubhra is an assistant professor at a local dental college. She has been fasting for her life partner Dr Brijendra, a doctor, for seven years. Every year, she used to go shopping. This time, she has opted for online shopping and family members would be applying henna to each other. Also, she will perform rituals only with her mother. Earlier, she joined a group of dozen odd women for puja. “Is baar Karwa Chauth thodi phiki rahegi but it’s okay. Puja hai to karna hi padegi,” she says.
- Dr Shubhra Singh, assistant professor
Will do puja alone
Swati is incharge of Covid Block-1 at Hamidia Hospital. She has been fasting for nine years for her husband Mahendra Joshi, an engineer. It is quite challenging to fast while performing one’s duty, she says. Earlier, her shift lasted for six hours but now it extends to eight or nine hours. Also, fasting while wearing PPE kit is a tough job, she says. But she will do it because she doesn’t want to miss it. Hers is a nuclear family and she used to perform puja rituals with other families every year. But no one wants to take risk this time. “So, I will do it alone at my house,” she says.
- Swati Joshi, nurse
Dr Ambika is a professor in Rishiraj College of Dental Science and Research Centre, Bhopal. This will be her tenth Karwa Chauth. Her husband Dr Siddharth Gupta is also her colleague at the college. She says usually she used to take part in puja at a community hall with about 30 women. The older women used to narrate the Karva Chauth katha and they all listened. But this year, they will perform puja at their houses.
- Dr Ambika Shrivastava, professor
Can’t leave either
Shivradi’s duty is in Covid ward at Hamidia Hospital. She is in quarantine but may go for morning duty if required. She has been fasting for 10 years for her husband who runs a pathology lab. She says festival comes once a year but her work is equally important. “So, I can’t leave either,” she says. She lives in a joint family. She used to go shopping and visit a beauty parlour every year but this time she didn’t do it due to virus threat. She will celebrate the day alone at her house. “Yah Karva Chauth haar baar ki tarah nahi hai,” she says.
- Shivradi Bhalavi Thakur, nurse