Once Zak Milo travelled with Omar, the taxi driver, towards Jaipur.
Zak Milo: "You know Omar, do you have anything similar in India, like we, in the west, have ‘Valentine’s Day.’”
“Of course, and much better, we call that day KarvaChauth," said Omar.
"On that particular day wife shows her love for her husband, and in India that symbolizing the love between a husband and wife, even knowing husband does not do anything special on that day.
Zak: "What do you mean the husband does not do anything? I do not understand it?"
Omar: "Of course you don't understand Zak. It's different from your culture and probably something you have not seen yet in your life."
"On that day my wife would fast all day for me," Omar continued proudly: "From sunrise to moonrise…and pray for my safety and for me to have a long and healthy life. Because, you know Zak, what is important for us, husband and wife in love, to live as long as possible and to be with each other as long as possible. That is what matters for us, Zak."
"So what exactly does your wife do?"
"OK, this is how it goes."
"On the day of the fast, KarvaChauth day, my wife would wake up early in the morning, before the sunrise and she would have something to eat and drink. And after that, the fast would begin, and she would not eat or drink anything for the rest of the day."
"And Zak you know what..," Omar's voice rose up: "She would dress up into the best clothes she would buy especially for that occasion, and…and mostly into my favourite colours, red, gold or orange, and...oh my Lord Shiva...she would look so beautiful."
"And also Zak...and at the end of the day, she would perform ‘fera’ ceremony for me."
"She would fill up the vessel with water, and look at the reflection of the moon in the water through a sieve. And after that, she would offer that water to the moon to get a blessing for me, Zak. And after that, she will turn to me to see my face. And she would do that seven times."
"You have no idea how I feel at that time, Zak. My heart would bit up like crazy and wanted to pop out of my chest and I am so proud that I have a wife like that,...the wife that I love so much...I love her so much Zak," Omar's eyes get watery again and the voice shaky:”…and, that whole ritual shows me once more that my wife is the most beautiful woman in the world for me and she is the only person in the entire Universe I need to be happy."
"And…after that Zak, I would slowly take water from thali and give her the first sip of the water for the whole day and I would feed her sweets with my fingers."
"And Zak...at that moment I feel like the happiest guy on the planet...and I feel like, as they say in the songs…I can fly to the Moon...that's how happy I am."
And Omar started singing the famous song from Frank Sinatra.
"But sometimes Zak...,"Omar stopped singing: "When the weather is gloomy and cloudy...and night is dark…we cannot see the Moon, and my wife who was starving for me all day cannot brake that fast unless she sees the moon. And my heart is broken at that time Zak. And we wait together looking into the sky, and we hold hands and hug, and wait...for the moon to come. But thanks to our Lord Shiva that does not happen very often. I worship you my Lord Shiva for that," and Omar put the hands into prayer position at heart.
"And Zak...I must tell you this too, as you mentioned you are an economist by trade," Omar said laughing.
"You know,…these big car companies...they are trying to exploit our beautiful KarvaChauth, and they try to sell convertible or cars with a sunroof to the people during that festival, so the husbands would buy the car and drive their wives around the city while waiting for the Moon to come. And the husbands who don't do that or they do not have money to buy the new car would feel guilty and less worthy and maybe even ashamed of not being able to provide that luxury to their wives. But that does not have any influence on me, Zak, hahaha," Omar continued laughing.
"I don't care about the car with a sunroof; I have my motorbike hahaha. The love between me and my wife is what matters and not the car, and...I would advise all the husbands in the World…and not just in India, to do the same haha."
Drazen Milosevic is a Europe born New Zealand based writer, who in his own words is in love with India and have travelled extensively within India in a taxi and during that process have written 36 stories on his experiences on love and culture between the west and India.