Every time I hear someone in my office talking about their ‘fasting day’ , I have a confused look written all over my face. Especially when I see them gorging on biscuits which they claim can be eaten during ‘fasts’. What was the idea behind staying hungry for an entire day, that too partially? My colleague whines that I get the tastiest stuff for lunch while she is on a fast. Somehow, this has never gone down well with me, although I do respect other people’s opinions and their faith attached to ‘fasting’. I never like the idea of holding the Almighty to ransom by forgoing a day’s meal.
The major days for undergoing a fast is Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. (why leave out the remaining three days and make them feel worthless! Never mind…) The concept of religious fasting is as old as the planet earth and Hindus are not strangers to this phenomenon. Some do it to fulfill their wishes, few do it for a spiritual enlightenment and some, to simply shed off their pounds! I was never an advocate of the ‘fasting trend’ as I never quite understood the selective restrictions. For example, you can indulge in a packet of hot fried potato chips while you are fasting!! Huh! Or treat yourself to a plate of Sago Khichdi. Who made these fancy rules ? And if you are constantly stuffing yourself , how are you fasting, for that matter?
Recently ,when we happened to witness the spectacular lunar eclipse and the world was going bonkers about the astronomical vision, some of my friends decided to fast on that fateful day! I was amused beyond explanation. Staying hungry because the moon decides to play hide and seek for a while!! And then it’s a different ball game altogether with people throwing or giving away food cooked on the previous day, emptying water cans and thus emptying the house of the lunar dosh. Gosh, I can write an entire post on some of the weirdest superstitions which we Indians believe in.
I always used to ask my mom about who decides what one decides what to eat while fasting…quite an irony, I know. She used to give me blank stares followed by angry ones. Not that I cannot starve myself, but I do not see a logic to it. I can understand abstaining from meat or alcohol as it gives your system a much-needed break, but going without food is simply going to give out embarrassing stomach growls. So while the entire nation decides to go hungry, including Baba Ramdev, I believe in living to the fullest and let the Almighty do the same! Amen