To fast or not to fast

16 Nov

By now, you all must have discovered that I am a food fanatic. If I had to write a slogan below my name, it undoubtedly has to be – “Loves to eat and lives to eat”. I literally live to eat and not the other way round. No matter how mad I’m, it will never result in skipping a meal. On the contrary, I might hog more than usual to console my agitated soul. Food to me is therapeutic. I just remembered this incident where I had a fall during my 3rd month of pregnancy. I was waiting outside a shop as Abbas and his friends had gone to buy gift for the reception we were about to attend. Everybody insisted that I go back home, but I persisted to go. Nay, I neither knew the bride nor the groom in person. The sole reason was not to miss the Bengali fare that was waiting for me there. I had the best ‘Fish Paturi’ ever and the taste still lingers in my mind!

Having given the glimpse of my food fetish, lemme come to the agenda of this post.

RM did a post on fasting a while long ago which triggered so many memories related to my experience with fasting. Here goes:

Pre-marriage, my (food fixated) family never fasted. There were some fasts during pujas or festivals which meant no-onion, no-garlic or no-rice. That was it about fasts, not anything more than that. That was however for adults and no such restrictions for kids.

Post-marriage, when the month of Ramzan was approaching I secretly consulted Abbas. He advised to fast only if I wished to. Being the ‘Notun Bou’ (newly wed DIL) of the house and looking at everybody else’s enthusiasm about fasting, I decided to give it a shot. Early before sunrise, Ma knocked our bedroom door and I woke up, freshened up and ‘tried hard’ to shove the morsels in. After a while, IL’s hurried “Eat fast. There’s not much time left”. I could not eat any more. Ma said “Drink water. Quick quick” Time was up. All I wanted to do was hit the bed again. Ma said “Repeat after me” and mumbled some Sura which I obediently replicated, sleeping with my eyes open. The hard-hitting time began as soon as I woke up after the sun rise. I was not even supposed to drink water. It was as though someone had restricted me from breathing. My li’l niece was there with us then and when she was served her meal, I uncontrollably drooled over her plate. I swore not to fast again. That evening when we broke our fast, FIL asked me “Seema, are you going to fast tomorrow?” I didn’t know how to put across my No for an answer. I was not gonna say Yes anyway. “Mmm… Pata Nahi” (I dunno) seemed to be the safest bet at that moment. FIL said “At least try to fast on Fridays”. That whole month I somehow fasted for 2 more days. (FYI, Abbas does not fast!)

So, in my 5 years of married life, all in all I have fasted for 6 days during Ramzan. I have not fasted for a single day during the last two years. I did not feel the need to punish myself in the name of God. What is the point in starving if it stops my mind and body from functioning? This year, Ma was with us during Ramzan and she fasted alone. Though Abbas and I genuinely felt for her when we hogged those Luchis and fish curries during weekends in her presence, we did not have any internal voice calling out to give her company. Somewhere I had read / heard a quote which is on these lines – “Don’t watch what is going into your mouth. Instead watch what is coming out of your mouth, for that is going to create a lasting impact”. Now this is what I say to all those people who advocate me on the importance of fasting!


Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Uncategorized


22 responses to “To fast or not to fast

  1. garima

    November 16, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Fasting or no fasting is one’s own decision.It should not be forced on anyone rather should come from within.And its completely fine if one chooses not to fast for God will be happy if we remember him in our prayers and do good deed!!!


    • Seema

      November 17, 2011 at 10:39 am

      Yes, I too am firm believer in not forcing religious views on others and respect their ways.


  2. Sreetama

    November 16, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    The last line/quote just killed it! Mindblowing! Your post was about fasting but my mind stuck as ‘fish paturi’! It’s been so long since I had paturi!!! 😦


    • Seema

      November 17, 2011 at 10:40 am

      Me too re! It’s been years since I had Paturi. Gotto make it soon.


  3. Tharani

    November 16, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    As I said in RM post, the only day I fast is on Good Friday and it can’t be taken as fasting as I skip only breakfast 🙂
    And the quote summed up the post superbly..


    • Seema

      November 17, 2011 at 10:42 am

      Hehe… that’s okay. I don’t skip any meal at all.


  4. R's Mom

    November 17, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Oh I think the Roza is the most difficult of ALL fasts…really tough!


    • Seema

      November 17, 2011 at 10:50 am

      RM, it certainly is tough but I have seen my ILs doing it with so much ease coz they have the urge to do it and do it with utmost devotion. They don’t even feel tempted when we eat in front of them. (or so they say) I respect their faith and always try to make an elaborate Iftar for them and don’t let Ma do any of the household work during that month. I also participate in a group prayer that they do before breaking fast where they pray for the well being of all. I cannot get myself to doing anything more than that.


  5. Sugar and Spice

    November 17, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I second you, Seema. Totally.

    You’ve actually triggered a lot of memories! I have a very close Muslim friend who used to do this Ramzan fasting. At school, we generally used to have lunch together. But these Ramzan days, it used to be plain embarrassing to eat lunch before her. She would never mind, but for me, it used to be really hard. But one good thing is she would lose a lot of weight after that month. But then, surviving that one month – I doubt if I could ever do that!

    For one, I can never skip a meal. Let alone fasting. And then, for the zillion people who advocate fasting, I am okay with them fasting. After all, its their call. But then, asking others to fast, a complete No-no! Like you, I also believe God didn’t create us for foregoing food.


    • Seema

      November 17, 2011 at 11:03 am

      Same pinch SnS.

      I am okay with anyone fasting. But I do not like it when they judge me because I don’t. Ma and I have an unspoken mutual understanding. She never asked me to fast. When she fasts, I try to cook all that she dislikes for our breakfast and lunch and her favorite stuff for dinner (which is the only proper meal she would have) She is also not allowed to do any of the housework when I am at home. On weekdays, she cooks if she feels like it although I tell her not to. She gives me room to be myself and therefore I try to make things easier for her.


  6. summerscript

    November 17, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Both my mother and myself cannot fast.I tried once but my mind was not in it. I mean I was thinking about food the whole time. So I gave up.
    As Garima says, it should come from within, We cannot force it.


    • Seema

      November 17, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      Yes, these things cannot be forced.

      Welcome here summerscript!


  7. Sam

    November 17, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    :).. I love food too much to fast. When I have tried probably for a day or two its been partially fasting. I tell my mom I will be on a fruit fast for health reasons and end up gobbling 6 apples and 5 bananas. Definitely healthy but fattening. Other days that I have tried, its usually from morning 6 to afternoon 1. At 1, I end my fast:(.


    • Seema

      November 17, 2011 at 1:07 pm

      Hehehe, when fasting even I think of food more than any other day. Reminds me of a quote again “No love is as pure as the the food for love”


  8. RS

    November 17, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    wow! I like it – the fact that I ahve someone who has the same beliefs as me – for me fasting is something that I should do it myself – anyone telling me to do it – will never get done. Also, I dont believe in fasting to show faith in God/Guru! I read somewhere too that no God asks you to fast – because when you think of God you should do it with devotion and concentration which you will not have on a stomach that is demanding food!

    Thats why they say “Anna Parabrahma” 🙂


    • Seema

      November 18, 2011 at 11:53 am

      Yes, anyone telling me to do it, I might end up not doing it while I might as well have done it otherwise!

      “when you think of God you should do it with devotion and concentration which you will not have on a stomach that is demanding food” – So so true.

      I cannot do any work or be normal on an empty stomach.

      Glad to know you share the same belief.


  9. Pepper

    November 18, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    What an awesome post. Especially loved the ending.


  10. Little Fingers

    November 19, 2011 at 3:01 am

    I can never fast myself and never tried, no one has forced me till now so no pressure, but I see many people around who does it. I don’t ask them not to do, because if you are happy abt certain beliefs then why should we stop them from that rt?


    • Seema

      November 21, 2011 at 11:46 am

      Yes, respecting others’ religious beliefs is very important.



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