I love eating. Now just to prove it to you, I’m not going to marry the owner of a fast food joint. But believe me, I really love it. And by “it” I’m referring to food here, not marriage.
Right from the time we are born, we have our nutrition charts made directing us to focus on balanced diet. But, we all know how appealing the ‘greenies’ are, and how a road-side, spice-laden chaat attracts our taste-buds. And so the balance tumbles off the diet.
But some of the Motivated Beings, Great Souls, and Mahatmas have their reason to not eat anything; to abstain from food completely and go on a fast; to depend on their ‘inner energy/inspiration’ for survival.
I am not much of a foodie, but this very idea baffles me. Eating nothing? C’mon, nowadays restaurants give discounts and have happy hours too!
Fasting can have various motives as their driving principle, depending on the person undertaking the fast. If a fast is related to a poor person, he/she fasts because he/she is in deteriorating conditions. If a rich person fasts, he/she is fitness conscious. And if a person from the middle class fasts, he/she may have a score of reasons, ranging from political to spiritual to social or financial.
Fasting is an age-old tradition, cutting across racial and national boundaries, and is often undertaken as a mark of devotion, protests or insufficiency.
Many religions of the world advocate undertaking of fasts to attain spiritual purification, to feel ‘God consciousness’ and to have a sound and balanced mind, body and soul. But food is also considered as a gift of God, so why reject such a great gift? Instead of abstaining, if we appreciate the gift to its full value that will be a better form of devotion; donating food to those already fasting forcedly, because of economic or social backwardness.
Fasting is believed to have therapeutic effects also. There are many scientific studies claiming alternate-day fasts can help increase lifespan, as it helps control calorie intake, and controls some serious sounding, strongly scientific-worded actions in body and helps improve the quality of life.
That might be true. But then there are dishes and food materials available which helps to maintain fitness and keep our body healthy. There are probiotic dairy products, sugar-free sweeteners, and so on.
In fact, many dietitians advise proper intake of food, instead of skipping meals, for a healthy life.
Fasting is also undertaken as a mode of protest. A two-year old may refuse to eat if his favorite toy is not bought. A teen may refuse to eat for a whole lot of reasons and this mode of protests carries on with age and personality. The world over, from a great time in history to present, people choose to suppress their hunger to press their demands.
Indian history has so many examples, from freedom struggle to the recent Anna Hazare’s battle against corruption; they are all driven by this non-violent mode of protest.
I, however, would rather protest by eating up everything on offer and more to show my hunger for justice. As I said, I am not much of a foodie, but I do like filling up as and when required.
Being a practicing Muslim, I observe the month of Ramadan and fast during it, and wish for a blessed month. But then I am brutal at Iftar. I lavishly spread my plate, design it with French toasts, brim my glass with sherbet, pick up the finest bread rolls and have a sumptuous meal. This is followed by dinner and a pre-dawn mini-feast called Sehri. All in all, I make up for all my day’s loss, the very same day.
Fasting as a hobby/protest is a distant thought for me, for reasons already stated.
So, while the world may fast, I am ordering four boxes of fast foods, which they promise will be delivered fast. That’s the power of food.