I fast on Mondays. That is, I skip breakfast and lunch – I have my first sip of tea after sunset, after which I thank God even for the lousy snack they offer at office in the evenings because I feel so grateful for it. This blog is not about why I fast and whether I believe in fasting spiritually or otherwise. I am writing this merely because I want to share my fasting experience per say. It is about 4-5 weeks now since I started this and it does get better with each week. By better I mean it is getting slightly easier for me to go through the entire day with only water intake as each week passes.
But I still crave. It starts with a craving for food in the morning – a slice of bread, a bite of a hot parantha. I brush the thoughts away. By lunchtime, all I crave for is a cup of tea or coffee. By tea time, a dull throbbing builds itself in my forehead and my tummy starts grumbling. It becomes difficult for me to concentrate on work so I walk around a bit, chitchat with friends and try to divert my mind. It works – for a while. By 5pm, I feel the existence of each muscle in my body. As I walk I feel a low pit in my abdomen and my heart starts pounding. I get highly restless but I keep fighting the feeling and avoid thinking about it. By 7pm I start relaxing a bit as I know that the evening tea is just 30 min away. By 7 20, I almost stop bothering – I almost feel like it won’t make much of a difference if I skip dinner too.
But when I go to the dining room of my office with my friends, pour a cup of tea, take a snack from the sweet bhaiya who always serves it to us with a smile, I feel overwhelmed. The relief I get with the first sip of tea is so immense I feel tears prickling my eyes. I bow my head and thank the heavens – feeling eternally grateful for every drop of tea and every morsel of food that I get each day.
I come home and light the diyas in the little mandir of my home. I sit there for a while chanting the shlokas – almost mechanically, yet feeling the peace around me. As the shlokas come out of my lips, always the same tunes at the fast pace, I become the kid who sat on the floor with mummy and babu, sincerely singing the hymns along with them. I cannot muster that sincerity anymore no matter how hard I try. My mind wanders here and there now… and I bring it back each time. I have a soft voice that used to get buried in my mum’s chants. Even today, I hear my mother’s voice in my head as I pray. I think that is what brings me the peace.
With all the load lifted off my shoulders, I have dinner with my hubby. With a light heart and a heavy stomach, I end the day by watching some old sitcom or reading a book or playing candy crush. I eat, pray and love – that is how I spend my Mondays 🙂