People who know me well know that I've never actually fasted in my whole life, although some would say that my regular lunch is not very different from what people eat during their Thursday all-fruit, no-cereal fasts. But this was the first time I formally observed a fast with religious strings attached.
My mother-in-law told me to eat something before sunrise, which is not too easy for me. I normally don't feel particularly hungry before eight or nine in the morning. It was not rare for me to rush off to work after having had only a glass of milk and a banana, and a few almonds. But I did eat a little in the morning, at about half past five. I think it was the first time that my husband and I had breakfast together on a workday.
Given my normal eating habits, which emphasize on a substantial breakfast and a medium sized dinner, with a light lunch or maybe just fruit in between, it was no surprise to me that I didn't actually feel like I was fasting until about six in the evening. I guess it helped that I wasn't working. Well, maybe if I had been working, it would have been even easier since my mind would have been fully occupied. Actually, as a matter of fact, it was. I was reading an extremely gripping book.
If I had been in India, this would have been a major festival. There would have been an elaborate puja. Here, the nearest temple I know of is about twenty miles away and even that is a South Indian one, and South Indians don't observe this fast, to the best of understanding. So I did everything the way any software engineer (I may not be employed, but I am still a software engineer by qualification and by nature) would do it. I looked up the katha online and read it to myself in the late afternoon.
It helps that the weather here is cool so you don't feel too thirsty. But yesterday it was even cooler than usual, with the wind blowing fiercely. The lawn was strewn with hundreds of leaves and dozens of pine cones this morning. It would also help that the moon was supposed to rise much earlier, at 19:09 hours, than in Delhi, if it hadn't been for the thick, grey clouds. But, as a friend of mine puts it, you're not eating, but you're surviving on love. That makes it easy. Or so I think. And I'd like to continue thinking so.