Roza - II

I kept Roza for the first time.


Roza is Fasting during Ramadan in the Islam religion. People who keep Roza fast from sunrise to sunset, dawn to dusk. No food or water.

I have written about Roza before. I know about the festival since it was around the corner and some of my close friends keep Roza. Plus I sympathize (And now, I empathize as well) with them because it is very difficult for someone like me.

My brother keeps Roza once in a while every season, for psychological reasons. Since religion is a better motivator (for fasting) than internal motivation (for a diet).

This is the human ideation I will be writing about — A belief in a third party entity, motivated towards something or someone, a bigger entity.


Why did I keep it? A day prior I had a chat with Prof. Tasneem Mirza, a professor at my undergrad university. She has been there for me through thick and thin. As a teacher, as a mentor, as a friend and as someone you look up to as a person.

Since the season was going on, we were having a chat about Roza and I asked how Roza has been for her till now. She smiled and said it had been good.

I quoted a previous conversation about how she wanted to take part in a marathon but was skeptical since she would be keeping the Roza.

Well, she made it through the marathon and she felt so proud about that. And frankly, so was I.

I was in awe of her and amazed at her spirit. In general, she is someone who pushes me to be better, to learn more, to be an empathetic human being at the end of the day.


Understanding this is tricky.

It was so inspiring to see her. I decided to keep it the next day itself.

Probably, it was for her, sure. But for myself too. Probably a gesture, to be there for her. Not something to show her or tell her, but doing something internally, maybe for my own peace.

Plus, I always wanted to keep one for the experience, like an experiment on what it feels like. But I never felt motivated to do so. This gave me some motivation. It was for her.

I wanted a detox as well.


This is an incomplete list of things it taught me.

  • It is very easy to give up.

It is fairly easy to just not start. You need motivation to keep going. External or Internal, doesn't matter.

As I look at it, internal motivation might wear off. External motivation tends to keep us going, temporarily. A third unknown powerful entity — It can be External Validation (CTC, Social validation and a hundred other shiny things) or if we zoom out a little, then religion as well.

Something to believe in to keep you going.

Maybe this is what I leveraged this time, my respect for religion because people like my mother or Tasneem Ma'am believe in it.

  • Energy Optimisation.

The morning itself was lethargic to go through. I almost thought I would give up, but something kept me going when I thought about the motivation.

Although, I desperately needed to optimize energy. I needed energy.

Usually, the body defaults to eating or drinking for some quick energy (analogous: Instant Gratification).

Now, since that wasn't an option; I just took a long and deep breath.

I could feel I was seizing every ripple of energy from that air being exchanged at the depth of my alveoli.

And I made it through the second.

Not only that, but subconsciously I was speaking only when it was required.

I knew people drain energy but this day is when I realized. Consciously, I was interacting with people with whom it felt refreshing and warm.

I was on energy-saving mode. I had unlocked a superpower.

  • Realizing the privilege.

It is so easy to just head out and have a meal if you are hungry. Or having four meals in a day.

Or simply drinking water to quench your thirst.

The fact that it is difficult to even sleep if you are hungry or thirsty.

The experience taught me the value of every small thing that has been a constant. It is true what they say, we value things once they disappear.

It taught me humility and to be grateful for the smallest of things.

  • Additional factor in mind.

When I work, I have been trying not to multitask or juggle tasks. (Yet another experiment to increase focus and quality of work?)

Like how doing work, listening to music, and eating simultaneously is multitasking. We are not savoring or enjoying the experience. (Ironic and hypocritic as I write this one listening to songs.)

Although, I have been trying to work with one or a maximum of two things in my mind.

But this day, I constantly had a third factor in mind — hunger and thirst. It was very difficult to focus. Even sleep. Talking to people or scrolling your phone can help.

Distraction is an easy fix.

I went to give an exam in the afternoon, post which I interacted with a few people and it felt as if time disappeared.

  • Our mind drives our decisions, we need to control our mind.

Our bodies can handle anything and everything. It is the mind that is difficult to convince.

Our minds default back to preset decisions.

Our body's reflex responses push to instant gratification. Which is what we have to unlearn.

Our body shouldn't control us, we should control it.

  • Water tastes sweet.

I broke my fast at sunset (about 06:55 PM IST) by eating two dates and drinking water. Water has never felt so sweet.

My mother asked me in the afternoon, what I would like to eat and I said Dal Chaawal (Rice and Lentils). The food was so simple yet so satisfying and fulfilling.

Simple things can make you so happy.

  • Empathy

These realizations help me expand my empathetic exposure a lot.

We don't know what someone is going through.

And everyone is going through something.