What is the difference between fasting and feasting? Just the letter E . ''tis season to fas, It is time for so many fasts that it bewilders me , who never understood the word FAST unless suffixed with FOOD. Ramzan, Navaratra, Lent you name it, it is time for fasting. Once I naively thought fasting meant staying away from food. I was (mis)guided by all those politicians who went on fast unto death and emerged a few kilos heavier. After Mahatma Gandhi who took his fasts quite seriously, it has become something of a joke, these political fasts. It One such fasting guy was once caught feasting on biryani. Others might have done that too, to end it all with a glass of orange juice to digest the heavy stuff. Religious fasting days are at least more open. You are actually allowed to EAT! As long as you follow crtain Thou Shalt Not of course. Take Navratra fasts. People actually gain a lot of weight during the period because there is food that is not food with which you can stuff yourself upto the gills, Rice and wheat and lentils are food. No problem my dear! substitute them with buckwheat or chesnut flour. Make ghee laden paranthas or puris out of them . Voila! it is time to party! Thie diary rich meal is washed down with halwa or kheer. This reminds me of my mother's vaikuntha Ekadashi fast , Fast here is jusst printer's devil for feast. Rice was taboo. So what? There's wheat. We god ghee laden methi (fenugreek) parathas of potato stuffed one. instead of the usual Sambhar , rice and rasam. Later my ever inventive mom discovered (invented?) a loophole in the scriptures, While rice is taboo, if you roast the rice, taboo gets evaporated in the heat, And sigh, we were back to boring south Indian fare even on Ekadashi. And lent fasting means for Christians staying away from meat. This means mutton , chicken, beef pork etc but not Fish. During the period marine life gets seriously endangered.At least those keeping Ramzan fast are a little more serious about it., not touching food or water between sunrise and sunset, Oh . never mind the pre-sunrise and post-sunset gourmandizing. You see, there is always a party during fasts cutting across religious spectrum. So yousee, fasting includes feasting , Only thr E is invisible in the former. but excess of latter could become a war against your alimentary canal and could lead to you being forced to be on a fasting routine, without the invisible E.