Sunday, August 23, 2009

Memories of Ramazan

From today, begins the holiest month of the Islamic calendar. To the Muslims all across the world, this is not only the month of self restraint, but this is the month when Muslims ask for forgiveness for the past sins and pray more often then regular, as the rewards are manifolded in this sacred month. So, as I have nothing to do since morning (no eating, no drinking and therefore no nature's call itself :-), so I thought of just sneaking into the past and relive some of the old memories, which are associated with this holy month.

I remember the very first time, I did fast was when I was 11-12 years old. My younger sister had already practised this in the previous year, so I was kind of feeling humiliated within myself . This year, I must do it. Also, there was the feeling that if I do fast, I am grown up, I am no longer a kid, I am also fasting like the elder do :-) Even though there was no compulsion from my parents, but it was a challenge for me within myself. So, it all started very good, the lunch time passed smoothly. It was all going fine until the afternoon. As my mother started preparation for the Iftar (the evening meal we take to break the fast), the smells of good sweet dishes were flowing all over the house & it was raising the bar of the difficulty level for me with each passing second. That is the first time, I remember when I realized how long each second, each minute can be. Anyway, finally the TIME came for Iftari and what a sense of achievement!! I still remember the feeling when I drank the first drop of water, it was as if the whole world surrounding me was cooled down, as if some one poured a big bucket of cold water over the universe. That day, I literally understood why water is called an another alternative of "life". So many Ramazan have passed by since then, but that very moment of drinking water after a day long fasting is very much live inside me!!

I remember I never liked going to my Mama bari (maternal uncle's house) during Ramazan. They had a big joint family of over 50 members and it was a Herculean task to prepare the Iftar for all the people who were fasting. So, we the kids only used to get the left over after all the fasting people were well served and I was not satisfied. Where did it mention that if we are not fasting, we should not get our share of Iftar ,too? And as a trick, the elders encouraged us to play outside till late evening, even though in other months, there was a strict rule as what time we should be back from business (playing)!!.

Once this holy month is over and the new moon is observed (which means tomorrow is the Eid-ul-fitr), I actually go through a mixed feeling. I feel happy that the month of restriction is over but on the other side, I feel sad that one more Ramazan has passed by. This month, the blessings from the Almighty becomes manifolded and the believers pray more and more to extract the most benefit out of it. So I feel sad whether I have utilised this month to the maximum, whether I have secured enough points to secure my place in the heaven, whether I will get to see the next Ramazan. But as the day goes by, a new day comes and we start celebrating the holy Eid, we prepare to live our normal lives for the next 11 months until the next Ramazan comes.

Finally I would like to end with a relatively funny story. Once I was returning from US & I was fasting. By the time, when I boarded the flight, there were still 2 hrs to go before I could break my fast. As soon as the flight took off, we were served evening snacks and I just kept them aside to wait for the Iftar timing. There was an American old lady sitting beside me. Now I realized that the lady had already started having her meal but after some time she stopped & asked me,

"Why are not you having your meal"?
"I am fasting because of our religious belief, and I can eat only after 6.30pm", I explained.
As soon as the lady heard this, she was like shaken, got bit scared, kept her meal aside and sat silently.
Being curious, I asked her,
"Why did you stop having your meal"?
The lady replied, "You are fasting, and if I eat in front of you, what if your GOD curses me"!!

I was totally taken aback, but quickly realized it would not be decent enough to laugh in front of her.I calmly explained her it was OK, if she eats in front of me. There was no problem either with me or with my GOD and the GOD will also not punish her. Being ascertained, she continued having her meals & I just smiled :-)

**************Added Later ******************************

How could I forget my memories of Hyderabad, where I had spent more than half a decade!! I doubt in India, there is any city better than Hyderabad to be during the month of Ramazan. Be it the famous Haleem or the Khurbani ka Meetha (I think I got the spelling correct) or the numerous Chicken/Mutton dishes available almost at every corner of the city during Ramazan. I wish I could just go there, spend this one month and again come back, I am really missing Hyderabad and its Haleem beyond words!!

Also, how could I forget my good old friend Motorola!! I should be severely punished for this!! Even though we used to pray our daily prayers together in the office, but the month of Ramazan was special. Everyone used to get something, which we would then share among ourselves during Iftar, the true spirit of brotherhood:-) These are all history now, gradually becoming faded memories...

Please do share your memories of
Ramazan

19 comments:

  1. Happy Ramzan...
    I do not have many memories of ramzan except the holiday we used to get. I however, used to be full of awe for my friends who used to fast and even watch us eat chocolates without looking uncomfortable at all. Your experience with the elderly lady, is quite amusing...:)

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  2. Thanks a nice post!Yes the memories of the first roza are very special, and leave a mark for us to cherish for a life time:)
    Happy Ramzan,May the month bring in a lot of joy and peace in your life.

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  3. Happy Ramzan Bhai.... Each post is really interesting :) !! Keep going :)

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  4. First of all let me wish u
    Happy Ramzan
    May God Bless u...

    You knw i always wonder how can u spend your whole day without water..which I think is the toughest thing....

    seriously...

    anyways.. u knw the best part is...God actually give power to face ths..

    Hv a great day!!

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  5. you know something which really baffles me is the strength of will, and ramzan and the religious spirit behind it is a great example for the strong will and power of human will.

    Even though i do not follow islam, and have never really participated in festivities of ramzan, [Sneaking in on someone's iftar is not really participation :)], I have always liked the idea of passion behind these festivities..just shows if we want, we can do anything

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  6. I have never fasted in my life so really do not know the feeling. I have spent my childhood in Muscat though and it is not allowed to eat in front of Muslims during this month. So the old lady was not needlessly scared. Moreover, it is really bad manners to eat in front of a person who is fasting. But again, this is my opinion.
    I hope you have a happy Ramzan.

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  7. @Destiny's child,

    Thanks :-), yes that experience with the old lady was something never before.

    @A New Beginning,

    Thanks for your wishes & I wish the same to you,too.

    @Deepthi,

    You keep visiting:D, no latest posts from your side!! What's up?

    @Pallav,

    Yes, according to the belief, GOD does make it easier for us. But if you want to look at it and find out the reason acceptable by all, the answer is that the human body & mind is an incredible thing, we never know what it is capable of until we try.Even I am still clueless how kids of 10-12 yrs of age can do this for a whole long month, I could never think that in my age.

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  8. @Rambler,

    Thanks for dropping by. You have answered to yourself, it is nothing but just the will power. It actually proves we can do almost anything, if there is a honest thought & sincere effort!!

    @Aparna,

    Hmm, you might be true explaining that lady's behavior. I thought only in Saudi Arabia, they have this rule, not aware of any other country following it.Because Islamic country like Pakistan, Bangladesh does not follow this for sure.

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  9. so interesting! happy Ramzan!

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  10. Wishing you find all the blessings of this holy month!

    Ramadan is one month which is intended for the purification of the human mind.and nothing better than fasting a day with lot of srictness can carve out a good human being!

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  11. This was an unusual combination...interesting and informative...very nice!

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  12. Ramadan Mubarak ... May Allah bless us all and bestow us with peace and happiness..

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  13. Although I am not a Muslim, I have many friends who are, and I have the utmost respect and admiration for them and for for you who willingly and happily fast for the sake of your faith.

    My memories of Ramzan and more about the wonderful haleem that would be cooked and sold in shops around Park Circus in Kolkata. The aroma was wonderful.

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  14. @Cathy, Tanima, Nimmy

    Thank you very much :-)

    @Whysoserious,

    I had already read few of your posts and I was instantly hooked :-)

    @Zaida,

    Yes, even if I keep the religious point of view aside, Ramazan teaches you a hell lot of self control which you otherwise might not have ever achieved, it teaches us how to survive in the worst condition with bare minimum necessities available.

    @Sucharita,

    Yes, those haleem in Park circus area specially in Zeeshan was special. I had stayed in Hyderabad in the past & their haleem is the most famous and quite different in taste from that of Kolkata, but Kolkata haleem is unique in its style.

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  15. Hey Mustaf...

    Happy Ramzan... this time away from Hyd during the month, therefore missing my plates of Haleem...

    Cya and nice memories!!
    Ash

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  16. Ramazan kareem, though I know its a bit late!! This is the second time I have spent Ramadan in hostel and its just NOT the same. I grew up in Jeddah and I believe that to be the best city to be in during ramadan. We used to go to Makkah every alternate or so as well! I miss it. YOur post reminded me of my times there.

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  17. @Zeba,

    Ramzan mubarak to you too :-) you used to go Makkah on alternative days..you are so lucky!! I am yet to visit there..and yes celebrating Ramzan in any place other than your home goes not bring that original flavor :-(

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