So it is Ramadan – used to be Ramzan when I was a child! Do not know how it became Ramadan?
Ramzan or Ramadan – the memories are many.
Do you remember your first roza? I do not. I remember the first roza of my sister though. My Grandmother made her Gulab Jamans and Jalabis which she did not do for me.
My childhood memories of Ramadan go back to me begging and urging Mom to let me fast for all my cousins and friends were doing so. My Mom stance was why fast if you are not required to do but for me fasting was a competition too which I was failing. What I never thought even for a second, in my continuous state of rage, that relapses of typhoid have left me frail. Fasting could have be lethal.
Mom would not have made me feel physically disadvantaged but was prepared to be the target of my fury and frustration. So typical of Moms!
As a teenager, fasting became an enjoyable habit. The family getting together at Sheri at the odd normally unthinkable hour. The occasional cliff-hanger Sheri where everyone’s alarm did not go off till someone got up at the last minute. The full house last Roza Sheri at my grandparents house…to think of this is the first Ramadan without anyone of them. They had a way of accommodating the likes of everyone at the dining table.
How time flies away. Many among us now fast in lands far away. Join us through skype at Sheri though to tell us tales of their diverse fasting hours and Sheri menu. Some fast on pasta, some on coke, some on self made quorma and parathas. All carve for home cooked food and Moms!
As they narrate their Sheri stories, memories of my fasting for six years in Ireland come flashing. Those iftars with much missed friends at the mosque. How eating together from a tray was perfect etiquettes! Those chaotic Sheris where not everyone was in a good mood and not everyone wanted to have the same thing. Those lonely Sheris too where there was much to contemplate over prayers and in terms of food, for cooking at normal hours is barely enjoyed, at those hours Coffee, Pastry and Pizza sufficed.
Hallmark of my fasting has been accelerating greed with Iftar time approaching. With siblings around, the greed would take shape of emotional blackmailing Mom to have a ten course Iftar after which the thought of food would be shunned till the next Iftar when the agony of yesterday was absolutely forgotten.
With wisdom inflicted by greying hair, has come restraint. Enhanced consideration for the thousands of people unable to have water and bread for Iftar makes the thought of ten course Iftar repulsive. Wasting food when many do not have even anything to fast on is a disliked idea.
Was in my childhood poverty not as rampant or awareness not as widespread or ignorance of childhood so intense that the thought of thousands without food in Ramzan never passed my mind?
I do remember Mom giving sugar, squash, dates etc. to people but those people did not look under nourished. They needed food and drinks but could have had something at home… or maybe not!
Maybe childhood induces fantasies and greying hair compels realism!
It is realism that is compelling sharing the joys of Iftar and Sheri by showing moderation in personal consumption and excessiveness in facilitating others nutrition.
May Allah help us in sharing blessings with others during Ramadan and forever!