Sweety goes to an Iftaar party
New Delhi, Aug.8 (ANI): The Ramzaan month should really be in December.
I mean, that is the time one can really enjoy Iftaar parties. I don't know why it is held in the hot and humid month of August. My hair is a mess and I feel so tired and all. Not that I am fasting or something, just that I have many Muslim friends who are fasting and they invite me to their Iftaar parties. I never refuse them. See, it is a very sensitive issue.
I am a very secular person no; I don't like to hurt anybody from another religion. Why, my cousin was once dating a Muslim boy and, I never made any snide remarks. I even had them over for dinner once and stayed clear of any talk of 'us' and 'them'. I dropped a few 'subhanallahs' and 'mashallahs' so that he felt at home. I am very considerate you know.
Today, I have to go to Shehnaz's (Shez) home. She lives in Malcha Marg, so, I have to make sure I dress appropriately, she usually has some diplomats and politicians around. I will wear the Pakistani suit that Witty brought for me from Lahore when she went there for some South Asian peace seminar. Love the intricate embroidery on it. My tailor and butcher are also Muslims. Their work is so clean and precise.
So, here I am now at Shez's Iftaar party. How do they all look so happy when they have been fasting? I would be so crabby if I hadn't eaten all day. Self restraint isn't really my thing as you would have guessed by now. Shehnaz says that fasting during Ramzaan purifies the soul. Oh and some of the fashionable ones call it Ramadan these days, it sounds very Arab to me.
During Ramzaan, Shez and her family wake up at 4 a.m. and eat their Sehri, a largish breakfast. The kids eat burgers, she eats K special, and her husband gorges on greasy parathas made by Shez's mother-in-law. They fast all through the day, only to break it in the evening after prayers.
Shez's mother-in-law is a Hindu but she married a Muslim way back in the 60's. She never converted to Islam. But Shez tells me Aunty knows more about Ramadan oops Ramzaan, (see how even I automatically adopted the fashionable mode) than Muslims.
I sat next to this genteel lady and asked her about how the Ramzaan fast is different from or similar to the Hindu fasts that she also observes. There are rigid rules she tells me of when to eat and when not. But the more important aspect of the Roza or fasting is that one is expected to be of pure thought and action, not lose one's temper, no violence, no greed. The Koran tells you not to be immoral during this period (shouldn't one be that way always, I wonder, silently).
All this sounds more difficult to me than the mere abstinence from food. For example, if I have to get my driving license made during Ramzaan, how am I supposed to do it without paying a bribe? If I am a Member of Parliament, how am I supposed to attend Parliament and not lie? If I am a businessman investing in the stock market, how am I not supposed to be greedy? If I am a Hurriyat (Kashmiri separatist) leader, how am I expected to not incite people to violence? If I am a diplomat, how do I say that India-Pakistan talks were frank, yet cordial?
Aunty smiles at me and says, "Sweety my dear, you ask too many questions.
It is just like the karwa chauth fast that you keep for your husband's long life.
Tell me why you keep it." Now, I was quite ready with the answer. "I fast because my mother-in-law told me to. And, it is such fun. I buy a new shiny outfit, apply henna, new jewellery, smartly dressed women get together in the evening and sing songs and crack jokes, I make my husband feel so guilty...it is all good fun." Aunty smiles. "And, the praying for your husband?"
"That too," I reply awkwardly while I sip on Rooh Afza which ought to taste awfully sweet, but is now bitter, but I smile appreciatively. Meanwhile, a fat plump girl comes and plonks herself next to me and introduces herself as Sameena. She is Shez's cousin from Sopore, she says. "Is that in West Delhi?" I asked. With a withering look, she replies, "Err no, it is in Kashmir." Now, how was I to know? I ask her if she was fasting? She replied, "Hell no! Why do you think I am in Delhi in this miserable weather? It is to escape from the Ramzan fasts. I am not even allowed to smoke back home. Bah! We are off to the Blue Bar after this Iftaar, want to join us?"
Sameena sounds just like my friend Witty(Upasana) who gets irritated with my fasting during Navratras. Witty Chaturvedi is a rebel because of the strict religious atmosphere in her home. Witty smokes, drinks alcohol and wears outrageous outfits during the navratras just to irritate her mother. In fact, she rarely does all this before or after the festive season.
Festivals seem to bring out the worst in us, I think silently. I get up to go find Shez, my sweet sweet friend. She is nice and considerate all year long, not just during the Ramzaan month. By Smita Prakash (ANI)
Read More: South West Delhi | South Goa | Malcha Marg | Sehri | Sopore | Sopore Chowk Ndso | Met , Sopore | Nandi Marg | D.k Marg | Roza Yakubpur | Aligarh Muslim University | Sehri Madangarhi | K N Marg Po | M G Marg Po | K G Marg | S R Marg | Shah Alam Roza | Roza Tankaria | Muslim Street | Chirai Muslim Edbo | Koran Sarai
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