It is that time of the year again. When the devout fast and feast, pray and celebrate. I see so many Ramzan Mubarak posts on my news feed and so many heartfelt messages for this month full of blessings. It makes me nostalgic for my childhood. For all the Ramzans spent at home with my parents and siblings. It’s pure torture waking up at that hour (not just waking up but EATING) but something so charming about a home that is fully lit at 4am. About whiling away time during those difficult, long, hot summer rozas and then through those short sweet, easy-peasy winter rozas. (I’m 35, so I have literally come full circle). I reminisce back to the days when my siblings made fun of my supremely grumpy face at sehri. I miss the togetherness.
Those precious few snoozes between sehri and school/college. Those games we played in the Hockey field at school, all sweaty and with parched throats. Those cosy afternoon naps till a rushed asr prayer and iftari. Those long faces asking God for EVERYTHING in those few precious minutes before iftari. The countdown to Eid. When Eid was just bursting at the seams with festivities.
Why am I reminiscing u ask? I’m not dead yet. Ramzan is the same.
Except it’s not.
I’m reminiscing because I’m an adult now. All grown up and in charge. I’m supposed to be responsible or at least fake it. Responsible for another human being who doesn’t know I’m tired/sleepy/thirsty/hungry. He’s two years old. And the tantrums. Wow.
And those beautiful funky festive Ramzans are no more. Heck it’s not even called Ramzan anymore.
Somewhere along the way I lost Ramzan. I got a job, got married, had a baby. Ramzan translated into a cranky boss, traffic jams, flaring tempers, impossible fruit prices and sehr-iftar deals. Maybe it’s my imagination but over the last few decades self-righteousness amongst the masses also increased. With almost everyone now it’s ‘my way or the highway’. Barelvi, shia, deobandi, salafi… the demarcations became more pronounced and the rituals all but faded. Heinous words like ‘Ehtaram e Ramzan Ordinance’ sprouted everywhere. People started parking cars in the middle of the road outside masjids because ‘fasting + prayer = immense favour on mankind’. The relationship between man and God became impersonal. Fasting became more about starvation and an exercise in controlling the hunger pangs rather than an exercise in self-improvement. Somewhere in the transition from Khuda Hafiz to Allah Hafiz, I lost my Ramzan. I want it back.
So I pray. I pray that I am able to bring back the real festivity. To let my son understand and know the difference- primarily between being a good human being and a good Muslim. It should be the same thing but sadly on the ground-level it’s not. I need him to understand that rozas are about self-restraint in all spheres. And not in a punishing way but in a liberating one. A lot of people can’t or choose not to fast, please don’t judge them. It’s all about your personal relationship with God and really no one’s business. Try and be as nice as you possibly can. And mind your own business. That’s the real essence of it all.
Disclaimer: This post is about my personal experience and in no way a jibe at a person, a class, a sect or a religion. If you don’t like what I say here, I apologize if I hurt your sentiments, please don’t pelt my home with rotten eggs.