Ramadhaan Nostalgia | Latest Arab News

My earliest Ramadhaan memory is of my father taking me outside post suhoor to show me the owls along the backyard wall. Above me, a cold, starlit sky would stretch; along the eastern sky, day would spill out on the horizon; and there I’d be, standing beside my father, watching the owls who watched me back with yellow, unblinking eyes. It was nothing short of magical. I was probably five or six at the time. The youngest of three children, I would beg my mother to wake me up EVERY DAY! I remember being hard to wake, but even though I was the youngest, I would keep up with my big sister and brother. I would fast. This meant that I probably began fasting earlier than my siblings had. Because the days were long, my mother would encourage me to keep half days.

“Allah will take the two halves and sew them together,” she’d say. And I believed this. Years later, I said this to my own children when they were young, because if I couldn’t get them to believe in a Merciful Maker, all was surely lost.

My father was more determined that I should keep full ones which, once I started school, I was happy to let him believe I did, until I was seven. From the age of eight, I never missed a fast, even if it meant that I kept it without suhoor due to my hard-of-waking tendencies.

Then came the Actonville years. A blur. Sehris, just us kids and my mother because my father wasn’t around. Long walks in the burning sun from school every afternoon. Dragging yourself up the stairs to the flat. Then dragging yourself to madrassah thereafter. The greatest joy in each day, Iftaar when plates would criss-cross our street and frothy falooda would crown frosty jugs. Fast forward a few years and we were Ramadhaan-ing in the hostel. Suhoor would be charactised by sleepy girls lounging around in the kitchen while those who would someday be Super-moms bustled about the industrial kitchen, making tea and toast and grating cheese. Even then, the boys came afterward and ate like Lords. Iftaar in the hostel would be the usual hostel food, brightened by the plates of assorted savouries that the locals sent to us poor hostel kids. I don’t think the locals knew how much we appreciated those goodies. They reminded us of home.

Truth is, I miss those days. While saying: It was a simpler time, may seem cliché, it’s still true; because in the absence of the all-seeing camera that convinces us that the only way to truly live, is ‘out there’, it felt like people lived a more real life. A more sincere life. If a mother made a special spread for the family at iftaar, it really was For Her Family. There was no one to show, except for the plate or two that she might send to the neighbours.

If a family was lucky (and back then, SEEING Makkah cast one as Blessed because few had the means to do so) enough to see Makkah during the blessed days of Ramadhaan, they were free to enjoy the moment, connect with their Allah, instead of worrying whether their video of their tawaaf would upload properly; not be too shaky.

How liberating these pleasures seem from our present, cluttered as it is by self-worth that is measured in likes and comments from strangers. How utopian. But perhaps this is just me remembering the past for something better than it really was? For the internet and social media, with all its failings, all the ways it has unmade us even as it made us, has both been a force for great good. Who knows?

What I do know is, that as the days of this fleeting Ramadhaan race to a close, with me racing alongside to complete the multiplicity of biscuit boxes that are intended to grace elegant tables on the day of Eid, I find myself remembering with a growing fondness, the Eids of my childhood.

Ramadhaan NostalgiaBecause no matter where we Ramadhaan’ed, Eid could only ever be at one place. Ma and Papa’s house, in Nigel. The same Nigel that saw my childhood filled with butterfly and tadpole hunting by the river and hide and seek with my cousins and Archie comics devoured faster than I could, the rosy ice blocks Ma made, that dripped down my chin. Nigel was where I first wore an Eid outfit that made me feel like a real grown-up. It was bought from Edgars (which was a treat back then). Was a very elegant pants and long cardigan in grey and black with a satiny white blouse, jauntily bowed at the neck. I wore it with heels, probably my first pair ever. Nigel was where I received the best compliment of my entire life from a guy. I remember that the Eid of the “now I know why men get married” compliment, I wore a ‘Punjabi’ (i.e, salwar kameez) that was infused with a pastel coloured Rainbow. The pants were a rich yellow and the scarf, a diaphanous teal.

There is so much about it that was good even though there was so much about it that wasn’t. But the best part of Eid at Nigel was knowing that you had a place where you belonged. A people who were your own even when they bickered and went all Drama Diva from time to time.

Food was always the highlight because Ma was a legend in the kitchen. We didn’t have time for fancy tables with overlays and Instagram-worthy crockery. There was never a centrepiece in sight. But there was warmth. And a sense of well-being that lasted long after the last of the dishes was washed and packed away and sore feet were slipped into well-worn slippers.

Our Eid was purely for us. We gave thanks to Allah for the bounty that He had placed on our tables, especially after listening to stories that reminded us of the humble beginnings that we came from and no matter how sentimental everyone became, Eid was always, always good. Alhamdulillah.


Hope Ramadhaan is treating you all kindly. Do remember me and mine in your duas during these blessed final days. And I know it’s early, but Eid Mubarak to everyone.

Writing this has made me realise that maybe what Ramadhaan really needed wasn’t a #savouryrevolution but a #SocialMediaFreeRevolution 😉

BUT hashtags are no good in real life 😀

Source link : http://afrocentric-muslimah.blogspot.com/2018/06/ramadhaan-nostalgia.html

Author : [email protected] (Saaleha Bhamjee)

Publish date : 5 June 2018 | 5:58 am

Source link