Stories about ramazan

“There will be no Eid here. Eid makes no difference to me”

“Eid makes no difference to me. I only wait for rain.” He answered. Standing under a rare tree shade Ali Murad Sathio waited for his turn to get water from the pump. Yes, it was true. He did not care for Eid – or any event, for that matter. It had been a few years since he stopped caring. Still, whenever someone mentioned Eid, his thoughts travelled back to the fateful Eid days, three-years-ago. His beautiful mother had prepared him for Eid day. She had managed to cook one sweet dish which was as delicious as the nectar of the heavens. Or at least that was how ...

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Do we deserve to ‘celebrate’ Eidul Fitr this year?

“Chand nazar agaya! Ramazan Kareem! Kal se rozay shuroo.” (We can see the moon! Ramazan Kareem! Fasting begins tomorrow) Some spend the night before in prayer. Others clink glasses and prepare for the pause in self-induced inebriation. Others stock up on Rooh Afza and pakora mix. Some can’t wait to be put in a food detox in hopes that they will lose the last few pounds during the holy month. The others are scared those extra pounds will sneak up on them. Some prepare a week in advance, cleaning out their savings account so that the banks don’t deduct zakat fees that they are liable to ...

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The dreaded moment: My first Eid with the in-laws!

Nothing manages to get us desis as excited (read overenthusiastic, obsessive, neurotic etc.) as Eid. It’s like Christmas, New Years, July 4th, Memorial Day and Labour Day all rolled into one shiny, glittery package. For those of us dreading the cheesy greetings, air kisses and chai making rituals which are part and parcel of practically any get-together in Pakistan, I assure you that the horror show continues and in fact becomes worse, as the first Eid after marriage looms ahead. Personally, I have a handy checklist of things that I need to do on Eid – Go out on chaand raat with friends (check) – Sleep in late as ...

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In India, Eid celebrations are not restricted to Muslims alone

Festivals are a wonderful time of year. They give people an opportunity to bond, share joy, make memories, and most importantly they fill the atmosphere with positivity and good cheer. Festivals also provide a break from the normal rhythm of life and the holidays from work, school, or college don’t hurt either. Living in a vibrant, multicultural society like India gives one the benefit of being able to celebrate multiple festivals with ample enthusiasm. While Diwali and Holi are by far the most celebrated festivals in India, one can also experience the magic of Christmas and the exuberance of Eid in equal ...

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Five variations of pakoras that are light on the taste, heavy on the waist!

The month of fasting (and over-eating) is progressing towards the end, but what makes this Ramazan more special is the fact that it is coinciding with monsoon. The clouds in Karachi seem ready to pour any moment now – please, God, please? Monsoon and Ramazan have nothing in common save for a garma garam (piping hot) plate of pakoras. This Pakistani staple is a must-have for iftar and any dastar-khuwan (dining table) is incomplete without a variation of this. The popularity of pakoras lies not only in their unique flavour profile but also in their affordability. Pakoras or Bhajiyas are ...

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What comes after the Istanbul Airport attack?

On Tuesday night, just as millions of Muslims here were breaking their Ramazan fasts, three terrorists attacked the city’s busy airport. They fired randomly at passengers with automatic weapons before blowing themselves up. They killed 41 innocent people, most of them Muslims, supposedly in the name of Islam. The assault on the airport is the latest in a series of horrible traumas in Turkey. In the past year, the country has endured almost a dozen major terrorist attacks. Some were the work of the Islamic State, which kills in the name of God; others were the work of the Kurdistan ...

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Today the blissful innocence of the Ramazans of my youth is far gone

Growing up, my family treated the start of Ramazan like the start of a new year. From an early age we were told not to view the thirty days as deprivation from food, water, and basic human vices like gossiping. Instead we were taught to view Ramazan as a sublime and peaceful month which would heighten our spiritual growth and instil in us forgiveness, patience, resilience, and compassion for the less fortunate. I remember these early years of Ramazan as a time of simplicity, safety and fun. As our prayers increased, so did our post-iftar socialising. As we retreated inwards spiritually we ...

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Pakistan has forgotten the true essence of Ramazan

This year, Ramazan has been anything but blessed and peaceful, considering we have witnessed the heart wrenching death of Amjad Sabri, the unfortunate kidnapping of Awais Ali Shah, and not to forget, the increase in mugging and theft throughout the city. Sure, we’re fasting, but is that really all there is to Ramazan in Pakistan? Amidst this chaos, I came across a Pakistani advertisement on television, directed by Vasan Bala. It’s a heart touching ad that depicts a little boy who wears new clothes for the festival and runs out to meet his friends. They spot an old sweet vendor whose cart is stuck in a ...

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It’s good to be back…

There are expats and then there are people like me, returnees. I’m going to take a literary liberty – without meaning to offend any intellectuals – and call myself an ‘inpat’. I think people like me deserve a special made-up name. Mine is a story like many others. I went to London 25 years ago to study and it took me that long to return. Not because I was particularly dumb and took 25 years to finish my education, but because the rat race rollercoaster of life took over. To cut a long story short, after 13 years in London ...

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Ramazan shows are like a slice of Pakistan: A bit of religion followed by a lot of gossip

For those of us who grew up watching PTV, religious shows were an integral and beneficial part of the daily routine. Anything that came on PTV, we watched. As a member of the PTV generation, I grew up watching the daily afternoon show where the recitation of the Holy Quran was taught, and I don’t recall missing Majlis-e-Shaam-e-Gharibaan on any tenth of Muharram, even as a Sunni. Religion, as presented on TV back then, was something to be respected and honoured on the media. I recall care being taken even about the kind of advertisements that were run between religious ...

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