ou know how a typical liberal Kashmiri family sounds like? Ok. I had a friend who would invite me to his home during Ramadan, where we would memorize the lessons to be asked about by our teachers.
One day, they woke us up to have Sehri (pre-dawn meal). It was a complete banquet. Delicacies were displayed on the table cloth and every family member was glutting the food with pleasure.
I could not control my emotions as to how seriously the family took Ramadan and filled it with all the love. A vibe of festivity was all around till the patriarch of the family checked his wristwatch. “Stop,” he yelled, all of a sudden, and ordered his wife to bring from the ‘special’.
The special was the duck which they had cooked with much relish. Pieces from the delicacy were placed on each one’s plate.
I could not control my emotions. Tears welled up in my eyes, thinking just how could they be so lovingly appreciating the month of Ramadan. The charm stayed with me till we went to sleep.
In the morning, when I opened my eyes, a shaft of sunlight was beating on my face. I started feeling the same vibe of festivity that had surrounded me the last night.
As I went outside my door, I could not believe myself for what I was seeing. I wiped my eyes again but it was no dream. It was an unbelievable scene in which all the family members had gathered around the samovar, billowing clouds of vapours, and having nun chai (salty tea).
“Oh my God! How is it possible? All those who had Sehri at dawn enjoying tea in the morning, and that too under the warmth of the sun.
Once the patriarch realised the questioning glance playing on my face, he patronisingly clapped my shoulder.
“Gobur! Sehri khenas gey algey sawaab.”
I was like, “Wow!”
Later, on the same day, just before Iftaar time, I happened to pass by their house again, unfortunately. What I saw again is all the family members in rush — some keeping dates in their hands while women preparing Rooh Afza, Kheer and all that.
Grandpa, again, was gazing minutely at his watch. “Iftaar! Iftaar! Iftaar!,” he announced in a while. Everyone around him broke the fast with an air as if he had been tortured by thirst and hunger all day. All of them cheered in happiness but my questioning glance did not fade away from my face.
Seeing this, Grandpa, again, patronisingly clapped my shoulder and said, “Gobur! Iftaar karnas gey algey sawaab.”
And you! All those who read this! Do not be judgmental by saying that God will punish them for this in the hereafter! I do not think so. I believe God would have been only laughing out loud without going gazabnaak (angry) as we are conditioned to believe.