Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Views from the East

These past couple of weeks I’ve been fasting. That’s because the Holy month of Ramadan is upon us. Every day we get up before sunrise and have a meal, known as Sehr. This is supposed to last us all day, so it’s advised to have your fill. When the sun begins to set you’re allowed to break your fast. This is done with a second meal known as Iftar.

The difference between these two meals is clear as night and day. Sehr has a very Spartan feel to it. You get up early in the morning when you’re dead tired. The last thing you want to do is have a nice big meal. But you somehow find the strength to meet this challenge. On the other hand Iftar is much more joyous. All day you went without food and drink (plus intimate contact), you’re faith has been tested and you made it!

It is considered a good deed to help someone break their fast. Typically you’ll see a lot of Iftar parties during Ramadan. My company decided to host such an event for its employees. Sunset in Karachi is around 7:30 pm these days. So after five we hung around while they pitched a tent outside our office building.

As the sun settles in for the night, anticipation grew:

The promised hour has arrived:

And the guest pour in:

Breaking fast is a pleasure for all:

Here’s a picture of my boss (he’s the one in the black and white striped shirt, sporting some very white collars and cuffs). He’s a pretty cool guy, very approachable.

And this is how I look after a long day of work, my signature puffy hair in the back reminds me of Alphalpha. Does anyone have hairspray?

All in all it was a great day, great company, great food, who could ask for more? The end of Ramadan is marked by a celebration known as Eid. It’s going to happen sometime next week (depends on the sighting of the moon). This holiday is the Muslim equivalent of Christmas. It’s a time for family, presents and celebration. I’ll have highlights from that day as well, stay tuned.

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