The fasting months while growing up were always different throughout the years. It used to be about dragging yourself out of bed at 5 in the morning so you can stuff yourself to the brim to last you the next 12 hours before your next meal. Morning meals were eaten as a family, the three/four of us, with my dad being the alarm clock for everyone else.
Breaking fast at dusk used to be a family event too, with the dining table crowded with assortments of food bought from our few favourite haunts during the fasting month. Everyone gathered round, sharing jokes and stories of each other’s day.
And then we got lazier. Subsequently we just skipped the morning meal (except for my dad) and we’d groan & moan through the day, somehow making it till dusk. Sometimes either one of us’d skip dinner having already given up halfway through the day (oh pish posh, we’re not the only ones), but we would still make it a tradition to sit around the table and share that half hour or so together before my dad goes for the nightly prayers.
At the end of the month, we’d decorate our home with pretty curtains & blinking lights; we’d stock the kitchen with cookies & cakes; we’d jitter in excitement for the big day of Eid. There was always something about waking up in the morning of Eid, something magical. Like Christmas to the Christians, it used to be Eid for me.
Then we grew up. Things changed.
Not everyone fasts now.
Ramadhan & Eid just became painful reminders of what had been.
Precious family moments have become nothing more than a rarity.
Nothing (much) to look forward to during Eid anymore, either.
As a kid I used to think fasting was just one of those things we had to do but didn’t know why, but if I didn’t do it I’d get into trouble. And then I read, and learned, what it was all about. The sacrifice. The abstinence. The resisting of temptations. The ridiculous “rules” that we so obediently followed by when we were younger cos they were frowned upon then, but now we realised it was just a manifestation of a distorted belief. The togetherness of a family that Ramadhan blesses us all with, but that we tend to take for granted.
I’m not a staunch practicer of my religious beliefs, but I do have faith & a conscience, that tends to strike me really hard at times. And I do believe that when time comes to give you another chance at being a better person, you embrace it with no questions asked. Even if it’s for a month, at the very least.
I guess I’m just another human, trying to resist & come to terms with my many vices.