Tag Archives: Ramadan

The G-Clock

5 Aug

My Grandma came to stay with us last Ramadan. Because the nights were a bit longer, the rest of us weaklings would fall asleep while she would stay up until dawn. Before she came, we had resorted to establishing a rota, where every 5 minutes, one of us would have to go upstairs to try to wake up the family member that was in a vegetative state. When you just want to sit and enjoy your food in the limited time you have, you can imagine that it was crazy annoying.

But then my G-ma came along. One time it was me who was completely knocked out. I was oblivious to attempts by my father, mother and brothers to wake me. My Grandma then shouted with such menace and moral outrage that I bolted upright and ran downstairs in terror. I was then too shaken to eat properly.

This was no one-off. In fact, her power was greater than any of us could ever have imagined. One night, the whole family was unresponsive. I was vaguely conscious of her calling out every 10 minutes. Exasperated, she yelled out with such force that we all got up immediately in such an organised and orderly manner you’d think we had practiced a drill. So when my dad asked me to go wake up my brother on another night, the most frustrating task placed upon man, I naturally delegated.

I did have enough foresight to know my grandmother’s stay wouldn’t be forever and that she must teach me how to fish. I tried to calculate how much percentage of anger, moral outrage and exasperation was in her call. I practiced my howling in my bedroom. When I thought I had mastered it, I practised on my brother. I think I saw a limb move but I can’t be sure.  Maybe I should try it on a full moon? I’ll keep you updated.  


Ramadan Lifestyle

21 Jul

It’s always interesting to see how each individual in the family adapts to the Ramadan lifestyle. Personally, the change in sleeping pattern has affected me way more that the fasting and I try to fit in naps throughout the day to get me through. I try to have these naps in random places, so that I’m not too comfortable and don’t sleep for too long. I enjoyed a very nice little lie down sprawled across the floor of my uncles’ living room the other day when we were invited over, after which I relocated to the sofa where I drifted in and out of consciousness. Unfortunately, that was for a good few hours so I will stick to napping on cold and hard surfaces from now on. 

And every night I have a debate on whether to stay up until 3am or to try and squeeze in a nap before having to eat again. Lately I have been giving in and going to sleep, despite the fact I always regret it come 60 minutes later (when you’re tired, you think everything will be easier in the morning. It isn’t.) My family seem to have no problem staying up, which means they can be pretty unsympathetic at times. One of these nights my brother tried waking me and this is apparently what happened (I have a very vague recollection but do remember feeling very distressed).
“X, I know you’re going to hate me, but you need to wake up to eat”. I remember him saying this in a really loud voice, so it is understandable that I apparently respond like this:

“Why are you doing this to me??” I plead, hysterically.

“X, you need to wake up”.

I then, according to my brother, cry like a crazy person, “Just leave. Just leave”

Now I am not sure how much he was exaggerating my reaction and playing down his own role, but if I really was this hysterical, then to be honest I think it’s a completely justifiable reaction to have after being woken up in such a manner, when being this tired. It was almost as bad as the one time I asked my little cousin to wake me up in the morning and he did so by shaking me violently.

My 17 yr old cousin has the opposite problem in her household. We dropped my uncle off at around 12.30am last week, and I went inside to pick something up. The entire flat was pitch black and silent apart from one light coming from the living room. I creep in to find her lying down on the sofa with her iPod, facing upwards and wide awake. She turns to look at me.
“Is this what you do every night?” I ask in amazement.
“It’s so lonely” she whispers to me.

Ramadan kareem!

19 Jul

A very late Ramadan Kareem!  This month is magic. A few days before Ramadan, I didn’t feel spiritually prepared to make the most of it, but on the eve of it, I swear magic was in the air. I know a lot of the excitement is down to the calls from family and friends giving glad tidings, and the Ramadan musical jingles, those pretty lanterns, and the melodic sounds of prayer on the TV, but the spiritual focus means it is more wholesome than the shallow, and eventually draining, sense of excitement.

Beyond the spiritual benefits, what I am particularly struck by is seeing the merging of belief and practice in the greatest way. In this month, the most fundamental structures of our life-night and day, feeding ourselves at set times- gets so jumbled up in the most extreme way. Particularly now, when we’re breaking fast at 9.20 pm, I generally finish eating, obligatory and voluntary prayers, and chores by 12.30/1am, utterly exhausted. So I change and snuggle in to bed, and die for one hour, before I must get up again to eat and pray before the fast begins. And I think to myself, in what other circumstances would I accept such disruption to my life? I am fascinated by the human capacity to sacrifice, without any sense of resentment. And the power humans have in letting their rational and emotional side rule over physical needs. It’s an incredibly fulfilling feeling, and it even makes me love the disruption, and the exhaustion, the time pressure, and the discipline, all in the pursuit of something greater.