“Sehri today is at 3.47am,” announces Ahmed, of the time devout Muslims stop eating for the day till Iftar, when the Ramzan fast is broken. He hasn’t had much sleep. “These days, I come back from the Taraweeh prayers at around 11 pm and doze for an hour before waking up for Tahajjud prayers after midnight,” says the electronics businessman. A short sleep and then he is up again for the Sehri meal.
Abu Sufiyan, the younger son and a professional at an information technology firm in Gurgaon, returns home around this time after his night shift. Ahmed and his wife, elated to have the full brood of nine together for a month, read the Quran and have their Sehri meal. They all go back to sleep after that.
“I wake up late in the afternoon but don’t go to work as my elder son Arshan is managing the shop well,” beams Ahmed. Once a permanent fixture at FM Electronics at Turkman Gate — “F and M are the initials of the first names of my wife and me”, he says, pleased with his own ingenuity — he has now handed over the daily operations to his 36-yearold son. During the holy month, Arshan keeps the shop open till midnight. “Business isn’t too good during the day at Ramzan time because people come out for shopping much later,” he explains.
The other sisters, Saba and Farha, are also teachers. While Saba teaches at the Islamic institute and returns home early these days, Farha, a government school teacher, is on leave. “Fortunately I can avail leave during Ramzan and so am able to enjoy the month to the fullest,” says Farha. Sufiyan isn’t so lucky. He is on night shift and carries home food for Iftar. There are times when the 27-yearold even has the Sehri meal in office. “It’s rough to have both these meals without the family,” he says as he leaves home. the glasses. There also is mango milkshake, preferred by Mukhtar. “We keep the Iftar meal light and have fruits, kachaloo or fruit chat, milkshakes and dates. It is for dinner that we have more elaborate meals,” explains Saima.
Waiting for the mosque to sound the siren that announces the end of the day’s fast, the family sit around the dastarkhwan. The family patriarch then intones, “We must pray now. It’s a month of purity and good virtue and we have to be extra charitable and pious this month. It is said that your prayers in front of the Iftar food are more precious than all other things.”
The siren wails and the sonorous azaan is heard. Each