Thursday, July 02, 2015

Over half of Ramadan over

Yes, more than half of the holy month of Ramadan is over. Not much has been happening in Al Muwayh. Roads are nearly empty through the day. Activity picks up only after the evening prayers. A couple of small eateries bring out pakodas, chana chaat and samosas to sell to fasting devotees; department stores of all shapes and sizes open for brisk pre-iftaar business; cars appear on the wide promenade and roads; women appear in their ubiquitous abayas, walking to eateries and "bakalas"; young men and boys are seen ambling down the road. By half past six o'clock, cars begin to collect outside mosques, the roads again start emptying themselves. Fasting men and boys start collecting in groups with fruit and other stuff piled on a plastic sheet in front of them as they wait for the sound of the Maghrib azaan.

As the sun goes down, a hush falls on the town. Women who have made their purchases run home to cook hot meals for their men-folk; cars dwindle, children go back home, and expats, too. Non-Muslim people have to go back to their homes as well. Bakalas and shops start closing, with their managers urging shoppers to leave soon as the prayer time draws near. Through all the stillness, the sounds of azaans break out all over the town, tens of mosques blaring out the pious prayer over the megaphones. Devotees break the fast, their eyes on the clock, as they must complete the food piled up in front of them before rushing to the mosque to join the rows of devotees who are awaiting the call of the muezzin to begin the Maghrib prayer. 

Once the maghrib salat is over, people spill out again into the streets. Activity picks up from where it died down before the prayers, More people emerge out of their homes to take advantage of the fading daylight to purchase food and other necessities. Business is brisk in the next one and a half hours before it will be time for the next prayers - the Isha prayer and the Taraawi

My duties in the hospital during the working week are in two shifts. The first shift is from ten a,m, to 1 p.m. During the morning shift, there is no work at all, as fasting people do not venture out for routine OPD visits. Only road accident victims and emergency patients continue to come - mostly in the ER. The medical OPD does see some patients, as do the others. My own OPD (Pediatric) hardly sees one or two routine cases in the morning shift. Our second shift begins at 10 p.m. and continues until 1 a.m. During this shift, it is work as usual. The out-patients are full of patients and care-takers. Doctors and nurses are busy inside their cubicles. There are a limited number of patients in the ER as all routine cases are diverted to the OPD. By half past twelve, most of the work is done, and we slow down, awaiting the end of duty. The work day is then over.

I reach home within five minutes. Usually, I have slept most afternoons, so sleep does not come easily. I sit on my laptop, updating my games and checking my email. I usually watch an episode of two of the LOST series (currently I am on season 2) before retiring for the night at half past two or so. I take my suhur before sleeping, but I do not observe all my fasts owing to my diabetes. 

And Ramadan goes on. 

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