As if I needed another reason to vent about this pandemic. It wrecked my Ramadhan plans and no, I’m not Muslim and neither am I fasting, unless being unable to afford a good breakfast or lunch sometimes counts as fasting!
Seriously though, there have been times in the past I skipped lunch in solidarity with Muslim colleagues observing Ramadhan because that’s what considerate friends do.
You don’t order chips and chicken or whatever and eat at your desk because it will make your friends salivate. And so all these years if I couldn’t step out for lunch, I waited till evening when the Muslims were breaking their fast — and I happen to have many good Muslim friends and relatives, so I counted on them for dinner.
And when you’re assured of a good meal at the end of the day, skipping lunch becomes a lot easier. I have to commend Muslims for their generosity. Up until now, all I had to do was drop by just as the fresh juice and trays of fruit were being laid out. Bananas, mangoes, dates, bread, chapatti and my favourite, steaming pilau.
With everybody busy quenching their thirst or getting ready to pray, because as you know Muslims are required to pray at least five times a day, no one really paid attention to freeloaders like myself. Things are different now.
Mosques are closed. Restaurants are not operating at full capacity and relatives are struggling with bills. Food is rationed in many homes and you can’t just drop by for Iftar anymore. Just remembered how Muslim students were taken care of back in school.
While we non-Muslims had our supper at 6pm, they had specially prepared meals at 7pm and would collect their daku at around 10pm which they’d eat any time before 6am in preparation for the next day’s fast. It was usually rice with peas or beans along with tea or porridge, with sugar! Guess who grabbed their food flask and joined the queue?
No shame in admitting it, and by the way I wasn’t the only fluke. I just had to throw on a Hijab and credit to my Muslim roommates because it was their garb that I used to pass myself off as Muslim. Look, I’ve always been a foodie and when you don’t have the means or passion to cook, you do what you have to do.
Hope my love for food didn’t somehow cause my friends’ blessings and rewards to be invalidated though, and during the Holy Month of Ramadhan of all times!