If the Coronavirus has set new rituals for festivals, the festivities of Ramadhan have become more creative and broad, away from the beaten tracks of cooking for guests and endless iftar parties.
Initially it was an odd situation for everyone when they found that they cannot invite guests or visit friends for Iftar besides many other restrictions of not exchanging food with neighbours and even offering prayer in isolation at home.
It, however, turned into an opportunity for many including Zainab, a secondary student in a local school, to learn new skills, help her mom in kitchen and realise her own potential of doing more than her own assessment.
Apart from preparing for her 12th Board Exam, she learnt some skills in sewing and designing on clothes with the help of her mother and sister and sounded confident of doing many more things, which ultimately boosts her confidence.
“Hardly there was time to think about kitchen and learning new skills when regular classes were on. Though the virtual classes are occupying, still we have time due to no other distractions like going for outing or shopping in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic,” she said and added that she was able to get tips from her other sisters through video chatting etc.
Similarly, Ahmed’s parents were insisting on him to read books apart from course books. He, however, was never interested in it. This Ramadhan he got chance to go through some Ramadhan related books and learnt quite many like, Amal’s Ramadan’; My First Ramadan, Time to Pray and The White Nights of Ramadhan.
He is happy and happier are his parents that Ahmed’s screen time on mobile phone and TV has been largely reduced. Now he is asking for more books and discusses stories with his siblings.
Ahmed is not totally off screen. He is sharing time with his cousins and friends in Oman and other countries telling them about his new hobby of reading books asking them also to go through some books. He admits his new found hobby as “an interesting pastime.”
There are many others like Zainab and Ahmed who are utilising the ‘Covid-19 time’ by learning new skills like cooking, painting, reading or even listening to Ramadhan stories from their mothers and grandmothers.