Ramadhan, the holy month of fasting, emphasises the values of empathy and generosity. It is also a time when special connections and memories are made that remain forever. Social media bloggers and influencers Nabeela Farshori, Adela Eileen and Afshan Jabeen recall their childhood memories of Ramadhan.
Nabeela Farshori (@itsnabfarshor) remembers her very first roza or fast at the age of 9. She recalls waking up in the wee hours to the hustle bustle from her terrace in Hyderabad. The scene which still surprises her is white chaandni (long bed sheets) on the floor with Red Dastarkhwan (Sufra) decorated with lights and delicious food from all the corners of India. Her friends Meghana, Akshay Lohit, Tasneem Neha and Shonty all made the day memorable.
Nabeela says Ramadhan for her is the time where you come closer to Allah and make sure to give those who need your help, through love, financial help or duaas.
She recollects during her school days after Fajar Nabeel she came back and informed her mother that she was fasting. Surprised at her instant decision, her excited mother asked her to pray to Zuhr and retire for the day. While she slept, her mum had informed all her friends in the neighbourhood to prepare a dish to celebrate Sheeba’s roza (her pet family name).
The neighbours feasted on Theplas (Gujarati dish), fresh idlis and some Bohre iftar dishes. There were also some delicious Bengali sweets and Sindhi papadums. Not to be missed were Dahi bhallas with Chana chaat and to wrap it up with a big jug of Rasna. She along with her brothers used to help her mother in preparing lavish suhoor feast and iftar daily.
A passionate epicurean Adela Eileen (foodfanatic_adela.eileen) who grew up in Saudi Arabia, recollects Ramadhan as her favourite month which she used to wait eagerly as it meant favourite food and guests. “As we grew a little older, we would wait by the door to receive and exchange iftars with the neighbourhood children. The most memorable part were the iftar parties which were true moments of happiness and sharing’’, she adds.
From her rush hour visits to the supermarket to buy cantaloupe watermelon and fresh fruits with her mother she recollects how the six kids would sit together on a table for iftar and the idea of her father being with them every evening, which would not be possible due to his busy schedules, being one of the best memories.
A lavish spread included sambosa, fresh oranges, lemon, parsley, cantaloupe which she recollects even now. “Our favourite iftar snack were cheese sandwiches, macaroni, crepes and occasionally chicken breast along with lots of fruits and dairy products.”
For Afshan Jabeen (@afshaan_foodblog), childhood Ramadhan story brings back innumerable memories of beautiful iftars and suhoor. She recollects how the entire Hyderabad ‘Mohalla’ or locality gathers at a spot for moon sighting.
Sehriwala, a man with an old plate in his hand playing tambourine to wake up the neighbourhood before dawn for suhoor was the alarm for the community those days.
Afshan who indulges in food photography notes that iftars were the simplest those days with some fruits and pakoras and not to forget ‘Rasna’ the most favourite Indian drink. Sharing the iftar with neighbours was the norm when any fancy dishes like Haleem or dahi vada or kheer were prepared. Her dad would slice all the available fruits and arrange a platter which Afshan and her siblings used to distribute to mosques.
She also mentions small stalls in the area which used to sell dahi vada, Haleem and pakoras and how excited it was to get to it.
A full time blogger and an influencer, cooking for Afshan is a passion, where she shares her recipes, kitchen hacks and tips. The Sultanate of Oman has been her second home and enjoys the peaceful Ramadhan here making sure to break the fast in a mosque or at the beach every Friday.