Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sehar

Its the month of Ramzan, the month for fasting, for controlling all evil desires and becoming a better person. The first meal of the day is before dawn...is called Sehri (seh-ree), from the word Sehar (say-hur), arabic for dawn. The fast starts at the break of dawn. It is the most peaceful part of the day. I usually have something substantial, some carbs, and some proteins and wash it down with a nice cup of tea. I'm usually supping alone and I don't mind the solitude too much. There are households where the entire family is fasting and then its as noisy and wonderful as mealtimes with families usually are. My mother insisted on getting up and giving me company and fried eggs for a few days but I asked her not to, as its too much for her, she has plenty to do in the day and since she doesn’t fast due to poor health, I asked her to not disturb her sleep for me. Still, almost everyday around dawn she will sleepily come into my room asking me if I ate well and I wanted anything. My heart goes out to her. Such things only mums can do for you, its not easy reciprocating such stuff.
After Sehri, I say my prayers quickly, surf the net a bit perhaps and then try to go back to sleep which eludes me for the next couple of hours. In fact, I have become nocturnal, sleeping away a good part of the day.... not ideal and something which I am told takes away points from my fast but since I’m in a position to do it, so I do it...albeit with guilt.

.... Well that was just to give everybody an idea of what Sehri is.

Somtimes comfort is found in the unlikeliest of places. Silence usually harsh is something i welcome at certain times. Sounds of silence soothes my mind. Deep in the night in the distance car tires burn up tarmac, speeding away chased by dogs car spotting away the night. The hum and drone of appliances starting and stopping and starting again, the clock ticks by...the only sound disturbing. I turn over and think of his smile, a little boy's smile, disarming and absolute. It is a rare smile, its got gentleness and it stems from strength. God keep his smile. A smile that rings in morning no matter what the time of day.
Light at dawn
Steals the sky
From darkness

37 comments:

irina said...

Sometimes smiles burst from within you just when you liest expected them... and everything is ok all of a sudden...

M said...

Funny you wrote about your mum and so did I!!!!

mermaid said...

I can see you sipping your tea alone, and can almost make out the self absorbed expression of solitude. Then, I see the lips break from an austere straight line, and curl at the ends, as the sun curves against the horizon. The light outside shines through that smile)))

eden said...

ey thankk GOD youre ok! i dont know if this is the right page to write but i've been thinking about you since the earthquake happenned.goodness you are safe and sound! :) its nice to know you are ok!


nice writings!

Dale said...

As far as "losing points" goes -- I think that doing it at all is so much more important than doing it perfectly. In some ways imperfect is better than perfect, even -- it's better to present ourselves to God as we are than as we'd like ourselves to be. Sometimes doing devotional things perfectly is as much a way of hiding from God as not doing them is, I think.

Bless you, and your mother! (Not that you need any blessings from me :->)

Casablanca said...

Silence sometimes is the best sound to hear.. sometimes the only time you can actually hear yourself.

Broken Spectre said...

A world away, and sometimes sleepless, I know similar night sounds. Enjoyed this honest and personal window.

timeintotime said...

Whenever I find myself not just reading a piece, but reading it aloud to myself, and thinking of reading it aloud to others, I know it has me.

A wonderful passage, Gulnaz.

Akruti said...

Guess its time for all of us to write abt mom,so did i:)
roja ho aur sehri ke baare mein itni khoobi se bataya hai ki kya kahen.
And yes,so true abt sounds of silence. they always help me too.so can we have sheerkurma on ramzaan? am i invited?

Renee Wagemans said...

I like the small poem at the end very much. It is so beautiful

transience said...

that was beautiful, gulnaz. it resonates with me in little ways.

Sue hardy-Dawson said...

Thank-you for showing us such a close part of yourself, I could see everything that you told us, your mum being your mum and the happy thought of a little boy's smile.

It was a bit unfortunate last year cause I went to a poetry workshop in Shefield, lead by Debjani Chatterjee for national poetry day, for which the subject was food (nationally). Among the people there were a few members of Bengal woman's support group that she heads. She explained to me it was right in the middle of Ramadam and not a good subject for hungry people feeling tired.

venus said...

Happy fasting gulnaz! I am sure your sleeping is forgiven because of your true feelings in your heart.
btw, I know a girl whose name is Sehar, but never knew the meaning, thanks!

Cocaine Jesus said...

I have two friends who are currently fasting for Ramadam. Shazli seems to be struggling abit and we all tease him unmercifully as we waft by with Mocha's and sandwiches.
The thing I like about Ramadam is that it is big enough to allow people like your Mum and me to eat because we have to without passing judgement.
Beautiful post Gul.

johnny boy said...

Heyyy gulnaz..
Sweet things u said about ur mom.. Am sure she'll feel really nice if she reads this.. True there are somethings that only moms can do. Though we do fail to recognise these things sometimes, it does not change them one bit!
I hope n pray that your mum's health gets better.. Talkin about ramzan, havin passed out of a muslim college, i do know quite a bit about Ramzan... Nice that you shared something about fasting during ramzan..
keep going..

Joel said...

A friend of mine observed Yom Kippur yesterday, but had to do so by eating a minimal amount of food because of her ailment.

It's a good thing that you follow your religion pragmatically, meaning to observe the spirit while protecting your body from excesses of atonement. That's a smart move.

BethInPortland said...

I think fasting and praying is a wonderful practice. It has been a tradition of the Christian faith since the beginning but here in America most Christians do not follow the tradition. Catholics and Orthodox do--but Protestants often forget. Some of the best and most spiritual times I have had are during fasting and prayer.
Thanks for sharing a bit of you life and culture!

Paul said...

Yeah, those are nice thoughts to fall asleep on - the smiles of children, or some sweet thing a child said or did during the day.

Patry Francis said...

Thanks for sharing your dawn and especially something about Sehri. I could feel that early morning light and hear those reassuring house sounds. Lovely writing, Gulnaz.

gulnaz said...

irina- and that is the beauty of smiling....good to hear from you. :)

M- what a sweet coincidence, actually just shows how much we love our mums. :)

mermaid- comment in verse! thanks!!! :)

eden- thank you so much for thinking of me!!
hugs!! :)

Dale- that's a good point....better to be humble than proud of such stuff...and of course i need your blessings....am greedy that ways! ;)

Casablanca- absolutely but just sometimes one hears so much noise in silence that you have to put on the tv just to drown the noise in your head.

Broken Spectre- its nice to connect with somebody a world away on this...lets raise our mugs of latte to that....make that decaf please. :) am glad you liked it. :)

timeintotime- thanks, means so much to me especially coming from someone who writes excellently himself!

Akruti- you too! :) yaay!! of course you are invited, anytime! :) i don't knw how they make sheerkurma there but we do a nice job too, you'd love it. :) good to see you back.

Renee- thank you! i liked it too! :))

transi- thanks darling, am glad it found echoes with you!! ;)

Sue- i'm glad you liked reading it! :))
I'm surprised at that, fasting is about promoting endurance etc and if you can cook what's the harm in talking about food...besides you aren doing anybody a favour and also food is such a celebration this month...the evening meal, iftar, when the fast ends, is almost a feast which has been in prepration since late afternoon. it would be impolite to talk of food with famine-stricken ppl, not those who are fasting. :)

Venus- i hope so too! :) now when your freind is good, you tell her good morning, lol, sorry silly joke....i know of someone who is called sehrish, that is the cool breeze of dawn, aint it a nice name too.

CJ- thanks and you havent been slack in commenting here! :) steaming mocha's!! mmmmmmmmm *sighs* thank once again!

johnny boy- the funny thing is i havent told mama about writing about her, i talk such 'emotional' stuff with her rarely. :) btw, even the fasts during navratris are to promote contemplation. :)

Joel- i'm hope your freind is feeling better now, fasting is tough. :( god doesnt want us to hurt ourselves, so why shd we...
anyway, always good to hear from you!! keep commenting, i always enjoy hearing from you. :)

BethinPortland- thanks beth, though i'm not a very religious person but perhaps i'm on some level...i think you understand what i mean. :) i'm glad you liked reading about it and hey come by again!

Paul- :)) thanks! but thoughts are such wayward creatures...

Patry- heyyy...lovely words from a wonderful writer, oooh i'm mighty pleased with myself now! :)

slim whale said...

silence calms the soul. and with a smile like that, you would probably have more than calmness.

thanks for opening up a window to your culture.

slim whale said...

silence calms the soul. and with a smile like that, you would probably have more than calmness.

thanks for opening up a window to your culture.

Geetanjali said...

Hehe...now that you mention sleeping while fasting, I'm usually quite vocal abt such things. Not so much abt sleeping, as abt those who fast and crib all day abt it and how they're sacrificing so much for something they themselves want from God. Call me crazy but I think God would prefer it if you didn't fast to please him, rather than fast and make an issue of it!

That said - it's not easy fasting for a month! All the best - may all your prayers come true!

gulnaz said...

slim whale- am glad you enjoyed the peek. :)

Geebaby- i am absolutely with you on that! cribbing about fasting takes away major points, you arent even suppposed to be cranky. :)

finnegan said...

Gulnazzzzz, are you awake? I am the ghost of guilt---the ticking torture you hear through your clock. You have lost 55 spiritual points today. Added to the 58 yesterday, you've fallen into the red and so must fast another 2 days. Instead of that little boy's smile you will be viewing an endless movie loop of strawberries and cream whirring in a blender.

Seriously, I was mighty touched by your post. I would probably keel over and die if I had to fast, especially in winter. "How did Finnegan die?" "Fast".

More on spiritual matters: I am a lapsed Buddhist. I think bad things. I've done bad things. No, I am worse than a lapsed Buddhist. The Buddha winces whenever the name Finnegan comes up for Nirvana review.

Here's what he last said when I asked him: "Whassup?" He said: "AUQYDUMI" which translates from really ancient Hindu as: "Aw, quit yappin', dummy"

Potted-flower said...

Ah, ramadan... I prefer eid, long suffering in trade for happiness

gulnaz said...

finn- LOLOL, i love your sense of humour!! :)))

pf- :))

. : A : . said...

Very interesting. I did not know what a Sehri was. Thanks for sharing this with us.

And maybe, the dawn actually steals the darkness from the sky?

:-)

MAHARAJADHIRAJ said...

Sehar is also the name of a wonderful movie. If you haven't seen it I recommend that u do pronto!

gulnaz said...

.:A:. - ...and make the sky bright and clear once again. ;)

Maharajadhiraj- you got a cute nick, thanks for the suggestion, hope you visit again maharaj. :)

Misreflection said...

who's mummy's girl now huh?, seriously though your mum sounds great, you're lucky.. :)

gulnaz said...

Missy- lol....she;s a gem all right!

patina said...

quiet, solitude, inner reflection. you paint a sweet picture of dawn. enjoyed reading your post.

cheers

Anonymous said...

yeah at the end of the day.. no one understands you as your parents do... its only when you are away that this comes to you with a greater force than usual SIGH

Pallavi

feminine expressions said...

no greater gift can you give than that of sharing your experience...

thank you for letting me step into your fast and meditation, step into your life...

anumita said...

The way you described the entire ritual has such a feel-good quality to it. The serenity and devotion shines through.

Jyotsna said...

Lovely reading about your day and the little details that make it all the more meaningful..
:)