It is that time of the year again.
Rozdars will be pretty delighted. Scores of lamb will be slaughtered in the back-alleys of Srinagar, limbs akimbo across butcheries all thru the month. No maaz, no mazza being the Kashmiri catchphrase. Also Ramzan nimazis are likely to outnumber regulars in mosques, but only for the first week or so, after which they will re-appear only towards the end of the month – closer to Eid.
Roadside bakery is likely to compete with low-priced Rajasthan-dates (hawkers shouting walhaz yaeper Arabi khazir are usually bluffing). Meanwhile non-rozdars – duhul khaavs — too shall pretend to fast but just like those wearing fake gold may sometimes pass off as real, the feeling of being inadequate usually stays on.
Some of you might even get into an 8 raqaat versus 20 raqaat annual Taravee debate but that is frankly besides the point. It matters not if you say Iftaar or Ifti-yaar (I prefer the latter). If something is of any consequence at all, it is the piety in your soul, and Sabr, not who shouts Ameen the loudest in your neighborhood mosque. Also flooding your contact list with religious whatsapp forwards gains you zero sawab.
Clowning apart – fasting is a period of spiritual reflection for all, especially for those of us in Kashmir. We pretend to live normal lives and clutch onto our smartphones, but in reality there is something abnormal about a place where kids – some too young for even beards — go to graves every so often. Think of the mothers who don’t have their sons around tonight.
As it happens in political conflicts, things often get muddled up, and there are so many narratives at play, often at odds with each other that one is sometimes unsure of how to process it all. Yet life must go on: feasts shall be held and shiny new homes built. The meaning of life is that it must be lived as play – Plato wrote nearly 2400 years ago. No wonder the Greek philosopher died in a wedding feast.
Be as it may, ceasefire and fasting – abstaining from both temporal violence and violence of the soul – in one fell swoop, sounds like an endearing idea.
On that rather cheerful note, Ramzan Mubarak – or Ramadan Kareem as we say around here – to all.