Saturday, September 23, 2006

Impending Ramzan and Other Occasions To Ramble On

Leaves are falling all around, It's time I was on my way.
Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay.
But now it's time for me to go.
The autumn moon lights my way.
For now I smell the rain, and with it pain, and it's headed my way.
Sometimes I grow so tired, but I know I've got one thing I got to do...
Ramble On, And now's the time, the time is now, to sing my song.
I'm goin' 'round the world, I got to find my girl, on my way.
I've been this way ten years to the day, Ramble On
Gotta find the queen of all my dreams.

So ramzan is here. I refuse to call it "ramadan" like so many people do. I dont know why, maybe its an Arabic translation of the word or whatever, but it just doesnt sound right. Like calling wuzu, wudu. Whats with this, irrespective of what others may like calling it, I will stick to my basics, wuzu will be wuzu and so will ramzan.

In respect for the holy month thats upon us, I decided to tone down my weekend activities a notch. For the next month there wont be friday night outings to the madison or saturday night flings at Club 279. No more controlled substances or substances that can result in lack of control. Its probably going to be in-house movie nights or board games at the most, which honestly is quite a bit of fun if you have the right people to enjoy it with. However, tonight, its myself and some classic rock on the sound system. I am listening to, surprise surprise, Led Zepplin and a little while ago they started of with Ramble On. Which is exactly what I decided to do. Just talk, ramble on and update my blog which hasnt really been updated lately besides the weekly blog word.

Ever since I have been in Canada, ramzan is generally accompanied by confusion of when the month actually starts. This year wasnt much of a difference. At my cousins last-day-before-ramzan halwa puri breakfast there was quite a bit of deabte among all those present, none of whom were obviously fasting, about wether today was ramzan or was it tomorrow. There were conflicting reports from all over the place and my mother herself was fasting today. Its a crazy world out there, theres going to be such a conflict on eid as well. I just know it. We cant decide when ramzan is going start how can we expect there to be consensus about other grave issues that the muslim ummah needs to act upon. Lets just face it, unity, consensus and muslims are three words that wont be positively used in a sentence in the foreseeable future. Even in Pakistan, NWFP would occasionaly celebrate the ramzan and hence eid a day earlier then the rest of the country. It became a running joke there, be lets be honest here, if man can devise a way to actually land on the moon, then it should be effortless to spot it and determine the month according to the lunar calendar. But what logic percieves as effortless isnt quite that effortless in reality, or so it seems.

I guess our parents know us the best after all since I got reminders from my mother and all those at the breakfast mentioned being reminded by their respective parents about fasting during ramzan. One of the friend got the funniest text message from his father. Well we found it hillarious maybe because we know the fellow, but at the same time, his father told him ramzan shoro ho gaya hai, kotahi nahi honi chayay. The mere articulation of that message was rib ticklingly hillarious. If he his reading this, then I apologize for using the anecdote but it was funny none the less. You know it mate.

Ramzan always makes me feel nostalgic for Karachi. The ramzan spirit in Karachi was amazing. Things were different. People were different. I was talking to a friend the other day who was talking about all the concerns with traffic congestion and making it from work to home in time etc, but isnt that all a part of what one may refer to as the ramzan spirit. I would remember one of my very religious drivers who would stop in the middle of the road in ramzan to offer his prayers. It still beats me why, why is it admissible to delay prayers by a short while in other months and not in ramzan. But then I myself am toning down my routine for Ramzan so I am no one to point fingers.

The ramzan spirit, as I may have just coined it, allows people to pull of quite a few things that may not be normal otherwise. Excessive speeding around iftar time is one of them. Cursing at the samosa wala to speed it up is another. Carrying dates in the pocket or the cars dash is quite normal for people who are on the move a lot. Also making it to all the ramzan buffet place roughly an hour before iftar is quite normal as well. You can even spot long line ups at places like Village or Lal Qilla or even Pizza Hut. Bar B Q tonight is packed as always and iftar parties become a rage. In true Karachi style, there are quite a few individual who measure their social status by all the iftar parties they are invited to. I am not sure how many of them actually fast, but yet they do make an "appearance" at the iftar parties. Considering that working days and spirits are much shorter than in regular days, ramzan is almost like a mini vacation.

Unfortunately, we in North America dont quite enjoy ramzan to that same level. Fasting is the only difference in our routine and maybe things like praying regularly and reading the Quran also in some cases. The gym usually falls out of the picture but lets be honest, its suicide to go work out after not eating anything during the day. This in some way feels like what Ramzan was intended to be like, not the way it is Pakistan or the middle east.

So aside from Ramzan, I am eagerly anticipating Musharaf's appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. For all those who arent aware of it, the prez would be making an appearance on the polictical satire, to promote his autobiography, In The Line of Fire. I will definitely be getting a copy of the memoir, but the wit of Jon Stewart and Musharafs candour would be worth watching. The opinion of Pakistan and to some extent prez Musharaf can be gathered from this clip from the show. Furthermore, on his recent trip the prez has come under fire for comments about Richard Armitages' threats to Pakistan post 9/11 as well as Afghan Presidents accusations that Pakistan continues to support the Taliban. That added to the fact, that Musharaf is probably the first person of his position from the islamic world to make an appearance on the show makes for an interesting encounter. The show is schedule to air on Sept 26 11:00 PM EST on the Comedy Channel in Canada. Dont miss it.

So now having just gone on and on nothing of much significance, I will now go and watch something that goes on and on in a much similar manner, Saturday Night Live. Although I must say its a lot more enjoyable than reading a blog. So with best wishes for ramzan party on, as much as one in this month.


Shezalldat said...

murtaza, ramadan (and i say it with the d because of the way its pronounced in arabic - not because im trying to be unique) in canada can also be quite fun, given you have the right company. we prayed taraweeh at oakville today and the mere feeling of submitting to Allah swt amidst biryani, samosas, rooh afza - not to forget friends and loved ones is amazing. bunking rakah 8-12 outside in the parking lot, and then dashing back for the last 4 before anyone notices - its all part of the fuN!!

Neena said...

bunking rakah 8-12 outside


You call this FUN!!! Boy you need to get out more to some place other than a Mosque to enjoy life.

As for Ramadan or Ramzan see here

But it dosen't sound confusing if said by Arabic speaking person. But alas we South Asian are ashamed of our identity so we have to wash it off by pretending to be Arabic in appearence and language.

Arshad said...

Salamalykum and Ramzan Kareem
May I kindly invite you to my blog
where I try to look at issues through an Islamic perspective.