Everybody is starting to get ready! From advertisement companies, TV channels, billboard makers, travel agencies for Umrah, people who make spices to people who sell oil; everybody is in preparation mode. Whilst some will lose their jobs, others will acquire them. The person who used to work at the dhaba will now sell pakoras, no poor person can spend the whole month sitting at home, he’ll have to do something. You have to earn to run the house; by selling pakoras, jalaibis, dahi baray and if nothing else, channas.
Newspapers, televisions, and colorful pamphlets you find within the newspaper will acquaint you with tastes you’ve never dreamt of. Magazines with new recipes, newspapers and TV programs, which throughout the year bored you, will now enter your life in a new way. Everybody will use their creative abilities in the best possible way, all just to make you want to eat. Not just eat, you’ll drink a variety of drinks and juices which a poor man would not be able to afford the year round but this month he’ll buy them through hook or crook – the truth is we eat more in this one month than the whole year round.
Prices which were already high are now increasing ever more. After all, it’s the month of blessings and blessings they shall be! In fact so blessed are things here that something which increases never again decreases. The government does not have anything else in control, however, the printing of utility store advertisements with large tags is already underway. If you’ve never seen a utility a store, do visit it.
Anyway, no matter how high the prices rise, it’s not like we will stop purchasing. There are advertisements everywhere, an outcry on the television; what other choice do you have? You have to go home and be answerable to your wife and kids. So many different aromas are rising from the neighbor’s house, different types of foods are laid out, and of course we will have to send the iftar to them. Even if only 300 rupees have been earned throughout the day, and even if you don’t buy anything, 100 rupees are gone just in the iftar. As for fruits, a poor man can only dream about them.
Previously, all preparations were exclusive for iftar, PTV being the only channel, there were no multinational companies or different food outlets. Early each morning, we used to watch PTV’s exclusive transmission and keep our fast, yesterday night’s leftovers made well for the sehri but now a lot of progress has been made. These days there are deals for sehri, whole families and neighbors gather together for a sehri feast, that too a buffet; eat as much as you want, whatever you want! This is the month for feasting even if you don’t get to eat the rest of the year, but this month you have to eat and eat what you’ve never eaten before. Seth Sahab, who for 11 months, sucked the blood of poor people is now trying to alleviate the burden of his sins. Either he goes to perform umrah or arranges for iftar to be served to poor people in front of his mansion, everyday.
Karachi already has a lot of poor people but come this month and a flood of destitute from all over the country sweeps the city. Right in front of your eyes you’ll see crowds of impecunious individuals’ at large empty plots, under bridges and alongside the railway line. At roads, bazaars and signals, you’ll see familiar faces and with them other unfamiliar faces, ready to welcome you. And before iftar everybody will be seen around mansions of seths, officers and well-off people.
If anybody works the most this month, it’s the woman of the house. She wakes up for sehri, arranges for those who will be fasting, has sehri herself, prays, prepares and feeds breakfast to those who aren’t fasting, and then sends them to work. And then after she’s done with daily chores, she watches cooking shows on the TV which are mostly in English and out of her, prepares lunch for those who come home in the afternoon, arranges for iftar in the evening and finally, prepares dinner. She’s performed her duties as a form of worship and now it’s up to the Mighty Power to reward her.
Office timings are changed during this month. Although, according to the timings you should arrive early but the bosses come late and leave early. If they go for namaz, there is no coming back. They are earning rewards for themselves but everybody has to face their wrath. If you go out to buy iftar, there is such chaos with people falling on each other; it seems that either the iftar is being distributed free of cost or they’ll never get to have it again. The traffic on the roads preliminarily indicates our mental situation; but this month people lose control completely. Everybody is in a hurry to reach office early in the morning and then back home early in the evening but sometimes they reach elsewhere.