Rumaali Rotis had to be sent for. It’s available exclusively at Muslim restaurants. I took a ride up to Muslim Musafirkhana, an eatery at Moti Doongri Road. It was a Friday afternoon. It became evident from the way Muslim residents from the neighbourhood came trickling by for the noon time community prayer service. The Maulvi could be heard distinctly over the loudspeakers as he conducted the Namaaz.
By now I found some space and had parked my vehicle. For the first time I became rather conscious of my own presence as I found myself walking into the courtyard of a Masjid alongside a multitude of Muslim faithful. While the elderly had been squatting in a transcendent mode, the youth could be seen settling in, while the children busied themselves with silly talks. I had frequented the premises many a time earlier but never during the days of Ramadan. It was a spiritual moment this time.
The waiter rushed toward me and took my order. As I waited for the ‘parcel’ (as this is what packed food is called here), I had no option but to overview the prayerful afternoon and the silence that had enveloped the surrounding area. With over a thousand fervent skull capped Muslims praying together on the floor, the Maulvi’s lecture was reverberating in the hot summer afternoon air.
I stood by. Sluggishly lending my ear to what was being echoed over the loudspeaker, I was somehow drawn to the content of the preacher. He was addressing the faithful in a very colloquial tone. He said, “Allah is watching us, not only during the days of Ramadan but all through our lives. So if you are going to keep Rozas and be spiritually elevated during this special month and turn back to your regular lives of sin, hatred or malice, it won’t please Allah. Be righteous and modest, clean at heart and in your behaviour and relationships with everyone and spend a life worthy enough of living.”
I went on to pay even more attention to the preaching. Unaware of how long I had been engrossed in the priest’s homily, I was handed over my parcel. Paying off the waiter, I made my exit with a rather slow pace leaving the community and the fading sound of the Maulvi behind, till I reached my vehicle and drove off.
On the way back, I had thoughts pertaining to religion storming my mind. It all summed up at a fundamental base that all religions preach love, morality and brotherhood. Yet the country is divided over religion, food habits and lifestyle and the list goes on…