Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Hunger pangs of renewal
4.30 am - Woken up from deep sleep to eat the pre-dawn meal (sahur). Prawn curry, rice, spicy fried potatoes and papddam are the items.
5.33 am - Enter Ramadan: the first day of fasting starts.
6.30 am - After eating and performing the morning prayer (swolatul Fajr), I feel full with food. It's a wierd feeling to eat rice in the morning. I go to sleep.
10.30 am - Fast forward to lecture in school. Hunger pangs strike. Head begins to ache. I'm pretending everything's fine and that it's a beautiful day.
12.30 pm - Hunger pangs are more serious. Head hurts like crazy every time I bend down. No good. Afternoon prayer (swolatul Zuhr) is a struggle.
3.35 pm - Lecture is unbearably boring and lor bloody sor. I feel nauseous, and even the lecturer asks if I'm fine. I reply that I have a headache.
5.23 pm - Home sweet home and a 1 hr nap. Still head hurts.
6.57 pm - Fast is broken. Sweet, carbohydrate-laden dates, kueh-kueh, and rice porridge from the mosque make everything disappear. No headache, no hunger. I'm back!
7.53 pm - To mosque for night prayers (swolatul 'Isha) and superogatory Ramadan prayers (swolatul Terawih).
And so begins the month of Ramadan in the Islamic year 1426 A.H. The days will get better; experience tells me that I'll feel healthier, 'lighter', and I'll feel as if I could make do without food for longer periods. It is a time of solitude, a time of contemplation, time of constraint, a time to forgive and ask forgiveness, a time for cleansing and renewal. It will be a different life for a month - a life of simple routine, of increased communication with oneself, of detachment for the normal things one holds so dear everyday.