Saturday, October 08, 2005

Ramadan To Remember

This is my 6th Ramadan in Dubai and how time flies. When we are 40++, time just keeps moving in a lightning speed.
These ramadans are memorable indeed. I can recall on the first day of first Ramadan in our new apartment overlooking the graveyard, we had three distinguished guests. Rector of UIA, VCs of UM and UTM. It was unexpected and we had no even a decent dinner table. I called my wife from the office when I was informed that the 3 top academicians would like to join us for iftar, she had to rush to Karama to shop for a dinner table about 12 pm, paid cash and begged the shop to deliver before 3 pm, when iftar (break fast) was about 2 hours later.
Not unexpected, the kerala shop only delivered the damn table by 4.30 pm after a call for every two minutes and a lot of swearing (less pahala) to the poor souls. The apartment was new in the middle of nowhere and no access road from the main road. However in Dubai, all roads have no names. Hardly used them anyway. They do not use the roads as guides, only building names of colours or shapes. Therefore it is normal to tell friends that, “my apartment is at the back of the europecar building and infront of the big graveyard, it is a pink building in the middle of desert”.
Our adrenaline made our heart beat faster that fatal day.
The three workers finished installing the table exactly a minute before our guests knocked on the door. What a relief and we had a good laugh. I had to be the imam that day and the my wife was proud to cook for his former dean of medical school whom was then the UM’s VC, Prof Anuar Zaini. I rekindled friendship with Prof Kamal Hasan of UIA but I could not remember UTM’s VC, maybe he was a bit quite.
Then two days later, I took my family to Makkah and Madinah by bus for an umrah. It was supposed to be a 12 hours journey through Qatar and Eastern Saudi. The big luxury bus was comfortable and we had about 20 local arabs as companions. With these local arabs on board, the trip was indeed easy since Saudi police, immigration, army would not be creating problems. However, it took us 24 hours to reach Mecca due to these locals habit to stop for a long time even for filling the fuel or nature’s calls.
The umrah trip during Ramadan was not as exhausted. My three kids, that time 7,6 and 1 year old were not tired but bored due to much to see during the journey. We slept and slept, played games, stopped for iftar, sahur and solat.
10 days in Mecca and three days in Medina were smooth without any hitches, problems, illness and interruptions. Since I was already a haj, I took care of my children to let my wife, a was first timer to Mecca to perform her ibadah. The following year, she went for her haj and I was again taking care the kids in Dubai.
My kids were enjoying themselves; they loved that roti canai and nasi ayam Makkah. The second one was easily tired and I had few times carried him during tawaf and saeei, while the youngest one, muhaimin comfortable in his stroller. In one of the taraweehs, muhaimin who might be missing his mum’s presence, cried like nobody business and I got stares and swears from other makmums. Dugaan.
The whole trip costed us RM1,800. Alhamdulillah.
The second Ramadan was also memorable, our apartment caught on fire and we had to be refugees in a hotel and a temporary apartment. We had our iftar in most of the shopping complexes and hotels. Beside friends’ houses.
Third ramadan, we changed our modus operandi by having iftar at mosques all over Dubai to experience the ambience. All mosques held iftar for public, esp those labourers. Of course, we enjoyed the nasi beriayani.
Fourth and fifth Ramadan, our house had become the centre for iftar. Friends would come everyday to share food. Enjoyed their companions and food.
Do I Miss Ramadan in Malaysia?
Except for being with relatives, no, I do not miss the food or pasar Ramadan or other activities. It always peace here and can have more time with family.