Simple Lessons I Learnt in Ramadan

Never having been a good cook myself, I realized that during Ramadan life gets simpler with two healthy meals a day!
By a Staff Writer

To be a small eater and a smaller talker can be very advantageous, as I realized this Ramadan. Keeping away from food became easy for me, and cutting down on unnecessary talking easier, too. When you fast, you don’t really pay too much attention to other people’s banter, and so you tend to react less to what otherwise might have provoked you. “There is safety in silence,” says the Sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan. That’s really true, especially so in the holy month of Ramadan.
The holy month also brings with it blessings of contentment. This must have happened with you as well As the time for iftar draws closer, the desire for sensual gratification that a banquet provides simply vanishes. A few dates, coffee and a light snack are just fine to feel contented after breaking the fast.  Never having been a good cook or an avid recipe-reader myself, I realized that during Ramadan life gets simpler with two healthy meals a day, and that helps keep your mental and physical health in order.  Fasting with friends also adds to the spiritual feel during the holy month. Telling a friend about the iftar siren from the nearby mosque, a simple thing though, adds to the bond of the sacred connection of friendship, as I realized this Ramadan. 
I learnt a great lesson in patience (sabr) recently, when I lost my lovely cat Meowi, a day before the onset of the last ten days of the fasting month. Meowi had become a part of me. She taught me much about life. For her peaceful sleep in the grave, I gave her a part of myself….. a scarf I often wore.
Different folks have different ways to celebrate Eid. I felt my neigbours’ rights to be of foremost importance on this occasion. Breaking the routine tradition of eating biryani and seviyan, I set off with a friend to break ice with a few friends with whom I had not connected for months, with slices of cake as a gift. We also shared tea and sweetmeats at a home for the mentally-challenged. A friend’s old home help, who had spent years slogging in the apartments of the rich, now lived in a tiny hovel. Having a glass of juice at her place that day helped me realize the value of simplicity.  
It is said that Satan is chained during the holy month of Ramadan. Anger, temper, violent speech, violent actions, envy, jealousy, back-biting, all are Satanic. After Ramadan, there is sense of being “let loose.” The biggest challenge for me, and may be for all of us, is to guard against these and to be aware of our each thought, word and action every day. While the holy month of Ramadan has passed, the  lessons it has provided us the opportunity to learn should remain with us throughout our lives. If we’ve learnt these lessons well, they can help us move forward in life with a positive outlook towards all things.

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