My earliest memories of Ramadan are the feeling of excitement in the household. My Ammi handed out the special Ramadan-related items to the domestic helper – Kala chana, kabuli chana, and various dals for pakodas, vadas and phulkas. The milkman would be instructed to bring extra milk for sehri and Rooh Afza drinks, custard, and puddings. As soon as the Ramadan moon was sighted, my Abbu would show extra energy and enthusiasm for prayers and Taraweeh. My mother would ensure that his Kurta Pyjama was neatly laid out before the Isha Azaan. My sisters and I had to lay the mat with dastarkhwan with all the Ramadan snacks and fruits. As the time for Maghrib azaan drew, nearer, the family would sit together and wait for the Azaan. My father would remind us of the special time for dua every day just before the azaan. Some of us would fill our stomachs while others would eat little, get up for prayer, and come back to eat later. My mother ensured that the daughters were standing for Taraweeh in their own time. We would wait for Abbu to come back from Taraweeh, and all of us would have dinner together.
Early in the morning, the sehri- announcers would travel from mohalla to mohalla with a duff singing:
“Gul-e-gulshan ka chamka sitara
Aya Ramzan piyara humara”
That would not make us leave the bed, but the alarm was set, and sisters had turned to get up and prepare khaja -doodh for abbu and ammi. If neighbors miss the alarm, one amongst the neighbors will wake them up by calling out their names. ( Back then, the phone was a luxury ) There would be almost a competition to see whose voice would wake up the sleeping neigbour. And if we were late, then the rush to eat something before the azaan was also an event to remember. I also have fond remembrances of Lailital Qadar nights. A big chaadar would be spread out in the living room where the whole family would be engaged in Ibadath.
At that time, there were no Islamic studies or workshops for children to imbibe Islamic values. My parents taught us the Islamic culture by living in Islam every day. There were no lectures or teaching, but they successfully created a love for Ramadan by their behaviour and letting us feel that Ramadan was a special month.