This month in Mumbai, all roads lead to Mohammad Ali Road. This is where everyone heads for his or her Iftar walk. I first saw it during an assignment from atop the JJ Flyover and couldn’t believe the grand bustling environment below.
Ramadan is the month of the Islamic calendar year when Muslims across the world observe a fast from sunrise to sunset. It is a month of prayers, humility and abstinence.
The meal that is consumed before sunrise is called Sehri and it is supposed to sustain you throughout the day. Post sunset and prayers, the fast is broken by an Iftar feast, usually eaten with family or local community.
At the Mohammad Ali Road in South Mumbai, there is every conceivable non-vegetarian food including my favorites the tandoori quails, seekh and tangdi kebabs as well as malpuas and shawarmas. Vegetarian and sweet dishes also abound. Several restaurants are popular with visiting film stars like Sanjay Dutt whose favorite dish is called Sanju Baba Chicken. Children in brightly colored clothes and carrying neon lit toys are all part of the grand celebratory mood.
Closer home in Bangalore, several individuals like Feroze of Feroze Estates and Properties has done much to foster secular closeness through the large warm attendance he has received over the decades from people irrespective of their faith or worship for his famous Eid al-Fitr lunch.
In Dar es Salaam, where my friends and I grew up as kids, we barged every night into our Muslim friends’ homes across the street and gorged ourselves with kebabs, biryani and phirnis. Mom used to prepare a special dish that consisted of a large snapper – or ‘changu’ in Kiswahili – on a bed of fried potatoes with just the right amount of tomato based sauce, onion rings designed to circle the oval shaped dish and mind-blowing masalas! Served as a community salver, we circled the platter together to ensure that everyone was present to get a fair share of the delicious meal. We wiped the dish in minutes!
In this atmosphere of brotherhood and close camaraderie, there is much respect for creeds and whether it is Mohammed Ali street in Mumbai or the Mosque Road in Bangalore’s Frazer Town, it is like sitting down with a single long celestial dining table of close brethren consisting of Hindu, Christian and Sikh friends among Muslims and other faiths. No one speaks until the serious business of dining is complete!
More importantly, the ethos of the event solders the harmony of minds and hearts of the essence and not the differences of humanity.
#ramadan #eidalfitr #harmony #mumbai #Bangalore
#ramadan #eidalfitr #brotherhood