AT THE STROKE OF 6

Their eyes are half-closed and their heads slumped on their desks. “Are they not feeling well?”I said to myself. Then I remember it is Ramadan and buka puasa isn’t until six in the evening. Looking at my watch, I see they still have about five hours to go before they can drink or eat.

 It’s really a wonder to me, to this day, how these students can go through fasting from the crack of the dawn until sunset. Admittedly, it is a struggle keeping one’s self from making a pillow of the desk and not salivating at the thought of the non-Muslims, who are heading to the canteen during break times, digging heartily into their meals. A colleague admits to feeling sleepy – “Saya nantuk sekali,” he’d say after greeting me selamat pagi – but, despite his hynagogic state, I’ve seen him reading, which, am assuming, is a religious book.

Another amazing feat to me is how some students even manage to play table tennis or go about their regular routines without looking like they’re about to collapse. In fact, what’s truly amazing is that fasting is not made to look catastrophic or funereal as I’ve witnessed some practitioners make it out to be. They’d say I’m fasting without wearing their hearts on their sleeves or giving the Bambi-eye look in the hope of escaping of doing school work (of course, you have your skivers who’d do anything to escape from studying and even use fasting as an excuse).

At the stroke of six, every buka puasa is a mini celebration. The feelings of jubilation and achievement waft through the air, intermingling with the cries of the muezzin who reminds the thousands of devotees of the prayers to be said. It’s time to gather and feast with kith and kin. One area in Bekasi – Galaxy – is a hive of activity with numerous vendors awaiting the devotees – and curious onlookers like me and my Bekasi gal pal – to break their fasting with a bite of the local delicacies (think kueh, satay, fried tofu etc) displayed on their trolleys and tables. Over at the malls, restaurants are filled to the rafters with hungry devotees waiting for the clock to strike six so they can finally bite into pizzas, pastas, salads or pieces of chicken washed down with orange juice or Pepsi.

Another day of religious piety has been fulfilled. Another day of spiritual cleansing and renewal will unfold in several hours before the clock strikes six again bidding all to come and break bread with family and friends.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by thejellyfarm on August 28, 2010 at 6:56 am

    still cant do it…i’d have to at least have to drink

    Reply

  2. Posted by I-am-aoisoba on August 30, 2010 at 10:13 am

    oh am not sure i can do this,when i’m hungry i get grumpier. Well, i’m also grumpy in the mornings 😉

    Reply

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