Ramazan nights

Karachi now brims with food lovers who love to step out of their houses to eat – photo by Fahim Siddiqui/White Star

For outsiders, Karachi may seem to be a dead city in the month of Ramazan, when things slow down considerably throughout the day.

However for natives of the metropolis, the city comes alive at night when — after a day of fasting — people unwind with sports, shopping and gastronomic adventures.

Be it playing night cricket matches in the streets or watching others play, sitting outside on the road with friends or running errands, Ramazan is the month where people’s routines turn upside down. There is hardly any area where batsmen are not trying to emulate their favourite cricketers, or bowlers are not trying to show their skills with the tape-ball. In some areas of the city, badminton is the favoured sport as it needs less space and is over in no time. Electricity, or the lack thereof, is no problem for these sports fanatics who even arrange for a generator if things don’t go their way.

Then there are the deals offered by known and not-so-known restaurants in the city. Those who can afford them go to expensive restaurants to hang out with friends and family, whereas others visit their favourite neighbourhood eateries and tea stalls to spend quality time and eat till Fajr. For a city that has been marred by violence in recent years, where mobile snatching is a norm, where theft is no more big news and where the lives of people are worth nothing in the eyes of criminals, such a nightlife is truly surprising — something to be cherished.

As Ramazan approaches its end, people gear up for the 27th night, the holiest of all the nights. People light up their streets and nearby mosques, cook delicious food and above all, pray for a prosperous year. Cricket and festivities come to a halt on this night where prayers take front seat. Many people go to mosques after Isha prayers and Taraveeh while many mosques in the city complete the recitation of the Holy Quran on this night.

Other cities may have their own traditions when it comes to Ramazan, but Karachi, being the premium cosmopolitan city of Pakistan where different cultures meet and prosper, has a one-of-a-kind approach to the fasting month. The last few days are spent shopping for Eidul Fitr; families go out to select their new clothes as well as jewellery and bangles for females.

Although law and order hardly improves in the month, people learn to be more patient during the 30 days and nights.—OA

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