As expats, we have always loved the vibe and energy of Ramadan. I remember my childhood Ramadan when I wasn’t even fasting but I was still the most active member on the Iftar. At times I also insisted on waking up for Suhoor because I wanted to fast. Yes, I did take the paratha and fried egg but mom told me that for children it is mandatory to break their fast upon seeing the first sparrow. I realized much later that fasting was much more than this.
In Pakistan, Ramadan was a celebrated month. In fact, at times it was even more exciting than the Eid. The shops would open late and remain open till late night too. Especially the last ten days of Ramadan were even more exciting. Iftar parties were more active and the night markets had more people than ever.
When I moved to Dubai I did not know much to expect from it. Ramadan soon arrived and I saw a whole new world altogether. Ramadan in Dubai seemed a much more serious affair. Work hours shrunk and even the office environment was much more chilled out. You could come home early and sleep till iftar.
There is no doubt about Dubai being the citadel of culinary excellence from all over the world. But Ramadan brought out the best of that as well. Most of the restaurants had those mouth-watering yet affordable Ramadan food deals. Supermarkets also introduced Ramadan deals making it easy for everyone to enjoy the blessings and festivities of Ramadan. Mall timings also increased and you could shop till late at night. It would be no exaggeration to say that Dubai Ramadan was even better than Pakistan’s.
However, tables have turned now. Ramadan is just nine days away but not in Dubai anymore. I will be in Sydney this year. Although I love this city as much as many other cities I have lived in as it accepted me with open arms right after I came here but I am unsure if it is enough for Ramadan. My iftar would probably be on a train to home if not at work or college. There will be no azaan reminding me to rush with drinking water and breaking the last bite of bread. My Australian friends might not even know what Ramadan means to leave aside iftar parties and suhoor eat outs. It will be quiet and strange.
It will still remain Ramadan but it won’t be in Dubai. Aah, Dubai. I will truly forever miss you!