Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Dangerous to eat

Another Karachi story about Ramadam - but you have to read this article from the BBC first.

I was warned that eating during the day outside of the hotel might be difficult - but not that dangerous!

Seriously, I had more respect for their traditions than to eat or drink in public, but it was amazing how everyone was fasting at the same time. 95% of the population all following the same rituals together was impressive and rather alien to this westerner. The not drinking anything part must be the hardest and in sympathy I left the cold water bottle they put out for me untouched during my presentations.

However I must disagree with one comment in that BBC article - that the obsession with food was not reflected on TV. For on the widescreen 42 TV in my hotel there was channel after channel of cooking with recipes for Iftar and in between programs advert after advert for food and drink.

I pointed this out to one of my clients who just smiled and said that they know all you can think of is food and play on that.

There was one other thing on everyone's mind apart from food. On the TV in the evening on most channels was overlaid two windows of text and numbers: the first counted down the minutes and seconds to the ending of the fast. The second had equally important numbers - the crickets scores!

Oh, and I also was woken at 3.30 am but not by an over enthusiastic hotel wake-up call: instead by the sounds from the many minarets echoing across central Karachi. I felt lucky to be allowed to roll over and go to sleep, and wondered how many out there wished they could do the same.

2 comments:

Kat said...

Fascinating post! Scarey to think of someone being killed just for eating a banana.

Some years ago friends of mine were visiting Egpyt during Ramadam. They are both Christians, but they decided to do the same fast as the locals out of respect for their customs. As the sun was just dipping down over the minarets, he asked her to marry him and she accepted. To celebrate, they held a small communion service right there in the public square amidst all the other festivities.

I thought that was especially brave!

JP said...

Hi Kat!

Yes - though didn't feel that dangerous in Karachi.

Ah, how romantic! Not sure that Egypt during Ramadam would be my first choice for proposal place, but there you go.

I think people who are religious are often more likely to respect other religions. The Muslim's I met in my travels were very supportive of Christians and Jews.