jeudi, août 12, 2010


Do you remember the first day you fasted?

I do.

I was seven years old in Standard One in Kuantan. It was the last day of Ramadhan. I remember my uncles teasing me that if I did not fast, I won't be able to celebrate Raya. Raya meant balik Chenor, main mercun, hugging my grandfather, being spoilt silly by my grandmother. It meant playing in the garden in the moonlight while the lemang was cooking.

So I fasted on the last day without anyone knowing. When I got back from school in the afternoon, I was dead tired. I wanted desperately for someone to know, but I was too shy to say it. Finally, I heard my Auntie Yah say,"Budak Na ni puasa ke? Pucat je...Tik! I think Nina is still fasting!" Tik is my mother. She came to ask, " Are you fasting, Nina?" I just nodded.

Ooohhh...everyone made a fuss. I felt very good inside. I can't remember what we had for breaking fast, but I remember the pride I felt. Thereafter, I fasted more and more days each year.

When I was in secondary school, I was in the band and gymnastics. Somehow, it was important to me that I still train during the fasting months. After band practice in the afternoon, I would walk up three flight of stairs to my dormitory. I felt invigorated.

In Canada, we fasted from 4.30am to 8.45pm in the summer. But I did not tire. I was spurred to do more as the days were longer.

Today, I find, during the fasting month, my mind is the clearest. My prayers are focused. I do not worry about lunch. I do not worry about petty office squabbles. I work, work and work. Incidentally, I noticed that for the last few years, I also write the most during the days approaching Raya. I used to think this was because the Hari Raya reminds me of the traditional music, my kampung and the food. Now I believe it is because Ramadhan releases me from petty concerns. And what I love the most comes forth , pouring from a chalice of inspiration.

Thank you Ramadhan.

During sahur today, my daughter Irani was telling me about her fasting experience. Her friends told her that all the devils are locked away during Ramadhan. Her Uztazah told her that you should not be quarreling too much with each should think of good thoughts and deeds. I liked that.
Then she also told me that one of her teachers had asked all students to watch TV during bulan puasa as she pitied the young students. I immediately went into my famous small talks with my daughters which they half feared, half hated but remembered well so much so I hear them repeating the exact same words to their younger sisters.

I told Irani sternly, when you fast, you are strongest. Why? she asked. Because you are healthier, closer to God and all the devils are locked away. How can you not be stronger?

She nodded.

Well, this is my way of teaching my children.
Another favorite memory from my past Ramadhans was my late grandfather reading the Al-Quran in the middle of the night, his voice booming into the silence was one of the most serene moments in my life.

11 commentaires:

Wan Sharif a dit…

Dear Ninotaziz,
Salam Ramadhan to you and your loved one..
Wow! you have narrated your experience so beautifully that for a while I think you can also be an Ustazah with your small talks..;=)
As an islander, I missed swimming and frolicking with friends in the Trengganu river during the fasting month..The adults told us we can not play in the river when we fast. I vividly remembered, on one of the first few days of fasting .. I brought a kueh for berbuka on the jetty.. I dived in the river after I finished swallowing the kueh...

remgold a dit…

hmmm, this story was so beautiful i don't think i could top that.
saya tak ingat pun bila 1st time berpuasa!
tapi bulan puasa ini buat kita fikir benda-benda lama, semasa kecil.
saya teringat kampung lama saya di West Coast Road singapore. rumah sewa. kerana keluarga miskin bersewa, dapur kami separate dari main house - there is a gap of a few metres, enough for a car to pass thru the lane.
jadi bila nak sahur atau buka, kena pakai selipar seberang lorong utk makan.
bawah dapur ialah longkang/sungai. jarak dari laut ialah kira2 100m, bila musim tengkujuh, dapur dan rumah banjir masuk air!
it seemed like fun now, but my parents had to clean up the flood mess (including water snakes in the house!) every year.
whoa. tx for triggering such memories, maam.

Cat-in-Sydney a dit…

Aunty Ninot,
Err....don't remember. Kita kucinglah, tak puasa...hihihi... Am sure you and my Mama share similar asrama fasting experience, eh? roar! roar! roar!

ninotaziz a dit…

Dear Ayoh Wang,
Ditto! I can just see you diving into the river with a bunch of friends...Remember all those photos of young boys posing on the rocks. Ahhh, memories of younger days!

Dear Sir Remgold,
I am so glad this triggers childhood memories for those are the best kind somehow no matter what the circumstances. I think it has something to do with innocence.

Believe it or not, I even remember the exact scene,place, taste and smell of the very first rambutan I ate when I was 6 years old and petai when I was 21...stories for another day.

Selamat berpuasa di bulan yang mulia...

Dear CiS,
Oh yes, very sure. Same dorm pun at times. She even gave me my name - Ninot! Buat buat lupa pulak! Jangan minta copyright, ye...since I use it for everything I care about deeply ie my blogs and my books!

Isn't it strange how an incident so many years ago remains with us forever...

Stafford Ray a dit…

I am not a Muslim, but agree the act of fasting brings health benefits and wonder sometimes whether the ancients knew this and so decreed Ramadan!
Feast and famine are natural and we have evolved to cope and even benefit. But now, with a supermarket close by, seasonal foods (a form of fasting) are no more.
PS. Thanks for your support and commnents... food after the fast.

Anonyme a dit…

I am sorry I missed this post when you first put it up. I found it really interesting because although we don't fast - during Lent we are supposed to give up something important.

Traditionally it was meat and that is what my family do - for the six weeks of Lent we do not eat meat. In the beginning it is hard but once we are used to it we forget all about it.

I loved the memory you have of Grrandfather reading in the night.

Aishah a dit…

Dear Ninot,

I have vivid memories but I can't remember my exact first day of fasting. Your post is so beautiful because you have beautiful memories of childhood, of grandparents, of traditional cultures. And of wonderful home-cooked food.

I hope and pray, that my children will have the same beautiful memories as I did. I hope and pray I am the voice they remember in their future.

ninotaziz a dit…

Dear Stafford,
I am really glad to see you here away from our poetry blogland. I am trying to promote healthy eating - meaning moderate, in season, from the garden and yes, the supermarkets make it difficlut.

As for visiting your blogs - always my pleasure.

Dear Madame Butterfly,
Yes, here I have friends who fast during Lent, and Hindus who fast during Deepavali and Thaipusam, Bhuddist and many other forms of fasting. It's such a wholesome way 'to do without' once in a while.

Oh yes, what will we do without Grandfathers and people who hold us and love us when we were innocent.

Dear Aishah,
Blogging is an excellent way to keep it all there for our children to enjoy later - especially the very young onees. I also do a sketch and caption journal once a month ( Now I am into my fourth journal over 13 years) and I see my kids going through them once in a while in secret with a smile.

Pastor Bill a dit…

Thank you.I am Christian, and at one time I fasted one day a week as part of my spiritual practice. I have not done so in quite a while. You reminded me of the beauty and power of fasting. After reading your post I may embrace the practice again. - Bill

ninotaziz a dit…

Dear Bill,
Lovely idea...and lovely of you to drop by.

I am glad we are in the same group at Poets United - but I am not sure whaat is it we are supposed to do. I will recheck.

I was so excited to see that you have Pantoum in your blog. We call it pantun berkait and it is notoriously difficult to flow. But the first two lines are supposed to be a metaphor or inkling of the 'real' poem message[line 3 & 4]

Francois Rene Daillie wrote on pantuns extensively while in Malaya and studied Victor Hugo's pantoum.

The journey of the Malay pantun to France to evolve to become the pantoum must have been a fascinating journey - which I believe took place in the 16th or 17th century.

Well, thank you for dropping by and all the best with the fasting if you so decide!

Jingle a dit…

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