Give me two


Fast

I consider the Ramadan to be a holy festival, especially for Moslems, most of whom fast with pleasure. Is that easy or not? Which problems can one face during fasting and what kind of consumption does one have to give up? In order to clarify this, I decided to start fasting.

Early in the morning, to be exact, at four o’clock, before the Uzbek sun rises, I wake up in order to have breakfast, after which my mouth and my eyelids shut again – I sleep for some more time.

In the morning, following a habit of long standing, I make a beeline to the kitchen to make coffee for myself. It’s a good thing Mother is there, to bring me to my senses: "You are fasting, and you cannot have coffee now!" After a short shock, I recall I am in the mode of strict fasting.

I go to the university: it is difficult for most people just to imagine what it is like to travel in a well-packed bus, among 25 other sweaty passengers, without having drunk a drop of water.

How difficult it is to leave the melting heat of the bus, realizing that I have left the heat behind, just to see my friend with a bottle of cold water in her hand, and I remember again that I am not allowed to drink. It is so good that our auditorium is air-conditioned. My relief does not last long – the air-conditioner is broken today.

“Everything will be good”, I think, suddenly having found myself sitting at the end of the auditorium, unable even to read what’s there on the blackboard. I diagnose my condition: hunger has deteriorated my eyesight. It is good my eyeglasses are with me.

Together with my friend, we go to the canteen: it is cool there, which is good. It is good until I smell food. I persuade my friend into changing our table: sitting next to the kitchen is unbearable for me. Many of my friends are having lunch now: they are having pilaf, lagman, and shashlik.

After no lunch in the canteen, we go outside, to join our friends, and life is beautiful again: among my friends, I forget about hunger, and even my thirst subsides. The idyll is disturbed by the guys: they use bad language when they chat. I would have gladly remarked on this impropriety but even this is prohibited during fasting. One is prohibited not only to swear but even to listen to swearing, so, I retreat quickly. Away from the university, I am going home. Tears come to my eyes, my forehead is covered with sweat drops, and my nose is running. It seems to me I will not be able to stand it any longer: everything that had seemed so common to me, all the routine has become an ordeal because of the relentless Uzbek heat.

Why am I fasting? What does it give me? It is clear that the Ramadan plays an important role in Islam: this is a way to get rid of sins. Besides, the Ramadan has strengthened my spirit, as during the entire month it is prohibited to lie, to curse, to have filthy thoughts and to blaspheme. As I recall that, my steps become light, and I come home very quickly. I drop onto my bed and fall asleep. Sleeping helps me not to think about hunger and thirst.

I wake up at eight in the evening, my mouth is open, and I have been waiting for this moment all day. A life-rescuing gulp of water from the bottle is the best that has happened to me a long period of time. The first day of fasting turned out to be difficult, but the Ramadan trains discipline. I realize how much I can consume under other circumstances. The useful ‘side effect’ is that I will spend much less money.

I feel my will is becoming stronger. By giving up consumption, I discover such qualities as self-control and self-possession in me.
© Sevinch Umarova

Sevinch Umarova


© Ezoza Nadjimova

Ezoza Nadjimova


This material came into being resulting from a young authors’ workshop organized by the Goethe-Institute in Tashkent on May 25-27, 2017. At the workshop, professional editors from Berlin Julia Bockler (ifa) and Leon Krenz (ze.tt) taught the young authors to write. At our request, they edited the texts and photo reports prepared by the authors ‘on a turn-key basis’ and describing different aspects of the consumption society of Uzbekistan.

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