The Last Sip of Sehri
Flashback to the 90s – It was a custom in our particular household that I happen to recall as I type this. Each Ramzan every morning, during ‘Sehri’ times, there was a custom we followed.
Sehri or Suhoor is the time before dawn when you stock up on whatever you can eat and drink just enough to last you through the day. Doesn’t work that way but it’s helpful for around half a day – depends on the length of the Roza. So, anyway, we had a big house growing up all 4 of us – 3 boys and 1 little girl.
Just when everyone was about and done with eating whatever they wanted and didn’t care to drink enough water, my youngest brother would carry a jug full of water and flock from room to room to find out people who had forgotten to drink water or those who simply wanted to sip the last glass of water before beginning the fast.
Bhai would march from the porch to the drawing room and the kitchen carefully scouting recipients until he would stumble upon mom who would hurriedly be keeping things aside and getting ready to rush to make her ablution, Wuzu for prayers.
He knew she would not have water until someone gave it to her. True to her form, she’s still the same way. How do I know the details, well I was his side kick of sorts.
I would follow him wherever he went. He’s nine years older than I am. So, anyway we would march step by step from the porch to the drawing room to the kitchen to the storeroom carefully treading the passage way avoiding any dangers in our pathway including roller skates we could step on.
We were time bound and the clock was ticking. The announcements from the mosques, 5 minutes to go would have already begun by then. We would then hurriedly March to the left hand side of the passage into Dadaji, grandfather’s room where he would be waiting for us to give him some water. He always had a mug full of water by his bedside table but it seemed he quite enjoyed this last sip of the Sehri. Sometimes, he had certain demands, a few medicines here and there which the sidekick attended to while the Waterman moved on to tougher missions.
Then, it would be the turn of my middle brother who would be cracking a code on his computer/s, 486, 586, P1 – P2 – seen em all! If the eldest brother was not at the hostel, he too would quietly decently without any demands whatsoever drink water. By this time, the jug would be empty to which Haris Bhai would reply, ‘Dawn, hurry the jug’s empty and daddy’s still left!’ Attending the call of my duty, I would rush from whatever I was doing to the referigerator, grab a bottle and rush to him when he would give dad the last sip of Sehri.
Afterward, when multiple loudspeaker calls were being given, ‘The time’s up. Recite the prayer to intend your Fast’ – we would look at each other’s faces and rush to drink water. Precisely the time when daddy would cry out, ‘It’s fine two minutes here and there don’t make much of a difference.’ We would fetch a jug of water each and gulp down a litre of water hoping we don’t feel thirsty during the entire day until it was the time for Iftaar.
Over the years, people left, people came, customs were transferred while some customs became redundant. Many things have changed and some still haven’t. I do play the part sometimes, although, there was something about those five minutes. There’s something about that last sip of Sehri that all of us looked forward to.