Today is the start of Ramadhan the fasting month. I got up at 4 am and prepared a complete meal of rice, vegetable soup and beef dish. My daughter is home and when I woke her up thirty minutes later for the early morning meal, we both enjoyed the ritual. Somehow the 'sahur' [early morning meal] took on a 'new' meaning. Since I was 14 years old, I did not 'enjoy' the sahur because of my bad experience at hostel. I wrote about the experience here.
That first day sahur with straight from the can government ration sardine really took the spirit of Ramadhan from me since then. Even after I got married and have my own children, I have problem taking the sahur. But this morning, it was different. Ayong and I planned to have the first day sahur with the grandparents. We were getting excited talking about the special 'daging bakar cicah air asam' [roasted beef with special hot and sour sauce] my mother used to make when I was small and learning to fast. The smell of freshly roasted beef would get me and my siblings out of bed in the wee hours for the sahur especially on the first day of fasting. We were poor then and food was scarce but my parents always made it a point to have meat for the first day sahur.
However, since Epit the brother has not come home yet, we hold the plan to drive 10 km and roast the beef at my mother's in the wee hours. In fact, we were doubting if we would even get up for the sahur because we have not done so forever. Furthermore, we watched CSI on TV and went to bed rather late.
I postponed taking my high blood pressure pills for later, set the alarm for 4.00 am and slept on the sofa.
When the alarm went off at 4.00 am, I got up without much difficulty and cooked vegetable soup and the beef Ayong marinated earlier. I didn't roast the beef though. Just fried it with onion and red chilli the way my mum used to do.
Then I woke Ayong up. She had some difficulty getting up but the smell of the freshly cooked beef managed to entice her out of her slumber.
It was a quiet affair. Just the two of us. It was an effort to eat. But when the soup warmed our tummies and after taking a bite of the freshly cooked beef, the dreariness wore away. Small chats flowed as we enjoyed each other's company.
After the meal we started making plan for the coming eid feast. Since the family broke up, we had a difficult time celebrating eid. Last year, things started to cheer up a bit but it didn't last. We were uncomfortable when guests kept asking where was the father. When we first moved here [five eids ago], Ayong and I paid the customary visits to the neighbours. After the second house, we stopped. It felt like we were interrogated by the neighbours and their family. Not a very nice feeling at all. We have not been visiting neighbours since.
Hmm ... it is nice to feel that tinge of excitement again after all these years. I pray my health will hold up and god's willing, we will have a great eid celebration this year. Amin!