Ramadan 1437: Zaitoon Nisa


By Asif Khan, TwoCircles.net

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“I was sixteen when we returned from Burma in 1966,” recalls Zaitoon. Her father had served there, and stayed back to live in Magway after the end of WWII. The war was before her birth, but she remembers the story of how one of her elder sisters had been dumped in a ditch by her panicked mother on hearing the air-raid sirens. Luckily the baby, who was six months old at the time, survived and was found when an older brother went looking for her later.

Her memory is hazy, but she remembers beginning to fast around the time she was between 10 and 12 years old. “We used to go to school,” she continued with a smile, “and on the days it would be hot, we would skip the fast.” She has pleasant memories of hills, and how the nights would be cool all year round. There was a mosque in her neighbourhood from where she remembers hearing the Azaan at Maghrib, when it would be time for breaking fast.

She remembers with equal fondness about her return journey. The family traveled by air, because her father wasn’t keen on letting the kids travel by sea. “It was getting difficult to live there,” she said wistfully, “and Abba said we shouldn’t compromise our religious beliefs.” That was the only time she sat on an airplane.

TCN Series: Ramadan 1437