Ramadan or Ramzan is a Muslim celebration of when the Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. Fasting is necessary for Muslims who aren’t sick, elderly, menstruating, breastfeeding, pregnant or travelling. It’s one of the famous Five Pillars of Islam.
My Muslim friends fast from dawn till dusk, and don’t have sex, eat, drink, or smoke. They spend a lot of time in prayers (Salat), along with reciting the Quran, doing charity and good deeds.
But for me, and most other Mumbaikars, or Bombay locals, or Indians who call Bombay their home, the most important is the Iftar. While Muslims fast most of the day, they are allowed to eat during the Suhur which is before dawn and the Iftar which is after dusk.
So like any normal Bombayite would, we went to the infamous Mohammed Ali Street one evening this June to participate in this month’s Iftar. Traditions are important. We try to participate as much as we can. Some of my friends go every day to enjoy these delicacies.
We get to watch the embers from the shigs in slow motion. Or maybe my camera is in slow motion? But it’s lovely, except for the embers that land on my sleeve and my brother’s pants.
We then pass a store on the way to Mohammed Ali Road where they’re making delicious Malpua, and serving it with mawa rabdi.
We finally reach Mohammed Ali Road and go past the barricades that are meant to leave the vehicles outside.
Anyway, we get onto Mohammed Ali Street and find a lot of litter. But this is Mumbai now, so how can you not find litter.
The Ramadan Iftar Crowd in Bombay or Mumbai always contains people of every sect and religion. Here, we can see so many diverse citizens here just to partake in Iftar.
An assortment of food and more food, with seats for some patrons and place to stand for the others.
Yes, there’s a shop for bread. It looks like a regular shop that runs throughout the year instead of just for Ramadan or Ramzan.
There are stalls that sell dry fruit and sutarfeni for Ramzan. I’m not sure if this guy is posing because we’re taking pics or what 😉
And when he moves we get a better pic of the dry fruits. Dates, anjeer, cashewnuts, almonds, and more… And not to forget the heaps of brown and white sutarfeni. Mmm!
And then there are the stalls with the chicken and mutton rotis and rolls, with and without eggs. Lush! See the guy cutting the onions in the left corner and the eggs stacked right there? Yes, that’s my hand in the pic. Forgive me, it’s really difficult to get pics in the middle of the throngs here.
And then there’s phirni, traditional sweets made of rice, milk and dry fruit.
There are a range of barfis. My favorite from the storeSuleiman Usman Mithailwala is the black currant barfi. This store is open all year round, not just at Ramdadan.
And there’s always so many more sweets to try.
Of course, you have to remember that it’s the monsoon, and raining a lot. We’re drenched to the full, so take most of our loot home to eat. It was delicious as always. And no, I’m not going to show you any pics of the sweets we took home. You can guess 😉