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Iftaar Chronicles: Love in the Food Line

iftaar love
4 min read

by Naila Sheikh

As we are approaching the end of Ramadan while the countdown to Eid has begun, we are to conclude this spiritual journey in much contemplation and inner thoughts. Some of them, spiritually uplifting and some, mundane such as the described, rather comedic scenario below.

Where there is good food in the presence of hungry onlookers or the suppressing of the wandering eye and lustful thoughts, the opening of Iftaar must make for an unspoken conversation amongst the daydreamers, the hopeless romantics, especially when delirious of fasting. ?
Scenario: the Ramadan FOOD LINE
Scene: larka larki.    (transl: boy, girl).
[Larka stands in stiff pose, not moving an inch.]
Larki ?: Observant of broad shoulders, but lowers gaze immediately. “Nice shirt,” she thinks.
Larka ?: “Say Hi,” say it already. “Hey” or “Hi” and I’ll turn – what’s so damn difficult?
Larki ?: Can’t he say “Hi”? Why should I say it first? Hmm, well I do see him right here. Oh god. RIGHT. HERE.
Larka ?: you’re seriously gonna let go of this chance? The line’s moving.
Larki ? why oh why did I NOT style my hair properly. Argh. From all the days in my life, it had to be THIS day…
[Aunty intersects.]
? ?: “AssalamoAlaikum (may peace be upon you) beta! Long time no see! How is your Ammi doing? She didn’t call me back! I heard you graduated valedictorian! You’re so smart! I tell my daughters to follow your example. Beautiful and intelligent!
[She pinches my cheek]
My son is going to Med School. You know him right? Mohsin is tall and handsome now and soon he’ll be a doctor. He’s also very outdoorsy, loooooves to hike! You should talk to him!”
[Nudges me while pointing at her superstar son]
Larki ?: Wow. Is this really happening? Aunty is so loud. I bet “he” is being entertained. Oh god. Worst. Timing. Ever!
[Aunty blabbers on.]
??:  “I’m on Facebook as ‘Nargis Jee’ – just add me. I’ll send you my friend request. It is so good to see you, beta. Your hair is nice and long, very pretty.”
Larki ?: “Jee”
[She smiles and nods all the while thinking.]
Larki ? : Hell no! I ain’t adding her! I’d be the latest gossip around town. Pffff, probably wants to show Dr. Mohsin my profile pics. He’s so obnoxious, thinking he’s all that. Ugh. I wonder what “he” is thinking? Did he listen to all this nonsense? Oh man, I hope my friendliness towards Aunty didn’t mislead him into thinking that I’m interested in her son!
Larka ?: Haha, she’s cute under pressure. She’d love my mom.
Okay, well… now I’m moving, putting food on my plate. I’m still slow motion, though. Woman. Hurry. Say salaam or something. Anything. What’s wrong with her. *Grinds teeth*
Larki ?:  What’s wrong with me?! Argh. Is it my dignity, ego or am I really shy? Okay. He’s moving. Great. I’m usually so witty. I could’ve poked one shoulder and said, “Hey, it is against Sharia Law to stand in line before women, you know that right? Now you must repent and ask serious forgiveness for your grave food line sins…” I’d keep a poker face on while being calm and collected, then he would smile. A big smile, I imagine. Maybe say something witty back? And if not, then I would’ve teased a bit further or pursue a regular/civilian/boring small talk, with a twinkle in my eye.
Larka ?: Great. I’m now plating some salad, it’s the end of the buffet. Perhaps I’ll stand here and see if she notices.
Larki ?: I notice! I see. What can I do now? Okay, I get it. I didn’t say “Hi.” But don’t just stand there. Maybe pretend you just saw me? Walk up to me? Or maybe not? Ohhh. He left. Justtttt great. Wasted all this time thinking when all it took was the utterance of a three letter word…”Hey!”

NailaNaila Sheikh resides with her husband and two kids in Houston, TX. Born and raised in Holland, she has a keen interest to keep up with the current affairs around the world. Her everyday life, apart from playing mommy, also consists of Food Blogging on her website: NailasKitchen.com.

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