Delhiwale: Must see this season, ramzan buffet at Nizamuddin Dargah: The tiled floor has got a new pattern. This is one is the carpeted with hundreds of paper plates. Each plate is filled with slices of two kinds of food, and savor melons (tarbooj and kharbooj), papaya, a few pakodis, a couple of jalebis and a big samosa.
This is the women’s part of the Jamaat Khana mosque in the Sufi shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. This is also the listless afternoon of Ramzan, the Islamic season of fasting that memorializes the month when the Quran is believed to have been sent down from heaven and revealed to Prophet Muhammed.
The Preparations are at full swing for the shrine of the evening’s Iftari meal.
Outside this mosque, these portions will be served in the courtyard; the wherein massive number of people from all backgrounds will sit down in neat rows in order to break the fast.
At this moment the prayer hall is looking like a makeshift dining area with rusty old steel almirahs lined up at the side of the walls.
One of the shrine’s many hereditary caretakers, a khadim, is seated on a chair, presiding over the preparations. A couple of women are come in the group in one corner, quietly slicing melons.
2 young men are filling up the plates with fruit slices. But not everything is under control — somebody still has to make gallons which are for the rose drink, Rooh Afza.
The city flâneurs and the Travellers come from all across to attend the famous qawwalis at Nizamuddin’s shrine. Many arrive during Ramzan to treasure and cherish the sight of people jointly breaking fast in the courtyard.
PORTRAIT OF A PARTNERSHIP
This is her iftar spread — plain channa dal, fresh-cut fruit, and samosas. The elderly Yakuba Begum has a thick roti in her lap. She is uncomplainingly waiting for the prayer call. It will signal the end of the day-long roza, or fast.
Ms. Begum, reportedly, one evening during the month of Ramzan in a congested central Delhi bazaar. Likewise all Muslims, she is observing the roza along with her husband. The couple lives on the pavement.
“We are from Bihar,” says Ms Begum in a very low voice. Gesturing towards the bearded person by her side, she adds, “He is my aadmi (man). He has the problem with his eyes. He cannot see clearly… we will go to the doctor after the Eid.” The man smiles repentantly. He is wearing black shoes. Ms Begum is barefoot.
The ground around the couple is littered with leaves. People are walking past them.
“I beg,” says Ms Begum. “We don’t have children… since my husband cannot walk around on his own, I arrange for our food. Every day we have boiled rice for sehri (the pre-dawn meal in Ramzan). ”
Just then the siren for iftar started and Ms Begum demonstrates no hurry to touch the food. After confirming that other beggars on the street have indeed started to eat, she picks up a bottle of water and she washes her hands.
She then gives the bottle to her husband. He too washes his hands and she picks up the dal. Her man picks up the fruit. They eat silently.