By Neha Raza

We are a nation of food lovers, and are proud of it. We love to eat food, talk about food, watch food being made on the television and upload pictures of food on the social websites. We start our day with it and end it with food and the highlight of our day is also usually food.

When the month of Ramzan hits us, the whole day of fasting does not curb our inner “foodie” spirit. In fact, the month of Ramzan only ignites it more. The fact that we cannot eat anything through out the day only makes us want to chow down more at night so we can compensate for all the food we could have eaten, but did not eat.

In this country of food lovers, eating out is both an indulgence and a trend. So when Ramzan comes, we are offered a whole variety of Iftar-dinner options to choose from. The concept of going out to dinner is in no way unusual but for the last year or so another eating trend has also paved its way in our social strata. Say hello to the Sehri mania. Going out for Sehri is the new “in” thing among the privileged class. Personally, the concept of waking up at 2 am, getting dressed, and going out for an insubstantial meal that is bound to give you hunger pangs halfway through the day, is beyond me. But I am not part of the “It” crowd. The rest of Pakistan seems pretty much thrilled by the idea of eating out for Sehris. A quick look on Google shows that there are actually a lot of places now offering Sehri deals to the food lovers in the urban centers … from fast food places like Pizza Hut to the big hotels, from street dining to the classy restaurants like Bar B Q Tonight. Even the café’s are in the mix of this Sehri frenzy like Gloria Jean’s. There are a lot of options and most places are usually packed, especially on the weekends.

The quality and quantity of food, both vital elements for a Sehri, are not a concern for the new majority of urbanites. The food offered at restaurants, though delicious, is in no way credited as healthy and nutritious. It can cause heartburn, leave the mouth dry and hence a very miserable fast for you. Alas, these meagre hindrances cannot keep the crowds from going out for Sehri. It is the new trend, and people want to avail it as much as they can or they will be considered among the boring crowd, the bottom dwellers. God forbid, if they don’t upload a status about eating out at Sehri this Ramzan.. This is our society for you. As the saying goes.. if you can’t change them, join them…. And we literally live by this rule.

Now before I am branded as a diffident bore who cannot adapt to change, let me tell you a few benefits of this new trend. Contrary to what I have said before, going out for Sehri has a few positive attributes as well. Sehri prices are much lower than the Iftar-dinner deals and the restaurants are less crowded at that time. They offer you a better service than that during Iftar time and the menus are not your everyday Sehri items. Also, it is cooler at that time of the day and there is less traffic on the roads, so going out is less of a hassle.

In the end, it really comes down to what you are comfortable with. Some like it and some don’t. It all depends on your persona. If there are any readers out there who have not yet ventured for a Sehri meal outing, I suggest you go and try it out, but just for the sake of an experience. Do not make it a habit if you have any concern about your health.