“Sorry, I can’t speak more, as you must know I’m fasting,” said a friend, quoting her boss as having said recently.
Keeping energy intact, and the body active and hydrated are burning issues for the people on fasting in Pakistan where Ramzan this year in the peak summer. Pakistan’s climate in June is very harsh when temperatures often remain 44 to 50 degree Celsius in most parts of the country.
“What I’ve learned is that never be in the exposure of the sun, if you don’t want to be thirsty,” says Manahil Ali, a trainee journalist, when asked how not to feel thirsty in the 16-hour long fast day.
So, Manahil can stay indoors for her is a desk job. Her air-conditioned office can keep her cool and calm.
But not to Bilal Farooq, who is a teacher in a private institution. He has to spend six hours in classroom, all the time standing and talking and talking.
“I maintain hydration by drinking three to four glasses of water at the time of Sehri (pre-dawn meal) and a cup of coffee,” he says. It is besides the meal, which he takes at Sehri. He admits that as the day goes on, he feels the heat of his routine and climate. Next comes spirituality to keep him alive and kicking.
“In fact, Roza is a matter between an individual and Allah; one needs to remind oneself: for Allah, that's it!” he says.
The decision to observe fast is usually made for one of two reasons: one, non-spiritually guided motives such as dieting, medical testing or detoxification; two, religious or spiritual purposes.
Muhammad Usman, who graduated last year in Mass Communication from Punjab University, says the only recipe to avoid hunger and thrust in fasting is sleeping all the time.
“Take a good deal of food at Sehri, and then sleep all the time till it’s time to break the fast,” he grins. He works in night shift and can afford sleeping all the day.
Tayyab Khan Niazi, a young journalist, finds solace in the company of his boss, who, according to him, is very pretty. “She is so pretty and pretty enough to make me forget about thirst or hunger during fast,” he says.
A university student, Mehma Saleem said, “I don't usually work hard during fasting hours because I don’t have anything to do. If I have, I simply keep doing it and rest after that because obviously you can't intake anything to boost yourself up while fasting, as it is all about patience.”
But to a majority of the fasting people, lassi is the best drink to quench thirst.
A student, Usama Khan said that he drinks lassi and takes yogurt at Sehri. He also pointed about the benefits of dates of energy preservation.
Ayesha Maqbool says she takes yogurt and banana at Sehri with six to seven glasses of water. At work she concentrates on work rather than thinking of meal and water. She says when she feels low she takes a break, stretch herself, gets fresh air and motivates herself to work again.
There can be hundreds of tips to keep the body active and hydrated in Ramzan, but the lesson to be learned from fasting is to be aware of the pain of hunger and thirst. That means we should value the sources and share with those who lack them.