20/07/2012

Ramadan in July: Shit Got Real.

So it's that time of year where the writing gets a little revealing: The month of Ramadan.

The holy month has crept up once again. For the last few years it has straddled August and September, thus delaying school start-dates for up to a cool two-three weeks. However, all ain't pretty anymore as the lunar calander, spinning as it is, away from its Gregorian counterparts like a pair of cogs in a great Victorian machine, has deemed fasting this year to fall right in the middle of summer in the northern hemisphere. 

With a little overlap here-and-there, I have always fasted at home in England. England has longer sunlight hours than Turkey (even if they are shielded behind a grey vomit sky), but those days are not accompanied by blistering heat such as that in Marmaris and Adana last week. Those cities saw temperatures as high as 57C! I take my hat off to anyone who can go out in those temperatures without water.

Luckily Istanbul won't see heat like that, but the difference will only be slight. Anyway, the challenge to disipline my body in the difference between what is neccessary and what it craves, in the name of God, is noble and fulfilling enough to make a pansy out of the sun's burning rays... Although, we'll see long that attitude lasts...

One advantage to fasting in Turkey I refuse to count however, is the oft-commented notion that I won't be alone in the struggle. Fasting in England was perfectly fine, and being surrounded by people who are not fasting has never upset me in the slightest. In fact, I have always seen it as a great advantage in itself, heightening your awareness and increasing your resolve, plus nulifying the arrogance that can infiltrate your mind and make you fell 'holier than thou'.

Such sentiments can lead to events such as those last year in Erzurum, where one woman was attacked in the street by two people for smoking a cigarette. Although if you read the story, it sounded like what it was - a snobby, self-declared modern, Turkish couple knowingly grinding the gears of a snobby, faux-sensitive conservative one, we have to take into account the fact that this event occured one week into Ramadan. I expect to miss smoking a hell of a lot in the next week, and they say the crux point occurs between 3-7 days sans fumer. So please don't judge me wrong if you read of a similar altercation occuring between a westerner and a Turkish national somewhere in Bakırköy this week, I swear I'm not the Islamist nut-case the media will unjustifiably paint me, I just needed a smoke!

At three o' clock this morning the muezzin began the call. I took a last sip of water, dosed out my cigarette and emptied the gin onto the lawn. Yes, I've not been good in the run-up to the month. 

In January, I declared that this year would be the end of drinking for me, but I've fallen prey about ten times, including last night, blasphemously enough. I didn't plan on becoming single with the holy month in mind, neither did I deem it culturally obligatory to drink after a lost relationship. Ramadhan cuts right into whatever else is going on in your life, and never waits for you to get stuff out 'of the way'. In the end, you are happy it came in and shook you back into reality, showing you what aspects of your life were neccesary, and what were just things you craved.

2 comments:

  1. I was there and one of the person who take the similar shot! :))

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sertaç actually I might have copied this from your facebook actually. Do you want copyright pay?

    ReplyDelete