September 26, 2008

Most of the Ramadans in my school life I have passed through different vacations. During school, I had the month long vacation after the final exam and the Ramadan was found to get stuck with either the post-final exam vacation or the very starting of a New Year and new level at school. Ultimately Ramadans in my school life were times of my relaxation due to lack of pressure from school or other study related stuffs. So, unlike many others who’ve seen most the Ramadans of their adolescence to be amid a year with a lot of pressure of studies, I have quite pleasant Ramadan memories of my adolescence.

Ramadan of Dhaka has its exclusive characteristics. The metropolitan lifestyle gets through changes in various sectors, like a whole new working schedule, a different manner of traffic in streets etc. Most of these properties of Ramadan in Dhaka theoretically are all unpleasant experiences. Like holding the steering wheel of the car amid traffic for hours, unexpected and unacceptable rush in markets, are not quite likeable. But the summation of all of these makes a special attitude of the city during Ramadan, which is a time to enjoy for me at least. I told earlier that my adolescence memories of Ramadan are quite pleasant because of less or no study related pressures indeed. But in college days, I’ve to remain stuck with classes or quizzes. I need to attend the class just few hours after the sehri and in some weekdays, the time I return home from college is just some minutes before the iftar. But the kind of my feeling over Ramadan started evolving from my childhood; as a result Ramadan is still a month of relief for me, to be precise a perfect pleasant time.

With other family members, cousins, an atmosphere in Ramadan is created to precipitate ourselves to be enjoying whereas still many of us are concerned with studies, work etc. Walking by iftar bazars in Bailey Road or other neighborhoods, attending Khatm-e-Tarabi after the iftar, tranquil attitude of people in streets or elsewhere, an added population in Jumua are some exclusive characteristics of Ramadan. The time immediately prior to the iftar is the one to be noted. Streets become off the crowd all of a sudden. Kids are seen to run towards public careers awaited at the traffic signal with water bottles. All these things, slides and scenes make a summation to form a pattern that is the overall Ramadan to me. Crowd at public places, traffic at streets, rush at iftar bazar, these are all part of it, nothing to get sore of, rather is be taken as a tradition.

Here I have put some images of Dhaka’s iftar bazar; shots mostly have been taken from Old Dhaka or Chakbazar’s narrow streets, where the real attraction of Dhaka’s iftar bazar can be discovered. For people who are not resident of Old Dhaka, the Chakbazar is the place to get weirder dishes for the iftar with weird names. One example is Boro Baper Beta, which is prepared by mostly Old Dhaka based cooks, is a rough mixture of sprouts, mutton or lamb roast, dry rice, salad with many kinds of spices.

Click on the images to get the enlarged copy.

Jilapi, has become a mandatory item in Dhaka’s iftar.

Mutton roast in traditional Old Dhaka style, is a popular choice for iftar in Old Dhaka.

Varieties of iftar item being sold at Chakbazar.

Chicken and mutton roasts with various spices.

Fruits are inevitable part of Bengali iftar.

Chicken bhuna curry, with excessive amount of spices.

Qababs are a popular item in Old Dhaka’s iftar tables.

Minutes prior to the iftar. Kids looking for customers on the way to break the holy fasting.

Date, is another inevitable part of Bangladeshi iftar.

Various kinds of qababs, prepared in perfect Old Dhaka style.

A typical Bengali iftar combination.