Ramadan in Tehran's underground
The taste of forbidden fruit
20 Aug 2010
Ramadan has arrived. These days, it makes Tehran’s streets seem different. During Ramadan, eating and drinking in public places is illegal. I’m in the women’s wagon in the metro, with some teenagers sitting in front of me. It seems that they are coming back from a class; after a few minutes, they take biscuits and cakes from their bags and start eating. They are laughing out loud – I think the joy of offense is the only cause of their laughter. People are looking at them, some with anger, some with a big smile, but many stay indifferent. At the next station, the students get out of the train.
A middle-aged woman with chador next to me sighs. “During Ramadan, eating wasn’t illegal before the Islamic Republic was established, but people respected this month out of themselves.” Another woman continues: “You are right, maybe not outwardly, but in those days, youth was more religious. They used to fast and pray more, but now, statesmen annoy people under the name of religion and Islam, and it’s obvious that young people hate all the things that have the label of religion on them.”
I then hear a younger voice a bit further. “Everything that has the pressure of compulsion and force behind it is ruined in advance. When sometimes they arrest people because of eating in Ramadan and whip them, it’s clear that young people do exactly these things out of spite.” The woman who started the discussion shakes her head with sorrow, saying: “God knows how many times I’ve doubted this ‘Namaaz’ (five times prayer during one day in Islam) that I’ve obeyed my whole life. Sometimes I ask myself: this is the same thing that these evil people do and they are proud of it, so what is the difference between me and them?!”
An old woman now: “You can’t blame the regime for all faults. Sometimes it’s our own fault. If these girls had a good family and parents, they would teach them not to eat during Ramadan in public places.” Another woman answers: “Mother! Upbringing is not only in family. When children grow up and come out of their family, at school, in the park, with their friends; they clearly see that the only thing which looks clean in our society is just the appearance of everything.”
We get to the last station. As I’m driving home, I remember that I prayed continuously after the “Islamic adolescence celebration” until I went to guidance school. At school we had a so-called break in mid-day when the prayer bell rang (like the dining bell); it was called praying time. We had to go to a big chamber and say our prayers. Some students had the duty to search classes and write the names of those students who didn’t go for prayer.
I remember that after a few months of obligatory prayers, I ran away with my friends.
And we ran and ran and hid in a yard at the back of the school….
کلیدواژه ها: N. Sayeh, ramadan | Print | نشر مطلب