'Fasting helps you realise the pain of the less fortunate'
The 25-year-old, who hails from Kannur district in Kerala, India, has been fasting since Grade 4.
Fasting during the holy month of Ramadan helps Midlaj VP, a grocery delivery boy in Sharjah, realise the pain the lesser fortunate people feel. The 25-year-old, who hails from Kannur district in Kerala, India, has been fasting since Grade 4. "I think I understood the spirituality of the holy month only when I got to Grade 10," he told Khaleej Times.
Midlaj was in his final year Bachelor of Commerce in a college in Kerala when he moved to Sharjah. "I left my studies mid-way to come here. I've been here for four years now as my uncle got me here to work in a grocery store," he added. He began work as a grocery delivery boy, however, now he attends delivery calls that come to the shop as well.
"I dropped out of college during my final year because I wasn't very keen on studying and I saw coming to the UAE as a huge opportunity," he stated. "I've always wanted to come to the UAE after my uncle would told me about his business. I've decided I want to earn money and start a business back home."
Speaking about Ramadan, Midlaj said: "I understand and realise the pain of those who don't have food to eat three times a day during Ramadan. It is a very holy month, and fasting cleanses and energises me for the year to come." Midlaj loves the fact everyone treats each other with a lot of respect during Ramadan.
"Be it here or back home in Kerala, people of all faiths and religion understand and treat each other with a lot of respect. They speak nicely and are far more understanding. I admire that about Ramadan," he added.
Midlaj says he tries his best to pray five times a day every day. "There is a mosque near the shop. I go there whenever I can. During Ramadan, the delivery is much more during the evenings. People call for fruits, dates, drinks, juice etc., laban etc. These are products that sell most during Ramadan."
Fasting as a child
Midlaj has seven other siblings. "I have seven brothers and sisters. We are five boys and three girls, totally eight. When we were small, my most fond memories of Ramadan were when we all walked to the mosque together after Iftar for prayers," he reminisced.
"I enjoy Ramadan back home because we did it together as a family. I could pray regularly because I didn't have the tension of heading to work," he said. Speaking about his first-ever fast, Midlaj said: "I ended up breaking it before sunset because I was small and didn't understand much. However, after three to four attempts, I was able to fast from morning to evening." Midlaj said he misses his mother tremendously. "I miss my mother's cooking from back home. Though, there is much kinship in the way we break our fast, doing it with my family was precious.
"After the first prayers, we would sit down and eat together, go for prayers, and come back to complete our food. My mother would make delicious ghee rice, beef curry etc." He remembers praying at the Palathingara Fathima Masjid in Kannur district as a child.
What makes Ramadan truly special
"Whenever we pray during Ramadan, we feel a lot more spiritual, and there is a lot of happiness in the prayers during the holy month," he said. Speaking about the experience of ending fast here in the UAE, Midlaj said: "I pray at the mosque near my house, but on Fridays, I go to a bigger mosque near my accommodation.
"During Iftar, all the employees of the shop sit together and break our fast together. Then we take turns to go for prayers," he explained.
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