As the pious month of Ramadan advances with happiness and prosperity, I remember my Ramadan Days at Oak Grove.
As the month of Ramadan approached, on the previous night, the P.O.D. came with a list and asked if anyone was willing to keep a fast. I got my name mentioned in the list, and then I was wondering why was he writing names. The P.O.D. gave me that list and asked me to submit it in the kitchen. On the way to the kitchen, I glimpsed at the names written on that list and found that the number was more than 30. I was surprised. Seniors, even those belonging to different faiths, were also ready to fast. Well, I reached the kitchen and enquired why this list was being submitted. They explained to me that arrangements would be done for ‘Sehri’ and ‘Iftaar’.
I was very happy to know that every year, the first few ‘Rozas’ were kept by our seniors, irrespective of the caste and creed they belonged to. This gave me a different sense of joy and I was overwhelmed. To be honest, In JS only Janmashtmi, Diwali and Holi were celebrated, but no Eid. I used to curse my parents for sending me to a school where I can’t celebrate Eid. But, on that night all my perceptions changed. Now I felt sense of belonging, and surely that ‘Roza’ was special.
And one more relief came the very next morning, when the seniors said that those keeping a fast were exempted from doing any work or fagging. I still remember that gesture of our seniors. How we were given special treatment! And then, my classmates, they used to wake us up for ‘Sehri’ and in case we missed bringing eatables to the dormitory, they were so quick with their tuck. I really cherish those moments and they are embedded so deeply in my heart that I won’t forget them ever in my life. The entire kitchen staff was very caring and they looked after us very well. May Almighty guide them to success. Ameen. I want to mention a special name here who gave us extra shares during our iftaar, and he was none other than Rabindra Ji. We used to say that it was enough, but still, he used to make us eat forcefully like a father does to his child.
And the special part was the end of Ramadan, on Eid. We used to visit homes of Kitchen and other Staff, not alone but with all classmates, especially for ‘Sewai’ and other sweet dishes.
How special our life at Oak Grove was! I waited eagerly for Diwali and Holi, whereas my classmates waited eagerly for Eid. I loved sweets of Diwali and Gujiyas of Holi and they loved Sewai and Mutton of Eid.
For Eid prayer, we used to go to School Valley, and how other staff waited outside the valley gate to hug and wish us on Eid, and when I reached school premises, my classmates would run to hug and wish. Why to forget seniors’ gesture, they also hugged. Why were they doing so? They didn’t belong to the belief which I had. They did all those things to make me feel comfortable that I didn’t miss my home. My eyes are full of tears while remembering and writing down this part.
The most important point I want to mention here is that I never felt different from my classmates or seniors, nor did we ever have discussions on religion. We celebrated each and every festival together. This is the reason why we are attached to our Alma Mater. I feel proud to be part of OG. Long Live OG.
– Modassir Mushtaque
This piece was shared by Modassir Mushtaque (School Vice Captain, Patel House Captain & School Cricket Captain, Session 2009-10) on May 20, 2018.Tags: 2000s Modassir Mushtaque