Festive Fervour - With Sophia Ahmed, Sara Khan, and Shaista Sanai Arif

As the month-long period of Ramadan is soon coming to an end, people all over the globe are gearing up to celebrate the festival of Eid, eagerly anticipating the spotting of the moon. And while some look forward to putting the period of fasting behind them (!), many are also making the most of the last few days. Hyderabadis too are busy – relishing delicious haleem and biryani, and visiting the old city where the ambience is buzzing with festive fervour. They’re going all out to make the final days of the festival really count. As we do every year, we recently caught up with three gorgeous ladies from the city to find out what they enjoy most about the festival of Eid and how they celebrate it.    - Niharika


Sara Khan
For High Court lawyer Sara Khan, Ramadan is a month of compassion, sacrifice, and gratitude to the almighty who has bestowed good health and happiness upon us. “Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam as prescribed by God in the holy Quran. For me, though, Ramadan is a month of charity for the under privileged, and a time to thank God for everything he has given us,” says Sara.
A mother to a 12-year-old boy named Arhaan, Sara says she loves to celebrate Eid with her family, friends, and less-privileged children. She says, “It gives me immense happiness to see smiles on these children’s faces and I thank God for everything. The preparation for Eid, however, is not just about shopping or eating good food. It’s about asking for forgiveness and seeking God’s blessings, as the last 10 days of Ramadan are meant to have you devoted in prayer.” While there’s no quality that Sara would like to forfeit, she does want to be more careful in trusting people easily. She says, “During this time we ask God for forgiveness, and for everything he has given us.”


Shaista Sanai Arif
Ramadan is very important to Shaista. The festival teaches her the importance of devoting herself to prayer, without food and water, and yet being able to work and have a normal day. “It helps cleanse my body and clean my soul, for it enables me to be humble and thank God for everything he has given me,” says Shaista. A dentist by profession, Shaista now has a restaurant business. On what she enjoys most about the festival, she says, “I love to go to Charminar… it’s so full of life all night long. The food – haleem, biryani, and kebabs – are excellent during this time,” she says, adding that Eid is celebrated with a lot of fanfare across the globe. “People visit their family and friends and collect Eidi from the elders. There’s also a feast lined up at every house we visit.”  She goes on to say that on the last day of roza, the entire house is buzzing with activity, and people decorate their houses with flowers and silverware. “The morning of Eid always features a vast breakfast menu and lots of goodies,” she says. But the one thing that gets utmost importance is sheer khorma; you need a whole lot of skill and patience to make it right.

Sophia Ahmed
Sophia Ahmed, a life skills coach who is currently working as a counsellor, emphasises the importance of giving out alms in worship. She says, “The festival of Ramadan also means a whole world full of haleem to me (laughs).” “As Eid is one of the only two festivals that we celebrate together as a family every year, we make sure that there is a whole day-long gathering at my place where we are surrounded by friends and family,” she adds. If there were a quality in her that she’d like to change, she notes that it would be to work consciously and be a little more patient. “From simply selecting an attire to the preparation of Eid, we are always left with a plateful of duties that go towards the preparation of the festival. Sheer khorma and the exotic food prepared during this time are simply delicious,” she concludes.