You're sitting at the dining table, alternating glances between the plate of delicacies, and the clock that hangs on the wall opposite. Waiting...waiting...waiting for that second hand to strike the golden minute.
You're sitting at the cramped restaurant table that you're sharing with a group of your friends and a couple of strangers. You have two slices of pizza on your plate, and with the disturbing thought that your pizza is getting colder with every passing second, you stare intently at the right hand corner of that 42'' LED screen. Waiting...waiting...waiting as that digital timer counts down the seconds at a glacial pace.
You're sitting in your car, stuck, in what feels like the worst traffic you have experienced in your entire life, looking intently at the traffic signals ahead. Feeling as though you could turn that light green with the power of your being alone, you can't help but check your watch every two seconds. Waiting...waiting...waiting to get home to your wife and children.
T-2 hours till Iftar
You're lying on your stomach in your room when you hear your mother taking out the pots and pans. You've stayed home all day, and as you go back to reading your book, you feel relieved because in that moment, the one day of fasting doesn't look like it will be much of an ordeal.
You're in your car on the way to the restaurant. Your friend has already called you twice to make sure you get there early to book seats for everyone. Why they don't have a reservation system is beyond you, but living the closest to the place, you've agreed to be the designated “seat-keeper”. As the restaurant comes into view, you only hope that the movie you've downloaded on your phone can get you through the wait.
You're at work. As you wait for your report to be printed, you know making it home for iftar today will be a challenge. Looking around at the nearly empty office, you can't help but feel hopelessness sinking in at the thought of another iftar away from your family.
T-1 hours till Iftar
Your stomach has started to rumble lightly. Your eyes aren't really taking in the words anymore. You can hear the tantalising sizzling coming from your kitchen, and you think maybe you've poorly judged the difficulty of a day of fasting at home.
Although you arrived two hours ahead of time, finding a table for four has not been possible. Sitting beside two strangers at a six person table, that you now have to share, you feel thoroughly irritated. On top of that, your friends haven't arrived yet and you realise that you can't concentrate on your movie with the noise from the traffic.
You've finally handed in your report for the day. As you get into your car, you can feel a glimmer of hope. It's not too late yet. Maybe, just maybe, you'll make it on time today.
You've been lassoed into the kitchen by the aroma of fried food, to literally see what's cooking. You know you should help your mother out, but who're we kidding? That's not happening. Curiosity satisfied, you take your place up at the dining table.
Half of your group has finally decided to show up. You thought these last minutes would be easily spent talking, but no one is in the state to initiate a conversation. Every breath feels like torture with the scent of oregano and mozzarella carelessly wafting about.
You are almost home when you look ahead and see the red backlights of the cars piled up. Your timidly growing optimism disappears in the blink of an eye.
All your family has now gathered around the table. It's only a matter of seconds now.
The collective anticipation of the restaurant's occupants is palpable. The noise level has abated, as you all fight the instinct to join in with the last countdown.
The traffic lights have miraculously turned green right on time. You enter your garage and almost immediately abandon your car. Running up the stairs, you hurriedly ring that doorbell as you hear the azaan going off in the background.
As the first drops of liquid- Rooh Afza, Coca Cola, or Lemonade- cascade down your throat, an ineffable sense of relief and gratitude overwhelms you.
Rabita Saleh is a perfectionist/workaholic. Email feedback to this generally boring person at firstname.lastname@example.org