And so, we are dutifully informed, reminded rather, that Monsieur Rajeem has conveniently been carted away, out of our bewildered midst, like Hannibal Lecter- word has it he slipped compliantly into the suave silken jumpsuit- didn’t put up much of a fight. His easy confidence, like any other of his better qualities, is naturally two-pronged. Firstly, he declares calmly as he is strapped in, it trophies the indestructable fire welded contract guarunteeing his return after so called ‘maintenance’ at the end of the month. His other horn relaxes and takes the time to polish itself and admire its speckled reflection which sniggers back at him from the Mirror, speaking casually of the seeds he did not even need to sew, of the work that ‘takes care of itself’. Duly, he sighs a sigh of idleness. I refer back to the way we measure our own darkness and the brief we were given on choice. 

‘Heh… Most of my, what you exert yourselves in calling, ‘work'[…] it takes care of itself.’ 

189795_glass_2_filling_with_water.jpgFeigning ignorance and the natural instinct to consume to survive thrust on their gloves and heroicly spa all day long, ignorant of the fact that, in the end, neither of them are meant to win this fixed match. Talha, seven years old, dragged himself home from school one day with this spa ensuing in his stomach and, needless to say, all he could hear was growling. Had he been in this more wetter part of the world, he would have heard Harry II declaring that one could endure four minutes without oxygen, four days without water and four weeks without food. Had Talha known this, he wouldn’t have behaved so awfully desparately with just five tally marked minutes to go.

He staggers in, sucking in the relentlessly humid air, teasing him with moisture, the screen doors clanging irritably at his shirt soaked with the sun, his face reddened in what could never be sunburn. He has only one thing on his mind: the chilled bottle of fizz in the fridge and the bendy faithful straw in the top left draw. His hyperactiviy is subjugated, tied to the colonised ants in his school pants, beneath the weight of his fast and if one were to look closely, you could see him sitting on it, it’s expression pained, as though somebody were sitting on it. He decides to further crispen his parched throat by running up the three heavy flights to his room, away from the aromas, away from the smugness of the freezer, it’s lower compartment housing the essence of all he desired, spilling out its secret delight of cool white mist each time his peripheral vision perchanced on his Mother opening its door. A few minutes later, he comes panting back down, arms flailing. He is a siren. 

‘Five minutes left! Five minutes! Hai mera roza lag gaya! Hai mera roza! (This fast is getting to me!)’ 

In preparedness, he stealths into the kitchen, puts his overheated hands around the icy glory of the bottleneck, his super-ego grabs the straw and he doesn’t even know it. He runs to the bountifully laid out dining table- in preparation of course! He sucks up the bubble juice till it rises, like the thermometer of his agony, to the top of the straw and releases it back into the bottle again before it can reach his mouth. He repeats the refrain: up, down, up, [checks the time- too early] down, up… [still too early] but then it’s too late and he’s forgotten to down and swallowed instead and broken his fast just minutes before the siren blitzed through the city. He sat frozen. Still. He gazed at his straw as it bobbed up and floated out to lean at an accusing angle against the betraying neck of the bottle… Off balance. 

‘Haha! What have you done, little one?!’ 

So perhaps Ramadan is not the best time to open the world up to Toobaa’s Kitchen. Especially since the consumption we’re to desist from should be of minimal relevance as we turn our attentions to ramadan441.jpgfocusing on our more soulful hunger for things of a grander and more sublime nature. But since we have accepted its minimal status in the scheme of abstinence, we should then be able to poke around the kitchen without drawing too much attention to the stoic grumbling of the stomach. Irrelevance is a wonderfully liberating opinion. Watch the extractor fan, on the other hand, grab wildly at the divinely scrumptious, drool inducing aromas, inhaling frantically like a long famished thing. Puh-lease.  

Come to the Kitchen.