Ramadan- The holy month for Muslims when followers of the religion across the globe observe a month-long fast from dawn until sunset every day.
Kolkata, with its fair share of diversity basks in the celebration of a number of religious celebrations and Ramadan in Kolkata is one such rich cultural experience that ought not to be missed.
While the cravers of gastronomy go gaga over the elaborate meal served during Iftar which is marked by the Maghrib azaan (the call for prayer in the evening), often a much more exciting and culturally rich tradition goes by unnoticed by many, the meal at dawn- Sehri!
Sehri is essentially the meal observed before Fajr- the call for prayer at dawn. Before beginning a day-long fast, the meal of Sehri is of much importance to a Roza-daar (one keeping a fast). Now, much like all things in Kolkata, the concept of Sehri too has become one of much excitement and merriment.
Every night, all through the month of Ramadan, the lanes and by-lanes around Nakhoda Masjid, Colootola and Phears lane come alive with a vigour of its own.
From freshly prepared Kebabs on the tandoor to an endless queue outside Sufia for a bowl of Nehari to searching for a table to devour a plate of Chicken Changezi, the place turns into heaven for any food lover. Be it the doodh-lachha or the the shermal, or a freshly brewed mini-cup of coffee, Colootola Street and Phears Lane are nothing less than a food carnival. And that combined with the buzz of the countless enthusiastic souls present there brings Sehri to life.
Sehri in Kolkata is an unparalleled experience, not just for the food but for the sheer enthusiasm of all the people that are about to begin their day-long fast. And it is not just the satisfaction of observing a fast that keeps the people there keen but also the countdown to the holy day of Eid that sets the pace for the day.
People walking in and out of Nakhoda Masjid for their prayers, queues outside the Tailor’s shop to get the perfect dress made for Eid. Vendors catching a quick nap on their make-shift stalls and the aroma of food in the air till the Imam Saab announces ‘Sehri ka waqt ab khatm ho chuka hai’!