Stop, eat and fast

KARACHI: “You think these womenfolk who do their Eid shopping till way past midnight will then go home to prepare Sahri for their families? No, they also eat out,” says Dodal Sindhi while checking if the roast chickens turning on the grills behind him are receiving equal heat from all sides.

It is around 2am and we are at the famous food street of Hussainabad where the eateries are open till the early hours of the morning. During Ramazan, especially its final few nights, there is an added dazzle. Deep-fried steaming paratha, hot chapatti and naan are gone as soon as they come out of the pans, off the griddle and tandoor and there is a demand for more as waiters rush to fetch more. Chicken karahi, barbecue tikka, kebab, chargha … you name it and they are consuming it.

“These days when there are so many power outages happening, you see more people come out to have Sahri. There is also the advantage of sea breeze here,” says another fellow at Boat Basin in Clifton as his hands move swiftly in preparation of kata-kat on the huge griddle in front of him.

Sitting cross-legged on a takht, waiting for their order of karahi with cheese are Tasneem Athar, her son Syed Jawad, daughter-in-law Sheeba and daughter Dania. “No, we don’t come out at this unearthly hour usually. Today is a special occasion for us as it is Dania’s birthday,” the mother says pointing to her daughter.

“We are lucky to have found parking here at this time because the place will be jam-packed and there will be no method to the madness by 3am,” says Jawad, the son.

“Frankly, these days those really looking for some adventure, especially on weekends, leave the city and aim for the eateries on the Superhighway. If they start early, they can even reach Hyderabad, have Sahri there and return by morning to sleep the entire day.”

The next stop on the list is Burnes Road. But the place is more of a let-down with only a few places open. The popular Waheed restaurant has no desire to offer Sahri. “Every day, we are open since 3pm for Iftar. Our staff works non-stop. They deserve to have Sahri in peace at least. So if you want to have our food for your Sahri, just come around 2am and have it packed to take home,” says the gentleman at the counter busy wrapping up.

Still, Food Centre with a few other places here and there and most of the carts preparing barbecue, bun-kabab and fried fish do roaring business here. So don’t just drop Burnes Road from your Sahri plan altogether.

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2015.

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