Dates filled with nuts & ‘sar shir’, a Persian-style cream; the ‘skin’ from boiling milk.
Switzerland? No, this is the Naran Valley in Northern Pakistan. Photo taken by my husband’s cousin, Suraiya Khalid Anvery this summer.
One of my favourite memories of Ramzaan (Ramadan, in Urdu), are from uni days when my best friend Shameen and I would take the train to London to stay with our Aunt, Nadia Khala on weekends. We’d be perched up on our stools in the kitchen during iftar time, when the fast is broken, while Nadia Khala’s housekeeper, Bano would be frying coriander and green chili pakoras in the wok. Watching them bob up and down in the oil, we’d wait impatiently to have a pakora before Bano could transfer them on to the plate lined with a paper towel. Too keen to break our fast, we’d grab a piece straight off the spatula, whilst burning our fingers. We were supposed to break our fast, as per tradition, with a date, but this hot savoury tempura was more tempting. Nadia Khala would chop soft dates for us and mix them with Marks & Spencer double cream. Toffee flavours slathered with creaminess. That would be our dessert. And then mugs of hot, milky tea would be passed around. We hated leaving Nadia Khala every weekend. Ramzaan just isn’t the same without family.
A village in the Sindh province. Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images, from Boston Globe.
Ramzaan is not the same this year given the devastation which has taken place in Pakistan recently. The number of those suffering from the floods exceeds 15 million- a number far above those affected by the tsunami, Kashmir and Haiti earthquake.
My two preferred organisations are Behbud and Unicef, for those who would like to donate. Relief4Pakistan is also running a fantastic campaign, donations will be channeled through MercyCorps. For any donations, we would be very grateful…
Men and livestock wade together. Photo by REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro, from Boston Globe.
Flood survivors. Photo by A. MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images, from Boston Globe.
Children. Waiting. Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images, from Boston Globe.
Naran Valley, July, 2010. Photo by Suraiya Khalid Anvery.