My Tryst With The Past


The blessed month of Ramazan is here. Once again we will fast from dawn to dusk, once again we will seek our Lord’s forgiveness and once again we will hope for his blessings. Much has changed since my childhood. We have a completely different way of living now, very different from how our grandparents or even our parents lived. Change is the law of nature but when change occurs very rapidly, it can be daunting and overwhelming at times. We often revisit our past and wish we could relive those defining moments. 
Ramazan, as it is celebrated today, is quite different from how it was celebrated in my childhood. Our simple and humble iftaar is now an elaborate affair comprising of a huge variety of dishes. While it is hard to find much similarity between the Ramazan of past and the Ramazan of present, there is one thing which has remained the same throughout. That is our beloved ‘Saher Khan’, whose drum beats still resound at sehri like they have done for so many years. As a child, I was always transfixed by the steady sound of the saher khan’s drum along with his “Waqt-e-Saher”. I would never wake up for suhoor until I heard his drum roll. I always assumed that Saher Khan was not a person but some magical creature who had been employed by the Almighty to ensure that no one missed suhoor. I imagined him riding on his magnificent stallion with two drums along the sides, producing the familiar beats. There was not a single day when I wouldn’t rush to the window to try and get a glimpse of the Saher khan. I would beg my father every day to let me meet him but it so happened that I never got to see him in person. 


I spent most of my Ramazan trying to picture the person who intrigued me so much. Sometimes I imagined that he would be dressed in gold while at other times, I imagined him to have strong majestic wings. As time passed, I grew up but every year, I would wait eagerly for Ramazan because it meant that I would get to hear the steady drum roll of the Saher Khan along with him booming voice again. A voice, I had come to cherish. As time passed, I got caught up with life and like so many childhood fantasies, meeting the Saher Khan also took a back seat. The drum roll that I eagerly waited for in my childhood became just another sound. I forgot about how I dreamt of riding all the way up to paradise on Saher Khan’s magnificent horse. I forgot about following him quietly and watching him rest in his bed in the clouds.
It is funny how the things which once mattered the most to us are often forgotten in the race to make it big in the world. As we grow up, we forget to dream, we forget to find joy in the simple things of life. In our race to be the first, we often forget to live. May be this is why when we take a walk down the memory lane, we end up feeling melancholic. We end up yearning for that care free time. We long for those happy days when our only worries were if we had enough chocolates to eat or enough toys to play with. It makes me sad to think how growing up robs us of our imagination, how life becomes merely going through the motions. We do what we are expected to do, we say what we are expected to say and we live how we are expected to live. Every moment becomes a struggle and every day becomes just another day. We forget to cherish, to love and to be happy. The sad part is that we don’t even realise how much life has changed us until a memory triggers us to revisit our childhood. For me, that trigger is the Saher Khan’s voice, the beat of his drum. Even though I am now wise enough to know that the Saher Khan is just like any of us. A person who goes around waking people up at suhoor because he gets paid for it, the sound of his voice and the beat of his drum still intrigue me. They transport me to a world far far away. A world where everyone loves each other, where hatred doesn’t exist. A world where dreams come true and people are not always trying to claw at each other’s throats. A world where words like cunning, wilful, cruel don’t exist. A perfect world! 
The beat of his drum still announces the arrival of the pious month of Ramazan. It still wakes me up for suhoor. The only difference is that instead of filling me with joy, it fills me with longing. A longing to go back to those days when life used to be so simple. A longing to find that innocent child who didn’t know the ways of the world or its manipulative schemes. I long for that happiness which filled my heart. I long to be able to run without a care in the world. I long to be who I used to be.




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