My First Ramadan: 'Food, laughter prevailed at Iftar time'

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My First Ramadan: Food, laughter prevailed at Iftar time
Hamad Ismail

Dubai - Ismail used to prefer lots of cartoons over food, but today, at age 23, his first choice would be mouthwatering food

By Sarwat Nasir

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Published: Wed 7 Jun 2017, 11:17 PM

Last updated: Thu 8 Jun 2017, 1:19 AM

Everyone has those special memories of their grandparents they always remember, and for Hamad Ismail those moments were built during his first Ramadan when he fasted.
Ismail, an Emirati national, has a distant memory of his family gathering at his grandmother's house when he was six-years-old.
There used to be massive pots and trays of traditional Emirati cuisine for Iftar, including harees aseeda, rice, sagaw, igeimat and fatayer.
"We all used to dive into the food. There was so much fun and laughter. That's what I can remember from when I was six. Those are the kind of memories that are engrained into my brain from when I was a child and for my first Ramadan," he said.
"My first fast was hard. But when it was time to eat, I vividly remember us all sitting on the floor and eating together, watching a cartoon called Block 13."
Ismail preferred lots of cartoons over the large quantity of food, but today, at the age of 23, his first choice would be a mouthwatering cuisine, followed by a bit of cartoons. "Why not?" he said. "You're never too old for cartoons."
For suhoor, Ismail and his family would watch the reruns of the cartoons.
"I remember my mom waking us up for suhoor and we would all sit together and eat, watching reruns of the shows we missed," he said.
Ismail said he holds on tightly to these memories as he and his family members are "too busy" to recreate those moments.
"I miss those days. But it's different now. I guess we all grew out of that. Everyone is busy. It's a different time and era, with work and studies being a factor as well," he said.
Ismail urged all parents, grandparents and children to spend as much time together as they can for Ramadan, especially when the young ones are fasting.
He feels it's important for children to have those "special memories" of their grandparents.
"Each time we go back to my grandmother's house for a visit, I just love it. It takes me back to those days of my first Ramadan. I mean, it's your grandmother's house - you love that smell that's always there, the food, the comfort. It's one thing that never changes, even though your life outside is constantly changing," he said.
Today, as a working man, Ismail often ends up opening his fast at work.

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