Ramadan 2021

Ramadan 2021: From hospital to kitchen, nurse’s labour of love prevails

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on April 13, 2021
Supplied photo

Frontline nurse Nazeera Sayed talks about observing Ramadan amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is the second time frontline nurse Nazeera Sayed is observing Ramadan amid the Covid-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, although she clocked in extra hospital hours while fasting, her spiritual zeal remained palpable as she quickly washed up, donned her apron, and lit the kitchen stove to whip up her family’s first Iftar meal this holy month.

“I am making mirchi bhajji (chilli fried in a batter) which I do every year and we really like it. It is a street food from (the Indian state of) Andhra Pradesh, where I hailed from. Apart from that, I am also preparing the Ramadan Special ‘Ganji’ which is a rich starch soup. It is rich in carbohydrates and is quite nutritious”, said the director of nursing at Medeor Hospital, Dubai.

Nazeera, who has been a nurse over the past 26 years, continues to be at the front line of patient care, actively involved with administering Covid-19 jabs, evaluation and monitoring in the community. “I have given thousands of jabs to patients since the vaccine drive started in our hospital in January,” she told Khaleej Times.

Administering the shots is not always easy, she said, as she remembered a patient who walked into the hospital trembling in fear.

“He was a 41-year-old patient who was so scared of injections that he was literally shivering. He kept asking me if the shot would hurt or not. When we check the pulse of the patient, we can make out how he was feeling. So, I tried distracting him by starting a conversation. I asked him about his profession, life and family. When I was done, I told him that the vaccine shot has been given,” said the veteran nurse.

“He was amazed. At first he didn’t believe me. He asked me if I had really given him the shot. Then I showed him the empty syringe. He was so happy that he told me he will leave a Google review about me. But I pray from the bottom of my heart that by the next Ramadan this pandemic is completely wiped out,” added Nazeera.

After spending the day running the hospital’s nursing department and making patients feel a whole lot better, she brought the same passion and intensity as she embarked on her Iftar mission in the kitchen. Dexterously removing the seeds and pith from the green chillies with a knife, she was clearly determined to serve the best to the family.

Nazeera, who is now dressed in a peacock green salwar kameez, in no time lays the table beautifully, with all the staples of the holy month — dates, nimbu paani (lemon drink), ganji, and the inviting mirchi bhajji.

With the azaan (call to prayer) wafting through her apartment’s window, she and her husband have their first morsel of the day — ending their fasts, after a hard day of work.


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These prayer timings are for Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman. For Abu Dhabi, add four minutes. Deduct four minutes for Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain, and six minutes for Fujairah.

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