'No one ever stays hungry in UAE'
"He is the North pole and I am the South since we belong to totally different culture and backgrounds," says Sheel.
Dubai - Once she moved to the UAE after her marriage, her first Ramadan was very different from what she had been used to.
Her first ever fast was before she was a Muslim and the day long experience was tough.
Years ago Sheel Chaudhary, a Hindu then, decided to observe the fast in Ramadan and experience it because her friends also did it. "It was difficult because I could have no food or water unlike the fasts in Hinduism," she says.
Despite the tough conditions and once that she had started, Sheel fasted the whole month. "I learnt that it was all will power and a matter of the mind. Even on normal days, we sometimes go without eating but we don't realise it, so it was just a matter of training the brain," she said.
"I moved in a circle that consisted more of Christian friends than Muslims and we only learnt in schools that the holy cities of Makkah and Madina were two very important places for Muslims," she added. She recalls how as a child she used to watch a neighbour praying and get fascinated.
Today, she is a Muslim and hasn't missed a day of fasting since she married her Emirati husband 10 years ago and moved to the UAE. Sheel says she met her husband in India and discussions on religion touched a chord somewhere and she got to know more about Islam.
Later, when friendship developed into love and she took a decision to marry him, she was given full support by her family when she accepted Islam. "There is no force in Islam and once I was convinced that this is the man I want to marry, things worked out," says Sheel.
Once she moved to the UAE after her marriage, her first Ramadan was very different from what she had been used to.
"He is the North pole and I am the South since we belong to totally different culture and backgrounds," says Sheel, adding that the transition for her has been greater.
"The culture and traditions are very different from those in India," she says.
But she conceded that the food part in the UAE is amazing. "No one ever stays hungry," she adds.
Sheel has now been married 10 years and is the mother of 5-year-old twins. "Fasting is now easier but managing my two boys is tougher," she says.