Sunday, August 07, 2011

Why I Love Ramadan: Taxi Drivers

I've waxed lyrical on many occasions about my love for Ramadan.  This is my fourth, and at 7 days in, I've already accumulated a plethora of wonderful and touching experiences.  So I thought I'd chronicle them, as they happen.  My first 'Ramadan Tale' is about taxi drivers.

These guys have it tough during Ramadan.  If they're fasting, they have to cope with hunger and thirst throughout their 12 hour shift.  If they're not, they have to cope with increasingly erratic driving from those who are fasting, as the day progresses.  If you need a taxi at 6.30, which I often do, as I'm socialising at Iftars, it can be hard to get a taxi and when you do, you could be interrupting a hungry driver who is just about to break his fast. 

A friend was leaving work last week, and just as she opened the taxi door to get in, the call to prayer rang out.  The driver offered to continue, but A insisted that they waited for him to break his fast and eat and drink something.  As of course, you would hope anyone would.

The lovely taxi driver was so overcome with emotion at this act that after he'd finished eating and dropped her home, he began to rifle through his bag of snacks.  Despite A's protestations, he refused to let her exit the taxi until he had given her a slice of melon to take with her, as a thank-you for her patience.

Yesterday I jumped in  cab to head to the home of a lovely Egyptian friend of mine.  It was 6.35, and just 30 minutes to Iftar.  I was obviously extremely apologetic and hoped I hadn't interrupted the driver's Iftar.  He wouldn't hear a word of it and went on to explain that he was fasting for God, and God would not mind if he was late.  Never mind the fact the poor man hasn't eaten for 12 hours.  We then had a lovely chat about his favourite mosques, and which were the best to head to for 'free' iftars (the Government provides free juice, water, milk and snacks during Ramadan.)

Both stories warmed my heart. Taxi drivers are literally the backbone of the city.  They work extremely hard for little pay and little thanks.  They're a constant source of stories and interesting tales.  If you don't chat to them during your journey, I really suggest that you do.  Especially during Ramadan...


viona said...

I've never found anyone anywhere who shares my fascination of the Arab world ( especially Dubai) till I came across your blog. I am moving to Dubai by December 2013 and I must say I am coming because I want to see the world and frankly Dubai is the best place to start. I'm Viona from Nairobi, Kenya and I LOVE your blog!

Minhal Mehdi said...

happy ramadan 2015