Reaching Toward Ramadan; Fasting Hours Throughout the Northern And Southern Hemispheres; A Move to the Southern Hemisphere Contemplated; A Stitch in Time Saves Nine; Drum Roll Explained; Fret The Word of the Day; The New Yorker Supplies Secular Content;  ‘Ramadan Mubarak’; Photos of Dates and Sunny Times 

First the bad news. Depending on where one lives in this wide world, the hours of Ramadan requires differing fasting periods. Here is a list of the longest fasting hours. 

– Nuuk, Greenland: 17 hours

– Reykjavik, Iceland: 17 hours

– Helsinki, Finland: 17 hours

– Stockholm, Sweden: 17 hours

– Glasgow, Scotland: 17 hours

Yes. The cities that require the shortest fasting hours are: 

Jakarta, Indonesia: 13 hours

– Brasilia, Brazil: 13 hours

– Harare, Zimbabwe: 13 hours

– Johannesburg, South Africa: 13 hours

– Buenos Aires, Argentina: 12 hours

– Ciudad del Este, Paraguay: 12 hours

– Cape Town, South Africa: 12 hours

– Montevideo, Uruguay: 12 hours

– Canberra, Australia: 12 hours

– Puerto Montt, Chile: 12 hours

– Christchurch, New Zealand: 12 hours

What does this mean?? After careful consideration I am moving to either Christchurch, New Zealand or Canberra, Australia. They are both Commonwealth countries and the hours of my fast would be considerably shortened. Yes, indeed, they would. 

I ‘did’ Ramadan last year in Abu Dhabi where the hours of fasting were 14 hours. This year in Edmonton they shall be (drum roll please) 16 hours. 

Drumroll please!A drum roll is often used to show that someone important is arriving, or to introduce someone or something. 

Will the move to the Southern Hemisphere be worth it? Most probably because as I was planning to visit my relatives in Australia anyway, with a stop off in Malaysia – so this is going to work. A stitch in time saves nine is an expression that presently came to mind. I do not have to actually move to Australia – just visit during Ramadan. Problem solved. But, obviously not this year. 

A stitch in time saves nine is a proverb meaning:if you sort out a problem immediately it may save a lot of extra work later. It is applicable to this situation. I do not have to contemplate making another huge move, find out about immigration, sort out medical coverage, find new professionals etc. etc. etc. This shall be easy, find out when Ramadan will occur in 2024, perhaps take a cruise to Australia, locate all of my long lost relatives. The anticipation will give hope to many Dryburghs, Also, they can have a vacation from me as Ramadan demands quiet and solitude. 

It is difficult, and a vast relief, to find myself on the eve to Ramadan. Almost all of my secular chores (including double taxation) have been completed.  Therefore, I shall begin Ramadan with peace of mind. This is essential – no worrying, no nagging unimportant details to fret about. I do love that word fret. 

Fret is to be constantly visibly worried or anxious, The synonyms are most disquieting: anxious, feel uneasy, be distressed, be upset, upset oneself, concern oneself, feel unhappy; agonize, anguish, sorrow, sigh, pine, brood, mope; fuss, make a fuss, complain, grumble, whine, eat one’s heart out; stew, feel peeved. I shall not stew, feel peeved, agonize or mope thinking about the extra hours I have to ‘put in’ because I live in the North Hemisphere – almost as north as one can get. I shall just look forward to next year with anticipation. 

I woke up to many mar-rises and much joy. Perhaps news of this can wait until tomorrow. Instead there was an Instagram post that was perfect, could not be better as a matter of fact. “I really hope that this Ramadan is a peaceful time for everyone because there’s been so much going on in the world recently and I feel like everyone just needs some peace and a break from it all. May Allah SWT allow us to reach it swiftly.” 

This from a secular source. A book review from The New Yorker, written by B.D. McClay: How Eleanor Cotton thickens the plot 

“By now, if readers of “Birnam Wood” have learned one thing, it’s that someone is always watching. Whether people are being spied on by the modern technologies of surveillance (Google, G.P.S., cell phones, drones, social media) or by the more ancient techniques of intimacy (marriage, friendship, family, gossip), they are never afforded the luxury of a purely private action, or of avoiding the roles that others have written for them. “ 

That is so true, someone is always watching us, with modern technologies and also with ancient techniques of intimacy (marriage, friendship, family, gossip). It is almost impossible to avoid roles that others have written for us. 

Hence, the importance of Ramadan. Devout Muslims believe that Allah (SWT) is always watching them, always there for them. The joy of Ramadan is that the cast of characters decreases – properly observed, only Allah (SWT) is watching you. A simpler time when it becomes possible to sort.  

It is a fascinating review speaking of the power of choice, of free will. We are wrong. “Birnam Wood” ’s biggest twist is not so much a particular event as the realization that this is a book in which everything that people choose to do matters, albeit not in ways they may have anticipated. Catton has a profound command of how perceptions lead to choice, and of how choice, for most of us, is an act of self-definition. Take Mira, whose determination not to be typecast lends her a stubbornness that’s easily mistaken for strength of character. Like some of her friends, Mira assumes that Lemoine’s interest in her is sexual: indeed, she spends time first imagining a scenario in which she’s propositioned and, ice-cold, turns him down, then an alternative, deflationary scenario in which she sleeps with him to prove that she’s not a prude. Her need to be unpredictable makes her easy to manipulate—it wouldn’t be unfair to say that she takes Lemoine’s money to show that she’s more than an idealist. But this choice is not, ultimately, about her this choice is not, ultimately, about her. It invites violence, both symbolically—Birnam Wood now runs on “blood money,” as Tony puts it—and, as the book goes on, quite literally. The idea that her choices could affect something other than her internal narrative doesn’t occur to Mira, because it doesn’t often occur to anybody.”

There is this inevitability. “Discovering that they live in a world of consequence, with stakes bigger than self-image or self-respect, is as much of a shock to the characters as it is to us. Congratulations, Catton seems to say, on being just smart enough to play yourself.” 

Here is the link to the entire article.

Being smart enough to play myself is what I constantly try to do (with mixed results). That is because I have the luxury of being complex, not bound by the ancient techniques of intimacy. I do not gossip, I am not married and do not have a close family. Well, I do have friendships, ones I cherish. 

W.O.M.A.N, came to visit two days ago. She brought a gift of dates. How incredibly sensitive, thoughtful and respecting of my faith. During Ramadan – the fast is broken by dates. I do not even know how she knows this. One photograph will be gifted dates. 

I invited her to choose amongst framed Mixtiles photographs, I accidentally got a double order. She picked two – one of the view, one I enjoy from the sixteenth floor of this apartment. It was taken in the fall, the leaves beginning to turn. It is bright and sunny. 

I promised to write a note to display alongside the photo. 

“To the Paudel Family. You brighten my days with the sunshine you bring to my life. Thank you!!” 

LOL shall come later today – to post the blog and to serve as my Awesome Administrative Assistant. We will print the message to his family. 

Alhamdullah! You can say ‘Ramadan Mubarak’

“Among the most common sayings are “Ramadan Mubarak” and “Ramadan Kareem”. These are Arabic sayings that translate to “blessed Ramadan” and “generous Ramadan”. (Al Jazeera) Muslims believe that Ramadan is the month in which the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad more than 1,400 years ago. “