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Techies on juggling fasting and work schedules during Ramzan

A Iftar in progress

A Iftar in progress   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Techies who fast during Ramzan talk about balancing their work and staying off food during the day

Shemy Rasheed, an employee of a multinational corporate (MNC) usually comes to work by 10 am and leaves for home by 7 pm. Several “micro-breaks” in between have him stepping out to have tea and chat with friends or catch up with breaking news, if any. But these days, he is at work by 9 am and leaves by 5.30 pm. “No micro-breaks either. I can’t afford to waste a minute because I have to leave early for home and break the fast with my family,” says Shemy.

Shemy Rasheed

Shemy Rasheed   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

During the run-up to Ramzan, many IT professionals fast during the day. While some like Shemy have rescheduled their working hours, for several techies it is about getting accustomed to new food and sleeping patterns.

“Long hours without food or water is not that difficult because it has become a routine for us. We have been doing it from childhood. Each has his/her own arrangements in place during this time. Some go home to have the Iftar meal (the evening meal to break the fast), many go to a mosque nearby and there are others who do it in office. Although, I usually go home, if I have to attend a call in the evening, I break the fast with a glass of water in the office itself and later eat something from the food court in our building,” says Mohammed Rasikh of Binary Fountain. His colleague Shereena S breaks the fast in the office with dates and water. “I use our pantry area for that. Also, I bring a light meal from home or have something from our food court,” she says.

Shereena S

Shereena S   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Some food courts on the campus have fruits and water for those who are fasting, says Anzil M of Creace Technologies. “But those in the evening shift won’t be able to avail themselves of that facility. For instance, my wife, Firzana Majeed, works in the 1.30 pm-9.30 pm shift. She carries a light meal to break the fast in office,” says Anzil, who has his Iftar at a nearby mosque.

A challenge for all of them is getting used to the new food pattern, especially in the initial days of the fasting. While the pre-dawn meal has to be taken before 4.30 am, the evening meal is after 6.30 pm. “It has become a habit for me to have tea while at work. Since that’s not possible when I fast, I get headaches,” says Shereena.

Sleeping pattern also goes for a toss. “Since I don’t have anyone else at home to keep the Iftar meal ready, I leave early from office so that I can prepare something like pazhampori or vada, which I have with dates, fruits and water. Then I cook dinner, usually pathiri or chappathi and a side-dish. After that, I have to make the morning meal as well. While my husband prefers rice and curry, I have kanji. I get to sleep very late, that too for a few hours. So exhaustion kicks in when I am at work and so it becomes difficult to concentrate,” says Jaseena P, who works with Faya Innovations.

Jaseena P

Jaseena P   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Now that she is a volunteer with Tech-A-Break, Technopark’s cultural fete, at times, she does find it difficult to keep the spirits up. “The other day, I couldn’t go home on time and so had to break the fast with biscuits and water. We have stocked dates and biscuits in office in case somebody wants to take a bite in office after the fast,” she says. In spite of the difficulties, Jaseena says she looks forward to observing the fast every year.

As for the bachelor brigade, the difficult part is the pre-dawn meal.

“Some of them buy food at night itself, which becomes cold by the time they have it at 4 am. Many of them stock bread or bananas,” says Shemy.

However, there are lucky ones such as Ali Mansoor, who works with an MNC. “I stay at Kulathoor and there are hotels in and around Kazhakkoottam and Karyavattam where we get puttu, idiyappam, appam and even neychoru as early as 3.30 in the morning. Some of my friends in the city go to Palayam mosque where food is provided,” says Ali.

Most of them take a light meal and consume more of water and fruits. “It is a misconception that after the fast, we all have a feast. It is impossible to have a heavy meal on an empty stomach. Since we sleep less, it is not advisable to over eat and then go to work,” says Shemy.

Some companies on the campus organise Iftar get-togethers for the employees.

A major event is the Iftar organised by Techfriends, a charity forum on the campus. It is scheduled for May 28 this year. “In addition to those who observe the fast, we invite Technopark officials and members of various socio-cultural forums in Technopark,” says Shemy, secretary of Techfriends.

(A fortnightly column on life in tech street)

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 1:17:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fasting-in-ramzan-how-techies-manage-it-at-work/article27217929.ece

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