I'm deliberately using the old spelling and pronunciation of the month of fasting. This habit of adopting new pronunciations and spellings is meant to show that the user is a better Muslim than most Arabs. For the same reason, these born-again Muslims say "Jazak Allah" instead of the common Arabic word "shukran" (meaning thank you). In fact, Arabs detest the Pakistani Muslim's habit of trying to prove that he is a better Muslim than them. When a Pakistani minister tried to impress an Arab Shaikh about Pakistan being an Islamic state, the Shaikh said, "Islam came 1400 years ago, not in 1947".

When I was in my teens, and later, I didn't fast, because very few men did. Restaurants used to be open, no one reacted angrily when he saw someone smoking or drinking water (except in the north, where the reaction was a thorough beating or a bullet in the head). Another reason I didn't fast was because I was terribly weak as a youngster and didn't expect to live long. Later, when I worked in the petroleum industry, I had to spend long hours under the hot sun. It was later (at the age of 30 or thereabouts), when it became evident that I wouldn't die soon that I regularly began observing the Ramzan fast. I found that it actually made me feel better.

This year, however, due to my advanced age, it was tough. I developed a terrible stiffness in my right shoulder (I couldn't even raise my right arm). Then my back ache worsened so much that I had a tough time getting up, due to the sharp spasmodic pain in my lower back and thighs). I think it was due to the inevitable constipation resulting from fasting. I never take pain-killers, I got rid of the shoulder pain by regular exercise. For the back-pain I used to walk a total of ninety minutes daily (compared to 70 minutes before Ramzan). This helped a bit.

I think people in Afghanistan and in the northern parts of Pakistan are affected badly in Ramzan (they are the kind of people who kill if they see anyone eating in the daytime in the holy month). Every year they see the moon when it isn't there, so they celebrate Eid a day before the rest of us. But this year the people of Afghanistan went a step further. They saw the moon six hours before the birth of the new moon and celebrated Eid on Sunday, a day on which no one else in the world did. These guys need their eyes to be checked, or even  extensive psychiatric treatment.