Ramadan 2021: This non-Muslim expat has been observing fast for 18 years
Last updated on April 16, 2021 at 04.04 pm
Abu Dhabi resident Chandrasekharan Parambath, a non-Muslim, has been fasting every Ramadan for the past 18 years. For this Indian expat, fasting in the holy month is an expression of unity with the Muslim community. It’s something, he views now as an important act in a world more divided and polarised than ever.
“Religious intolerance and hatred are on the rise in India and the world. I have always believed that we must promote love, harmony, peace and consideration for others without any prejudice and discrimination. Fasting during Ramadan is a symbolic way of endorsing my personal belief. I hope for a world where we share and spread love not aversion. So, when the vast Muslim population of the world unitedly observe a fast for a month, I too join them. I think this is the best way to maintain purity of thought. I am steadfast in my determination. I will fast every Ramadan as long as I can.”
The 58-year-old Keralite from Malappuram district has been in Abu Dhabi for the past 30 years. He isn’t sure from when he started observing fast during Ramadan, but recollected it was either from 2002 or 2003.
And this activity extends beyond the holy month and includes a 16-hour overnight fasting too.
“Apart from Ramadan, I often fast for any two days of a week. I also follow a midnight fasting, i.e., you have dinner by 6 pm and then have breakfast by 10 or 11 am. It feels like two days of daytime fasting.”
Chandrasekharan follows a disciplined life of waking up way before the sunrise and a healthy diet.
“For the past few years, I have been waking up by 4-4.30 am and going for a morning walk. It is a good form of exercise. By 6 am, I am fresh and ready for my day ahead. By fasting during Ramadan, I have lost up to 10 kgs. My blood pressure and sugar levels are all normal. I do regular health checkups. I don’t have any health issues. Over the years, I have limited my meat intake and mostly have vegetarian food and fruits. At times, I will have kanji (rice porridge) at night.”
Chandrasekharan stays in a shared accommodation and prepares his own iftar.
“I am the only person observing fast in my flat. My iftar is a modest one with dates and fruits. Later, I drink juice.”
Chandrasekharan’s wife and two daughters are back in Kerala.
“Both my daughters are studying. They inquire about my health and iftar.”
Chandrasekharan is a socially active person. He has held several key roles in associations like the Kerala Social Centre and cultural forums like the Yuvakala Sahithi. Currently, he is currently working as a staff at a government authority in Abu Dhabi.
“After retirement, I will return home. I will continue to follow and promote my beliefs.”