Ramzan, fasting and hunger

“Will you fast this Ramzan?” asked my friend from Lahore.

“No,” I said. “I don’t.”

“You aren’t religious?”


“So what do you believe in?”

“Myself. It is a self-centred belief but I feel I should be happy; if I am happy I can make others happy and contribute to their lives. If I can think and feel with my conscience, I have found my religion. I do not follow rituals, yet for those who do it serves a symbolic purpose, nothing more, and nothing less.”

“I think I will use this definition next time.”

“But you had once told me you were religious.”

“I must have said something when I was drunk. I think people like us are needed to make others feel they are following god’s word.”

“If it requires bad people to feel good, then they must not be very good to begin with. Such ‘badness’ is often better than their ‘goodness’.”

“I understand, but explain it further…”

“In their tunnel anything that flutters over their heads is a bat and they duck it out of fear. And they fumble in the darkness till they reach the light. Their ‘goodness’ is something from the outside; it is not inherent. They do not have originality of thought or their own emotional resources to find the light. So, when they come out of the tunnel they have to blink because the light hurts the eyes. They foolishly believe this is a miracle. The real miracle would have been if they had fished out a matchbox, lighter or torch and lit the tunnel. Anyone who manages to do that is ‘bad’, according to them. Because blind believers cannot accept self-sufficiency in others since they do not have it in themselves.”

“Are you a Sufi?”

“No, just eternally hungry!”

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