Old Cairo; the Night before Ramadan

On the night before Ramadan, I went to Al Muezz Street to scan old Cairo on the blink of such spiritual month…

Hanging lights marking the arrival of the holly month were twinkling all over the place with extra lighting emphasis at the entrances of bazaars and gift shops to attract more buyers.

Whether these were signals of sanctimonious society or that which is concerned only about the traditional emblems of Ramadan, I care not, I just liked the spirit that embraced the place that day. The whole setting harbored a merry atmosphere regardless of people’s intentions and what the month means to every individual in a country where the good fuses with the bad, and the intellectual blends with the illiterate.

I couldn’t have connected more deeply with people than I did that night. I envisioned everybody as a group of equally anxious people standing at the seashore awaiting one ship carrying their loved ones. Same expectancy, same happiness, regardless of the reason or what the heart of everyone quays.

The air carried the smell of the Baklava and other oriental sweet pastries, mixed with the relish of aromatic herbs and that of the scented oils in gifts shops, all blended with the smell of old wood, wet ground watered to cool down the heat of the day. Over and above the place still held the smell of our dear ancestors and eventful past; the history of civilized and all-time victorious Egypt.

Despite of the swarms that made the place seem more like crowded India, I was overjoyed that night like never before. There were certain magic in the place that made an unprecedented rise in humidity not quite felt amidst the surrounding beauty of that very much spiritual night and historically significant place.

I passed by the picturesque Sultan Muhammad ibn Qalwoon Complex that stood out like a dazzling bride dressed up on her wedding night. It was cuddled by colorful lights that embraced it from almost every angle- And there I stopped to take some pictures, among which is that attached to this post.

I didn’t mind the noise, even though that was never my nature, I actually took pleasure in listening to so many conversations that overlapped and made hearing what my friend was saying quite difficult.

Despite of the calm nature of myself, I felt like conversing with every passerby, perhaps in attempt to get the feeling that we’re one family readying for a long awaited visit of a dear guest, that is Ramadan.

Everything on that spot of land had its charm that night… The aged walls of mosques even the ones without the least historical significance.

The old looked warming up for the fasting month, and the youngsters seemed trying to stand out more responsible. Also sellers offered generous discounts-however without messing up with their intended profit, while women started to cover more modestly than the normal- regardless of the fact that I don’t digest such appearance-concerned norms, all of this seemed fine with me as it carried sincere intention of each individual to present the best of himself during the holy month, each in his own way, according to his own capacity and in accordance with his own cultural make-up.

Belated Ramadan greetings …


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