x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Ramadan is a "speed bump" to remind us what is important: diary

Everyday people's thoughts during the Holy month

Ramadan is a speed bump - a much needed and much appreciated one.

What is the purpose of a speed bump? It is a deviation in the regular flat surface of the road that forces you to take your foot off the accelerator, slightly press on the brakes and slow down.

This is exactly what Ramadan 'forces' all of us to do.

It imposes itself on the lightning-paced norm of our everyday lives and forces us all to slow down.

It starts subtly with reduced working hours and the hustle and bustle of the corporate world does not seem as relevant as it did last week.

All of a sudden there is more free time during the day to spend however one sees fit.

Think about the mandatory iftar gathering at sunset.

It is almost inexcusable to miss it because it is assumed that no one is really expected to be anywhere else at that time.

Where else would you be and what else would you be doing?

Additionally, the thought that you are breaking bread simultaneously with all other observers of the month under the same sunset is a thought worth pondering and acknowledging.

The days move slowly, almost as if the world is submerged and we look at it through goggles.

The streets are quieter, save for the beautiful echoes of prayer from the surrounding mosques. The city feels more peaceful.

But most importantly, just like the speed bump in its forceful nature reminds us that we need to slow down, Ramadan also tends to factor in the elements we normally take for granted.

You and I have the tendency to forget. We forget the people who enrich our lives and whose company we adore, we spend our days chasing individual pursuits instead and we forget the blessings we've been granted, whether food, health or comfort.

We spend our days wasting and wanting more, we forget the beauty of the world that surrounds us and the bigger picture we are all a part of, and we spend our days distracting ourselves with minuscule matters.

We simply forget what is truly important.

So here is a time for family and loved ones, a time for gratitude, and a time for reflection. And it could not come a day too soon.

A blessed holy month to you all.

Hoor Al Khaja, 21, from Dubai, is a research analyst in the public sector.