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Unbranded and home on the range.

Saying Grace, reason No.# 8527

That fount of life experience, the hand that rocks my cradle, the voice behind the most powerful duas ever made for me … a.k.a my mom:

“You should be thankful that for being in such a country, and that you have so much food available during Ramadan”, she said while gesturing at the variety of dishes laid out before us for Iftar, “because back home in Pakistan its the complete opposite.”

I stopped eating and inquired: “What do you mean?”

She was silent for a moment before replying: “Here, even the non-Muslim big-box grocery stores know when Ramadan has come around, so you’ll find all sorts of items and foodstuffs have their prices reduced. If this bottle of mango juice was two dollars before, during Ramadan its only one dollar. Or you find this particular type of bread or paratha has been reduced so much in price. Its an amazing blessing of Ramadan.”

Ever the critic of opportunistic sales and marketing ploys, I noted cynically that the stores did it only so that they could move greater volume of such foodstuffs off their shelves and thus, employ greater leverage at the bargaining table when talking to the producers and distributors. In the end, it would be the small, desi mom-and-pop shops on the street corners that would suffer as a result and eventually have to close down.

But she continued:

“But in Pakistan, even before Ramadan begins, the stores and vendors all jack up their prices up to the sky. People become distressed because now even during a special month, they find it harder to buy even basic foods like milk and bread and eggs. The stores owners are thieves, taking na-jaiz fa’ida (unauthorized benefit, i.e. scamming people) of the month of Ramadan and ripping people off.”

I asked: “So how come the government doesn’t step in and regulate the prices?”

“They do, supposedly. Every Ramadan they announce that the prices of this food must be that, and the prices of this must be that, and so on. But the stores don’t listen. They know that no one from the government will come and check, or even enforce those regulations. And even if the government tries, the stores claim that the distributors themselves jack up the wholesale prices. In the end, the public suffers.”

I sneered. “What kind of a pathetic government is that? They can’t protect such basic interests of people?”

“Its corruption. Its so widespread. Just be thankful for what you have here. Because you don’t know what its like over there, how difficult it gets during Ramadan.”

Yet another reason to reflect upon what God has given you, when you give thanks at the table this Ramadan.

Therein is fruit and palm trees having sheaths [of dates]

And grain having husks and scented plants.

So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?

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Filed under: Cradle, Food

One Response

  1. UmmQ says:

    mobile phone contracts are cheaper than basic foods. messed up!

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