It’s been a week since Ramadan started and there had been changes with our meal times.
Breakfast or Iftar for those who fast will be at sunset which is probably around 6pm. Dinner time for non-Muslims is from 7pm to 8pm and there will be short eats at 9pm, tea time for those who fast and actually, even for those who don’t. And then there will be supper, which is actually their Suhour at 11:30pm.
The most interesting meal of the day is the tea time at 9pm. This is when everyone meets.
Muslims come back to the canteen after their prayer and have some short eats while non-Muslims wait for the sweets. We all stay for over an hour and chitchat while having tea and snacks. Something that is not very usual for me.
In normal times, I eat as quickly as I can, or chitchat with few colleagues while eating and then leave. I take my coffee or tea in the office while working. Or have my personal time while having my coffee and browse social media. Or just go back to my room and do my own thing. I’ve always felt that these gatherings are just waste of time.
I never enjoyed ‘tea time company’ and never understood Maldivian culture ’till now.
The locals love to hang around until late. They drink coffee and talk about politics mostly and they can go on and on for hours. I never liked this culture but things changed. Maybe because the circumstances are different this time. Maybe the lockdown has brought all of us in the island much closer (ok, not all but almost) and I couldn’t believe I’m spending more hours in the canteen or in the seating areas talking to real people than those on social media.
In a time when the world is practising social distancing, we on the island are having more social gatherings than ever before.
Quite strange. But strangely good.