Food has traditionally been an integral part of Ramazan, pandemic or no pandemic
While shopping, in general, remained subdued during Ramazan, food items continued to be largely procured and consumed. The major reasons for this were, first, that one cannot survive without food and second, there was no ban on their sales. In fact, the government took it upon itself to ensure there was no shortage of food items even though there was a flour shortage for some time.
A common sight during Ramazan was long queues outside bakeries around 4pm since these were supposed to shut down at 5pm – an unlikely feature during non-Covidtimes. Initially, bakeries were granted permission and later, other general stores were given ‘relief’ as well.
Given the situation, sellers of food items opted for innovation. During this Ramazan while people were not seen in large numbers on the streets close to iftar time waiting in queues to get their last-minute iftar shopping done, sale volumes were the same as last year, says Shafiq, who sells samosas and kachoris in northern Lahore. “People are not comfortable coming out of their homes so food sellers have innovated and started home delivery services,” he says. “Even vegetable shops are offering this service.” Customers also fear that handling food items can spread coronavirus so their staff uses masks and gloves, he adds.
Another observation is that home cooking has increased manifold. People are largely cooped up in their houses, and though some argue that they have relatively little work to do, and slightly more money saved owing to cut down in other expenses such as travelling, shopping, socialising etc, cooking at home has been a major activity for many people this year round. Pictures of home-cooked meals on social media websites are a testament to this claim.
The writer is a staff member. He can be reached at [email protected]