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Lavanya Bahuguna


Ramadan Special: When Hanisa Bano Invited Us For Iftar

  • IWB Post
  •  July 8, 2015


Because Hanisa lives a little far from JWB’s office, I hurriedly completed the day’s tasks and proceeded towards her home where she lives with her husband and families of her 2 married sons.

I had to reach on time when she would start preparing for dinner, Iftar, that is the evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast (roza) at sunset.

I must say what a warm family she has. When they heard we had reached outside the house, all of them came rushing to welcome us. While the younger son was there with glasses full of water, Hanisa hugged me, her grandchildren smiled at me and her mother blessed me.IMG_2206I, along with the photographer Ajit Kumar, was led towards the neatly done drawing room. But we insisted to go to the kitchen where Hanisa was preparing delicious Chicken Biryani and Kheer.


I want to learn the recipe”, I urged. Hanisa smiled and kept telling me which ingredient she was putting in her large cooking vessel. She said, “First heat the oil and fry boiled rice. Layer it with already cooked chicken and leave for few minutes. Continue the process forming 3 such layers of rice and 2 of chicken. Cover it. Isn’t it simple?”IMG_2179

I wish it to be really this simple as it sounded. I can’t even imagine how she and her daughter-in-laws prepare food for the joint family comprising of 10 members.

Curious, I asked, “Who taught you cooking?” She smiled and looked at her brother who accompanied us.IMG_2185

A shy Hanisa said, “I have been cooking before I turned 10. I got married very early, though I don’t remember the year precisely. Maybe, 35 years or so.”IMG_2186

Hanisa remarked, “When it comes to biryani, everyone urges that I cook it. They love the taste.” The fragrance of the soon-to-be-scrumptious meal was such that everyone was hanging around the kitchen door, waiting for the food to be served.IMG_2191

She continued, “I am preparing this food since 2:30 pm. The preparations take time.”

Hanisa later put some color on the top of the biryani to give the dish a beautiful makeover. IMG_2211Later, she sprinkled fried onions over the top. IMG_2214Lastly, a ghee ka tadka did the enduring magic.IMG_2221

The moment finally came when we were served the dinner. First the fruits were brought decorated in a tray followed by biryani. IMG_2227

And what a biryani it was!!IMG_2257

Thank you so much, Hanisa ji”, I said with mouth full of biryani. At that she replied, “Save some space for the kheer in your stomach.” I did!IMG_2260

While leaving, I said thanks to every member of the house who greeted the JWB team and allowed us to be a part of their iftar for a day. I touched Hanisa’s and her mother’s feet to pay gratitude because only this gesture could best describe my feelings for them.

I waved my hands with a promise that I will be their guests on Eid. :)

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