Yesterday was the start of Ramadan, the holy days for Muslim. Back in Manila, it was like an ordinary day for me or maybe for all of us who don’t share the same belief with our Muslim brothers. But since I got my ass here in Dubai, somehow, I became aware of it not because I was converted to but because they made me aware of it in the most hilarious way I can think of. How? Well, one day I found myself munching some sandwiches inside a toilet cubicle in one of the malls here because no restaurant was willing to serve me food.  The law says everyone must observe this day holy, and no one is exempted, unless you’re a Sheikh. I definitely am not a Sheikh so I was obliged to follow the rules. No, the rule doesn’t states that you have to eat inside the toilet, moron, it says that no one is supposed to eat in the public, be it in a restaurant or inside your car or office and oh water is not allowed to be taken in public, as well. One time, I quaffed a bottle of water inside a convenient store – that got the deserved response. I was scolded. I forgot that it was Ramadan, my bad. I think they wanted non-Muslims to observe while they observed Ramadan. Interesting, isn’t it?

A couple of days back, I spoke with my boss about this Ramadan rules in the office. I was hoping that he would spare and give me leniency since I’m the only Christian working with him and perhaps, allow me to take my usual coffee in the morning and during the breaks. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a positive reply. I have to observe Ramadan like they do, he said. That means no food, no water, tea or coffee in the office. Crazy! Why would I? I’m not a Muslim, I told myself. As determined as I always am, I made an appeal; I was able to bargain for the water. Not bad at all, I said.

The Day came for fasting. This is it, I said. Not to disrespect but I don’t want to starve myself for the tradition that I don’t believe in. I arranged a nice breakfast to survive the day in the office. I see to it that I am prepared for this Ramadan. I don’t want to find myself munching some sandwiches in the toilet and make a fool fool out of me again. But I guess, yesterday was my lucky day. I forgot to buy sugar for my coffee, so I had a breakfast without my cup of coffee on the table. What is breakfast without coffee? Damn! I went to the office without my usual cup of coffee in the morning and I am not allowed to take one in the office.  Hmm..what a wonderful day!

I arrived late. My boss came moments later. Damn, no chance for my coffee, I said silently. I was planning to take my coffee in the office, but how? My boss would surely notice the aroma of a nicely made hot coffee and I’d be screwed up. I can survive the day without breakfast and lunch but without coffee? That’s unthinkable.

Finally, the moment I’ve been waiting for; my boss stepped out of the office. This is my chance, I said. But I have a little problem. That morning I was sitting together with those who were observing the Ramadan. Yes, they are Muslims and there were four of them against one. But I am really determined to have my coffee this time by hook or by crook, it doesn’t matter. I’m going to have that coffee. I must devise a plan. I will ask for their consent, I said. That’s the first plan that I hope to work as I don’t want to resort to desperate measures…lol. And so I walked over to the person next to me, who happens to be a distant relative of the Managing Director, and asked, out of respect to their belief, if I can have my coffee. He said, “that wouldn’t be a problem.” Now, I can have my coffee in the pantry. Perfect! The next thing I know was I’m sipping a very hot coffee with a big grin. Wonderful day, isn’t it?