1) Why did you keep your first proper fast? (e.g. Own wish, parents' wish, it became farz on you.) How old were you then? What were your feelings regarding keeping a proper fast for the first time in your life?
I was only ten years of age when I fasted for the first (and for the coming few years, last) time. When I was in the fourth standard, there was a beautiful teacher in our school who used to travel by our school bus. I would give her some jasmine flowers every morning. My class fellows used to get jealous of me because I used to sit on the seat next to her! Oh God, how lovely those days were, and how lovely she was! Her bewitching smiles and fascinating looks still remain my most cherished memories. Wooooh!!
One day, I was eating a sandwich in front of her and offered it to her. That cute slap, which she gave me, still dejects me! It was the month of Ramazan. That was the last day I sat with any female teacher in a school bus. Anyway, on that very day, I asked my parents that how and why people fast. What was the reason for doing it? They told me about this holy month in detail and the very next day I was fasting for the first time! (Hey…Only to impress that female teacher, lol ;))"
2) Was it as easy as you thought it would be? Any incident you would like to share for this answer? More than halfway through the fast, did your feelings change from what they were at the beginning?
"In those days, a movie named 'Chocolate' was released that had a lovely soundtrack. I listened to it the whole day and my mom would come to my room, turn off the main switch of the stereo system and pull my left ear whenever she heard the music. Then I would try reading Harry Potter, but I discovered that when the stomach is empty, even the most interesting novel slips through your mind without leaving the slightest trace of meaning behind! Therefore, I had to give up fasting as a bad job!"
What you give…
3) Did you cheat or think of cheating? (Be honest!)
Hamza: "Sooooo many times!!! Even today my parents have their suspicions about whether I eat anything or not when they are asleep in the afternoon!"
…and what you get
4) What did you get out of that first fast for the following fasts you kept? (Experience, etc?)
Hamza: "I think fasting raises one's conscience. In the beginning, I had a very cavalier approach towards fasting. But last year, I fasted for 25 days. I didn't listen to songs and I was punctual while praying as well."
Something special for something special
4) Different families have their own ways of appreciating their child's first fast. What did your family do? (E.g. Verbal appreciation and support, monetary reward, a party to celebrate it). How did you like what they did?
Hamza: "Every year in Ramzan when I come to the dining table, my not-so-very-naughty-brother 'Kukoo' says, 'Oh, Hamza nay bhi roza rakha hai? Outrageous!'"
Hamza Asad, Peshawar!