Special Report

Shutdown: The Coronavirus

Miss you, mom: Spending Ramadan together through a screen

April 26, 2020 – Third Sehri of the month. My mom offers her Tarawih prayers. Photo by Maznah Shehzad

Muslims around the world are currently observing the month of Ramadan where they fast for 29 to 30 days, depending on lunar sightings.

I have always been at home during this month and my mom and I were always together during Sehri and Iftar time. About 3 years ago, I finally told my parents I was agnostic and didn’t believe in Islam. During that same period, my dad announced he didn’t believe in God and that left my mom being the only practicing Muslim in our house. When Ramadan came she would have to do everything alone and in order for my mom to feel supported, I used to wake up with her at Sehri time and also was with her during Iftar. We talked, ate and just enjoyed this bonding time together.

This is the first Ramadan we are spending apart, I am in New York City and she is in Karachi, Pakistan, and it is an emotional moment for the both of us. Given the time we live in, I can still be a part of my mom’s fasting routine by joining her for Sehri and Iftar through the screen. The time difference between Karachi and NYC is 9 hours. Sehri time in Pakistan starts around 4am which is 7 p.m. in NYC and Iftar time is at 7pm there and that’s 10 a.m. here.  I have tried to document her observing Ramadan while I support her and eat my normal food with her through Zoom video call.

Her usual Sehri is really healthy. So she starts her day with copious amounts of coffee, she alternates between cereal or peanut butter sandwiches. This is a shift from usual Sehri foods being parathas and eggs. She likes having a light healthy Sehri to keep her active throughout the day.

For Iftar, she usually loves fruits and dahi baray but also sometimes makes samosas and pakoray, which are really common during Iftar back home.

I, on the other hand, am between places and all of my cookware is packed. So, most of my meals are takeaways and deliveries or just snacks.

A few days ago she told me “I was feeling sad when I thought about Ramadan but my fasts have been so easy and pleasant because of you”. Hearing her say that made my day.

April 24, 2020 – First Sehri of the month. Mom: Cereal and peanut butter sandwich, Me: Rice Krispies Treats and a Nutella sandwich. Photo by Maznah Shehzad

April 25, 2020 – First Iftar of the month. Mom: Samosas, Me: Cream Cheese Bagel. Photo by Maznah Shehzad

April 25, 2020 – Second Sehri of the month. Mom: offers Tarawih. Me: channa masala and rice with Pepsi. Photo by Maznah Shehzad

April 25, 2020 – Second Sehri of the month. Mom: Coffee in her favourite Starbucks mug, Me: channa masala and rice with pepsi. Photo by Maznah Shehzad

April 26, 2020 – Second Iftar of the month. Mom: Dates, fruits and pakoray. Me: Bagel with egg and cheese. Photo by Maznah Shehzad

April 26, 2020 – Second Iftar of the month. Mom: Pours Sprite. Me: Bagel with egg and cheese. Photo by Maznah Shehzad

April 26, 2020 – Third Sehri of the month. Mom: Cereal, coffee and butter. Me: chicken tikka and rice. Photo by Maznah Shehzad

April 27, 2020 – Fourth Sehri of the month. Mom: offers Tarawih. Me: Mcdonald’s egg Mcmuffin. Photo by Maznah Shehzad

April 27, 2020 – Fourth Sehri of the month. Mom: Coffee. Me: Mcdonald’s egg Mcmuffin. Photo by Maznah Shehzad

April 28, 2020 – Fourth Iftar of the month. Mom: Dates, fruits, dahi baray and cat food for my cat. Me: Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked. Photo by Maznah Shehzad

This is a project of  Lori Grinker’s  NYU graduate photojournalism class.



Other Stories in Special Report: Shutdown: The Coronavirus

During pandemic, Rio de Janeiro residents fear police

Marina Guimaraes May 27, 2020

Recovering from drugs during a pandemic

Kyla Milberger May 26, 2020

  Covid-19 takes away the communal joy at Eid-al-Fitr celebration

Narkwor Kwablaa May 25, 2020

Beloved old school game sees boom in numbers during coronavirus quarantine

Michael Yang May 15, 2020

Coronavirus leaves the fate of some beloved New York events uncertain

Emily Glass May 15, 2020

South Africa’s lockdown exposes inequalities

Kathleen Taylor May 14, 2020

Churchgoers find spiritual growth through virtual services 

Harrison Tsui May 14, 2020

” I’m working with COVID patients tonight”

Margaret Guzman May 14, 2020

Singles connect on Tinder to fight quarantine blues 

Yaroslava Bondar May 14, 2020

Jewish traditions during a pandemic

Sydney Fishman May 13, 2020

The Bible and Coronavirus

Jonathan Sarabia May 13, 2020

Doctor uses social media to give advice and hope

Sope Aluko May 12, 2020

First Sandy, Now COVID: Lower East Side Activists Grapple With Construction for Climate Project

Izzie Ramirez May 12, 2020

Dating during a pandemic

Bessie Liu May 12, 2020

The last reponders

Shiyu Xu May 11, 2020

When the pandemic hits a shelter for abused boys 

Amanda Perez Pintado May 11, 2020

Portugal contains the coronavirus despite Spain’s woes

Catarina Lamelas Moura May 11, 2020

Warm weather brings crowds to Prospect Park

Bessie Liu May 11, 2020

New York coronavirus numbers continue to fall

Jonathan Sarabia May 10, 2020

Living through the pandemic while a loved one is behind bars

Amanda Perez Pintado May 10, 2020

Pandemic ends all high school senior year traditions

Jonathan Sarabia May 10, 2020

Coronavirus might have caused the death of many children who were misdiagnosed 

Ximena Del Cerro May 9, 2020

Farmers destroy staggering amounts of food even as food lines grow

Karen Camela Watson May 9, 2020

Coronavirus pandemic threatens border towns in Mexico

Sydney Fishman and Ximena Del Cerro May 9, 2020

Pence’s press secretary tests positive for Covid-19

Shiyu Xu May 8, 2020

During pandemic NYC tenants in limbo

John DiLillo May 8, 2020

Llamas could be coronavirus heroes

Catarina Lamelas Moura May 8, 2020

Lawmakers, Legal Experts Clash Over Much Needed Business Interruption Insurance Coverage for Small Businesses

James Duffy May 8, 2020

Rent relief in NY, JetBlue’s flyover and Trump’s valet tests positive for coronavirus in today’s news

Amanda Perez Pintado May 7, 2020

Coronavirus tears through the Navajo Nation 

Amanda Perez Pintado May 7, 2020

In Singapore, spaces close, but restaurants open

Yifan Yu May 6, 2020

Press secretary calls Fauci testifying before congress “publicity stunt”

Kathleen Taylor May 6, 2020

Harry Potter and the Magical Malady of the Movies

Ahad Sanwari May 6, 2020

Trump speaks to human loss, Cuomo lashes out at President’s comments

Catarina Lamelas Moura May 5, 2020

PPE in the city

Narkwor Kwabla May 5, 2020

Boring Politics is Good Politics – Especially in a Pandemic

Serafina Smith May 5, 2020

Stuck: Life under quarantine in Rio de Janeiro

Marina Guimaraes May 5, 2020

New York’s Emptiness

Maria Abreu May 5, 2020

In an Airbnb Room During Lockdown in Jamaica, Queens

Dayo Paul May 4, 2020

What Temporary Means: Portraits of family at home

Guillermo Manning May 4, 2020

Stockholm Stays Open

Tatiana Kireeva May 4, 2020

NYC now producing its own coronavirus test kits

Maureen Mullarkey May 3, 2020

Life in front of a screen

Patricio Zenklussen May 3, 2020

Coronavirus and the Shincheonji

Bessie Liu May 3, 2020

It’s The Little Things

Sope Aluko May 3, 2020

Days In, Days Out: A doctor’s life during Covid-19

Elsa Benamouzig May 2, 2020

Contactless: Food Delivery amid COVID-19

Keighton Li May 2, 2020

Hasidic South Williamsburg Resists the New Reality

Leo Schwartz May 2, 2020

Solace in Suburbia

Susanne Schweitzer May 2, 2020

Puerto Rico rocked by 5.4 magnitude earthquake

Amanda Perez Pintado May 2, 2020