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The street that comes alive during Ramzan

September 29, 2008

A full one kilometre stretch of Mohammed Ali Road is bumper to bumper, fully packed with a variety of vehicles: private cars, taxis, buses, motorbikes, bicycles and hand-pulled carts, to name a few. Between lengthy intervals of complete inertia, prodded onward by a cacophony of horns, the traffic suddenly lurches forward, traversing only ten metres before again coming to a stop.

Rustam, an exasperated taxi-wallah, shouts at a pair of youths who are using their smaller bike to manoeuvre their way in front of his more cumbersome cab. Having not yet broken his roza (the dawn to dusk fast observed during the holy month of Ramzan), Rustam is irritable and in no mood for further squabbling. He just presses down on his horn even louder and longer.

With the famed Minara Masjid a few hundred metres away, it actually makes more sense to walk. But the sidewalks are equally stuffed, humanity crammed into every nook and cranny of the historic thoroughfare.

Text: Matthew Schneeberger
Photographs: Dominic Xavier

Also see: Holy nights across the world

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