OSCAR and BAFTA award-winning sound designer, editor and mixer Resul Pookutty on the importance of Ramadan to him and his strong connection to the holy month…
I was brought up in a very liberal atmosphere at home in a politically vibrant family. A staunch believer, my mother had a diametrically opposite viewpoint and never imposed any religious rituals on to us, but made it a point for us to see and learn. So I have vivid memories of Ramadan in my childhood, which was at a time when there were no alarms or azaans from the mosque, as there was none nearby.
I remember the horn of a train that passed in the wee hours of the morning, which would signal to my mother to get up for her sehri and commence that day’s roza (fast). Whoever managed to get up with her got to do the fast, and we kids were willing to do it despite the stomach chilling hunger pangs, and long wait for the evening feast. By getting the most delicious food ready for iftari, she made us drool for the food and in a way it was a bribe to keep us going. But more importantly, it silently brought us closer to spirituality.
I have an early memory as a youngster, doing five and a half fasts. She never considered one of them a full roza because I broke the fast one day. I remember not being able to bear the hunger, crying hard and the neighbours scolding her into giving me water. I found how strong her belief in the higher power was and with that she lit the path ahead for us. Looking back now, she was the best guide I could have had.
But growing up, roaming around the world and following my cinematic dream, I veered away from the beautiful path she had created for me and carved on to my heart. Then after the Oscars in 2009, where I, along with AR Rahman, had won, something happened. AR Rahman asked me ‘why don’t you do roza, just to thank Allah for all the blessings?’ At that moment, I thought of my mother and just followed him. So after many years of vagabonding with various belief systems, I started listening to what was inside me all along.
Until today, I haven’t left a single roza and always made it a point to have an iftaar with my friend and brother AR Rahman every year. My Ramadan is not complete if I don’t do it. I look forward to Ramadan every year. It is a month of introspection and brotherhood. It reminds me of my mother and the smell of jasmine flowers she loved so much. She was the one who taught me, ‘we are all born with spiritual wings. The month of Ramadan will remind you how to fly’.