KARACHI: The light orange Windsor style dining chairs and tables are all lined on the footpath as they get their new dark-brown coat of polish at the little corner restaurant, which misses its usual crowd during the day due to the holy month of Ramazan.

Inside the big deep freezer is pushed out of the way to one side next to the manager’s counter while the floor is being washed. “We open for iftar and dinner at around 3pm each day and close at 4am after sehri. That leaves the mornings and early afternoons free for us to be able to tend to other things like repairing furniture and renovating the restaurant,” says Imran, a senior waiter supervising the work, at the eatery on Thursday.

“Ramazan is the best time of year for us to be able to do all that,” he adds. “Otherwise we remain open from early morning till midnight every day, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with tea, savoury items and snacks. It leaves us with no time at all for fixing things around here.”

Meanwhile, lovers of biryani make their way to a well-known biryani franchise outlet only to be greeted by its partially closed shutters. Making use of the free time on their hands they decided to go for a complete renovation of their shop. “We opened around five years ago and have remained very busy since then. Who doesn’t love biryani?” says Mohammad Kashif, floor manager at the place.

“Hence there had hardly ever been any time left for us to tend to the shop or its decor. All we did was serve food and then clean-up before closing shop and before opening for business again every day,” he says.

Branch manager Faisal Shahid says that taking cue from others this year they, too, decided to renovate from inside out. “We are laying a new floor, getting new wallpaper, wall tiles, new chairs, tables, electrical appliances, paint, and a new artificial ceiling as well,” he says.

“I think it is better we clean up our act during this very welcome free time before anyone else pulls us up for lack of standards,” he adds.

Because the work is so extensive, we’ve had to close business for a while. Yes, we are missing out on the Ramazan iftar crowd but it will all be worth it in the end,” says Kashif.


Originally published in Dawn, June 17th, 2016

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