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Haleem by Speed Post!

          HYDERABAD: During Ramadan, the holy month of Muslims, the aroma of 'Haleem', a delicious non-vegetarian dish, pervades Hyderabad. While this year the aroma is no different, the mode of selling sure has changed.

          Instead of the usual restaurant waiter serving the delectable dish, it is Hyderabad's mailmen who are doing the job. To cope with the heavy rush during the Ramadan month, the city's restaurants have enlisted the services of the postal department to supply the dish.

           Instead of battling hours-long traffic jams to reach restaurants, Hyderabadis can now simply place an order over phone and fresh, neatly packaged Haleem would be delivered at their doorstep via speed post.

           Or better still, they can simply walk into the nearest post office and pick up a pack of their favourite dish. Muhammad Abdul Majeed, owner of Pista House, one of Hyderabad's most sought-after Haleem outlets, says with 3,000 orders being placed on the first day of the month itself, the scheme was a big success.

          The restaurants have set up special kitchens where Haleem is prepared and packed under strictest hygiene guidelines. After preparation, Haleem would be sealed and delivered at the nearest post office before 'roza' (daily fast) was broken at sunset. Food inspectors from the city's Institute of Preventive Medicine oversee the entire operation.

           The scheme is bringing in good money for the postal department as well. "Response is very good, within two days we got 3,300 orders booked and delivered. We hope that this will increase in the days to come in Ramadan month. We expect over one crore rupees of revenue during this month," said Govindrajan.

          Hyderabad is famous for Mughal food preparations, particularly 'Biryani', a mix of rice and mutton or chicken. But it is Haleem which is the most sought after dish during Ramadan. Haleem literally means patience because it takes long hours to prepare the dish.

           Made out with a rich and nutritious combination of wheat, mutton, gram pulse, curd, onions and sprinkling of spices, it is especially suited to the fasting month. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. During day, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and listening to music. At night, the pleasures of the senses may resume.

           Muslims believe this secures them a place in the heaven and also bring them face-to-face with Allah the Almighty on the day of 'kayamat' (Doomsday).

November 10, 2002

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