Since the beginning of Ramzan, five-year-old Qulsum Hannan has been going to school regularly, running around with friends, doing her homework and never once complaining about feeling hungry.
This year marks Hannan's Ramzan-fasting debut and after almost a week of abstinence, her determination to continue has amazed her parents and teachers.
Fasting during the month of Ramzan is compulsory for all Muslim adults, but it is not binding on children.
Hannan, however, is one of several city children who have chosen to fast on their own, without any pressure from parents. "Allah will give me blessings if I fast," said Hannan, a senior KG student at Mazagaon's Iqra International School, who now prays namaz during her lunch break.
"A few children in my class have kept one or two fasts this season, but Hannan is particular about doing it everyday," said her class teacher Farheen Sayed.
Such determination and discipline at such a young age is not common, say parents. For school teacher Sobia Lule, her son Ayaan's teary-eyed insistence on fasting with his parents came as a shock.
"He is only six, and I thought he would be troublesome, but he finally had his way on Sunday and was very good," said
Lule, who plans to give her son sweets and money for completing the fast.
Ayaan, however, hopes to achieve the feat of fasting for all the remaining days of Ramzan. "I am doing it to keep Allah happy," said the Class 1 student, who learned about Ramzan at his Islamic studies class.
Ten-year-old Madeeha Khan excitedly explains her reason for fasting this month.
"It will help me feel the pain of the poor and hungry," said Khan, a Class 6 student of Pune's Bishop's Convent school, who has fasted sporadically during Ramzan till last year but aims to observe the whole month this year.