Now that the month of Ramzan and the day of Eid is over, I feel a void in my heart. The body still craves Sehri (pre-dawn meal) at 3:30 am sharp. I have been waking up for fajr, the morning prayer without the ring of alarm, and that’s pretty unusual. My mind knows but my body doesn’t, it’s a case of sweet imbalance.
This year again I celebrated Eid in my adoptive city, Delhi. The city of my birth, Patna, must have missed me just as I missed it, dearly. I have a habit of attaching sentiments with things. Things respond to me in ways people don’t, it can be just the branches of a tree in the backyard of my childhood home swinging in the breeze, and to me it will seem as if the tree is sending salutations my way. This life is like a Rubik’s cube. Not easy to solve but interesting, attractive, magical. I can’t ever call it boring, not even on my dark days, because the slayer of dark is life itself.
When people ask cliche questions like, “how was eid?”
I simply answer, “good”, Can there be a better answer for this bland question? Eid is always good. It’s a day of celebration. What we make of eid is the real deal. It’s the same with all the festivals. If you lack enthusiasm it will be no better than the rest of the days. It’s like if you find diamonds strewn on the floor, and instead of scooping them up, if you merely keep looking at them, you will gain nothing. At the end of the day, much depends upon what you want, and how you exert yourself to get that.
Life comes a full circle, there was a time when we were kids, going around in an all siblings-cousins groups, with purses in our hands meant exclusively for hoarding all the eidi money, it used to be fun, not just because we would extort money from every known elder we came across, but also because those elders would make things interesting for the children by coming up with innovative ideas of playful haggling. Things don’t become interesting on their own. Efforts are required.
Similarly, life doesn’t become colourful on its own. You need to make use of the colours, dip your brush in them and paint away. Colours remind me of bangles that we would customarily and mandatorily buy on a night before eid from the local stores in the neighbourhood, those little shops would be jam-packed, but we would always successfully trot our way to the counter. It would be exhilarating trying out bangles, and matching them with our eid outfits. Even though we would have an option to go to more popular shopping places, but we would always choose to buy bangles from our neighborhood, mainly to get all the chaand raat feel. I lived in a mixed locality. So there was quite a handsome percentage of Muslims residing in the area, and that explains why all through Ramadan until eid, the roads, and the lanes would be lit, buzzing with activities. Another interesting ritual was that, the money for the bangles would be provided exclusively by my grandmother. These little things are what bind us together. It’s about inclusiveness, about how you involve all your family members on special days.
Our grandmother was almost a matriarch in our joint family system. And our eid day would begin only after we have said our salaam to her. So after getting dressed in our sparkling dresses, Salma Sitaras, we would hurry to her room, and her sweet compliments would automatically brighten up our day. Next we would attack the firni sewayian, (vermicelli pudding) a special dish, it’s almost like sheer (milk with dates+ vermicelli) but much different. I would particularly choose that bowl, the contents of which would be properly covered with the silver foil (vark). Aesthetics always appeal to my eyes. All the female members of the family would then gather in the grandmom’s room and offer eid prayers. The ritual of hugging each other thrice would then follow. It’s a beautiful display of community building and brotherhood.
We would then start visiting relatives, and entertaining those visiting us. And the day would come to an end just like that. As you grow up, things change, but memories remain. Now when I see my younger cousins do what we used to do, my heart dances with joy. Life does come full circle.