Tomorrow will be Eid. I wonder whether I have any right to celebrate at all. The festival is supposed to be a sort of thanksgiving for all that one has denied oneself for one month. If this is the yardstick, I should be celebrating every damn day of my life.
Technically, I have not woken up early in the morning to pray, not fasted through the day, not eaten dates nor been dry-mouthed. Yet, have all those who have tortured themselves in such a manner really been denying themselves anything?
I see a lot of sad lives – and I mean sad as in pathetic, not the deep sorrow that burrows through the arches of an ache and abandon – and I want to tell them that the most potent prayer is the one addressed to oneself. It is called introspection. The most important fast you can keep is the one that gives a little of yourself.
Only then can Eid be mubarak. You can celebrate and congratulate yourself only if you see life beyond what you assume is victory. Why claim victory or defeat when there is no fight at all?
This is not to belittle those who have in fact gone through the process of such denial with the true spirit...I can only wish you the light of moonbeam whenever a dark thought assails you, as it does all of us.
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I am not insensitive. I too have memories. I wrote in The Scent of Eid last year...For me the festival is associated with scents of all kinds.
- The first thing in the morning would be the whiff of henna being removed, its overnight stay on my hands giving it a deep tinge; I’d cup the palms before my nose and inhale.
- There was the strong ittar, the one day when non-alcohol-based perfume was used; it wasn’t mandatory, of course, and since I hated it I only hoped that heaven was nothing like Jannat-e-Firdaus, the particularly preferred one.
- There was the fragrance of aggarbatis as the fateha was said before one small bowl of sheer khurma, the rest to be distributed was spared any godly intervention.
- The smell of onions and potatoes being browned on a slow fire to be added to the biryani.
- The scent of gajras, strings of jasmine with a rose in the middle, which the women wore in their hair.
Finally, the aroma of gulkand and supari from the paan as they were chewed to pulp in the mouth.
Nostalgia has a very strong whiff…try as I may I cannot wash my hands off it.