I remember a young girl who enjoyed the sunset and the crowded evenings and much more, when she fluttered around like a butterfly during Eid time. The crowd of our village.. its a great tradition and the small-town flavour are still vivid in my Eid nostalgia. The harmony and warmth cutting across religion. People around, colours, the fragrance of perfumes, spices and life. For us the festival was the occasion of not just celebrating, but sharing too.
Our society celebrated every single festival – Eid, Onam, Christmas, Diwali, and much more. There was no religious barrier. Just imagine a whole place becoming a huge swing from the heavens and the entire humanity back to childhood joys. I always felt there is a child in every adult. It may sound crazy but that was how I felt those days, enjoying the spirit of Eid and the company of my family members and my peers.
When I migrated to the Gulf, the world was different, and the celebrations too. It was a voyage to new experiences and challenges. There I started enjoying a different spirit. Huge shopping malls, city rides, the enormity of the interior deserts… the city where the sun never sets. We enjoyed celebrations and gatherings. I also experienced the melancholies of many people, who missed their celebrations back home too. But they too celebrated – in the dormitories, in the streets, in the camps. The expatriate life has its colours and tears. For them even a call from the dear ones is enough to elevate their spirits and forget their loneliness in the crowd.
Today, confined to my home in the wake of the spread of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown following it, many of us realize those pangs… longings. While surfing the news I read Oman’s total Covid-19 cases crossed two lakh this week and the administration has imposed new restrictions on movement, which means Eid ul Fitr would definitely be an indoor affair, as is the case in many parts of the world.
Celebration in loneliness is something painful, but there is no way out. This moment we will pass through the same breathlessness of seclusion. The silence of the celebration is confined to the four walls at home, the wishes that pass through the cellphone networks cutting across borders – as voice, images, texts and emojis, and the occasional calls of the dear ones who are equally nostalgic. But certain realities are much above the nostalgic self and I am sure this time too will pass.
However, dear friends, this time of seclusion and loneliness is the time to introspect and dedicate ourselves for the less privileged and those who long to be with you. A surprise gift that the courier boy delivers at their doorsteps might bring you closer to the beloved ones. A delicious food packet can brighten the eyes of a street dweller or a lonely kid for that matter. The sparkle in the eyes of an orphan who gets a pair of cloths in the tough times is definitely a gesture of warmth and unending love that make us realize we are not alone in this world.
If possible, get hold of your old telephone directory and trace your old friend whose contact you have long lost. Give them a surprise call. Dig out those old email IDs and send a warm mail. While some may not pick up or respond some may get excited. You will hear the old sound that made you lively, or maybe a sigh that make you evocative. Whatever it may be, you will realize the beauty of life, the distant hug of simple affection still waiting for you. You will rediscover you!
Yes, always there is an invisible hand that pats your back when you are in pain. And there we redefine every single festive occasion. A festival means unity of humanity, the celebration of virtues and the warmth that brings to our heart.
When I see the crescent rising over my skies, I realize you too watch the same somewhere over there, and that bonds us together in this world of virtual confinement for a great cause. There I experience your silent prayers, wishes and dreams. Yes, all celebrations are a prayer from the heart and I am sure all the doors will be open before everybody during the next Eid, with God’s grace!
Eid Mubarak, for a greater time ahead…