gulfnews : Off the Cuff: May this Eid bring joy to all.
Eid today in Dubai! My thoughts on the big day:
I have to confess Eid is my favourite time of the year, and it’s not just because of the delectable delights, (now lawful at all hours) on offer, although I suppose that too, plays a significant part, especially if the aforementioned delectable delights were not created in my kitchen.
Eid is always the most delightful for children and I observe my excited five- year-old daughter with amusement. She fusses over her Eid clothes and insists that her glass bangles do not match perfectly with her outfit and that we must rush to get new ones. And why on earth should she not wear the gorgeous high-heeled shoes her aunt brought specially from America? And oh, where’s the henna? Surely, I her Mum, don’t expect her to go without henna on her hands on Eid day? And since all little girls wear lip-gloss, it is only natural that she should be allowed some tomorrow too.
My mind travels back a couple of decades, and being the complete tomboy that I was, I never insisted on bangles or henna. All I wanted was plentiful cash on Eid day, also referred to as ‘Eidiya’. Eidiya would first be collected from parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, then counted carefully and then blown away with one shopping trip during which impulses would override good sense.
Everything from toys to candy to gifts would be bought. Then there were special Eid programmes on TV which we could never watch in entirety because there was an endless stream of guests coming over to meet us. The night before Eid would have passed in a frenzy getting everything just right for the big day, after the scholars had finally made up their minds that yes, it was going to be Eid tomorrow.
Hope for a meal
This year though, as I go through the motions of getting everyone’s outfits (and the house) ready for Eid, something doesn’t feel right. I’ve fasted through Ramadan, knowing that come iftar time, there will be spread of sumptuous treats to satiate my hunger. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I had no hope of a meal, not at sun-down, not tomorrow, not the day after. As we speak, millions in Somalia are being affected by the drought and they starve, without having a wonderful iftar meal to look forward to. The only food comes perhaps from an NGO and the sand burns the feet of that little bare-footed boy as he waits in an endless queue to get some provision.
There’s war in Libya, ethnic violence in Pakistan, gross injustice in Palestine and a dreaded hurricane in America. Only God knows how many souls are suffering. And in places where there is no obvious calamity, there are hearts leaden with grief concealed behind the facade of perfect smiles. May this Eid bring true joy to everyone, bliss that warms the heart and touches the soul.