Eid means happiness, so the day comes hoping and wishing for the happiness of everyone. A celebration of togetherness and family accompanied by tonnes of feasting after 30 days of fasting.
The Chand Raat is a pre cursor to this celebration and one that I had always looked forward to. The question, “what will I wear tomorrow”, getting mehndi put on my hands and pestering my mom about what would she be cooking – the usual banter. But who knew 2020 would be the year to change all that?
I am in my home where I live on my own and my parents are across the border. That sounds dramatic, but the difference between a state border this year has become more than the India-Pakistan border for me.
I took the decision of not going home this Eid. And I did this because I love my parents more than anything in the world. It wasn't an easy decision to come by. I managed to get an e-pass, and in my head, I was ready to surprise my parents and appear all dressed up with food that I had cooked. After more than two months of not having seen them in person, I would enjoy a meal with them, have the sevaiyyan my mom makes and come back home after collecting my ‘Eidi' from my parents.
But I decided to, after a lot of deliberation and the very good counsel of a few friends, not follow my heart and have an Eid for one this year. Because I want to never really have to celebrate an Eid for one again. And so, I gave up this year. Because I've been going to work, and no matter how much you try, social distancing in a workplace with even 10 people across 3 floors is a tricky task. You will inadvertently lean in a little closer, or be in the vicinity of someone having sneezed, or coughed a while back.
At this point, I am living my life assuming everyone including me has the virus. Which makes me an asymptomatic carrier, if not someone actively infected with COVID-19. And I can survive this, I know, but I never want to look back at this year again and think, ‘what if I had not gone and met my parents and unnecessarily exposed them to the virus’.
It does make me angry though, when I see people not caring and going about their lives as though nothing can happen to them, even after cases keep increasing every single day. I am doing what I can to keep me and my family off that number chart for as long as I can. And hoping against hope that whatever I am doing as an individual will be enough for my family.
Anyway, Eid is not the time to be angry.
It is to ensure that we feel a little happy no matter what our circumstances are. And I shall try and be happy with the food I cook, even if it's just me partaking of it, and I shall make sure all my cousins, my nephews and nieces and some of the kids I call my own from work and Twitter, get their Eidi this year via an online transfer. And I shall look forward to celebrating next Eid with everyone in person.
But this Eid, we stay home, we stay safe.