Eid-ul-Fitr is the biggest celebration for Muslims. On this day, we give thanks to Allah for allowing us the blessing of completing another Ramadan. Muslims are also encouraged on this day to forgive and forget any differences or past animosities that may have occurred with others during the year. Everywhere you hear greetings of Eid Mubarak (Greeting on Eid). The Eid prayer is performed in congregations in open fields or mosques, or in community centers. After the prayers, we visit families, friends and acquaintances, or hold large communal celebrations. Eid is also a truly gastronomic experience. We visit family and friends, and are visited in return, and everywhere, food takes center stage.
Popular Eid dishes in Bangladesh are Shemai (a vermicelli/milk dish), Kheer (rice pudding)
and Zarda (sweet saffron rice).
Shemai can be of three kinds: Lachcha Shemai, Bhuna Shemai (also known as Zarda Shemai), and Milk Shemai.
Some savoury dishes are also prepared. The favourites are Chotpoti (a chick pea/potato dish)
and Shami Kabab (mince/lentil patties).
These are usually offered during morning or afternoon visits.
For lunch and dinner, there is the mandatory Pulao, served with Chicken Korma or Roast.
Mutton and Beef dishes are also essential for the Eid table, but this year the chicken reined supreme in Bangladesh due to the anthrax incidents. I'm sure the cows and goats breathed a sigh of relief at the (temporary) respite.
This year, I was determined to spend a quiet Eid. Quite made up mind to be neither visitor nor visitee. And with the man of the house going to visit his parents for Eid (and most of the family/friends thinking I was going with him), I saw no other obstacles in my way.
Books, magazines and dvds were purchased.
The staff was given a holiday. I cooked enough food (murgh pulao) so that I wouldn't have to cook every meal.
The house was spiffed up (just in case).
and Voilà! I was all set for my quiet Eid.
On the big day, Candy and I woke to the sound of (very loud) music.
We went to have Eid lunch with my parents. The streets were blissfully traffic-free and Candy enjoyed the wind in her face.
At lunch I gorged myself on Pulao and Roast (oh, Mum's cooking....Yummm!!!). Candy pigged out on Lachcha Shemai. We returned home absolutely content, with nothing but rest and relaxation on my mind.
Oh, what bliss the past three days have been. I lazed around and did absolutely nothing, alternating between my bed and the two other bedrooms and the couch. The only work consisted of heating up the food, watering the plants and making the bed. The phone was on silent and I used it only when absolutely necessary.
I read new/un-read books and old favorites. I read about politics (Stephen Katz's Overthrow and travel (Syed Mujtaba Ali's Deshe Bideshe), love (Georgette Heyer's Friday's Child) and laughter (Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat), fantasies (Rudyard Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill), classics (Sharatchandra Chattapadhya's Choritrohin) and un-classics (Humayun Ahmed's Leelaboti). I read with avid interest about the lives of Hollywood and Bollywood (that's the Mumbai film industry) celebrities, and sighed over the super thin figures of the models in Elle. Meals were eaten in the company of Archie and his gang. There were books and magazines in the bathroom too.
The Eid movie schedule contained such names as Up, Snow Dogs, the Blind Side, the Sound of Music, and Hirok Rajar Deshe (the Kingdom of Diamonds). And there were no junk food binges during showtime - or before or after (I'm so proud of myself!).
But all good things must come to an end. Sigh! But in the rat race that is our lives, I really needed this break, and I will return to the real world truly refreshed. Amen.