Eid celebrations: Merriment with Melancholy

Eid celebrations: Merriment with Melancholy
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"No matter how dysfunctional your background, how broke or broken you are, where you are today, or what anyone else says, you matter and your life matters."

Pleasure is a moment of exhilaration with areference point to the pain. Every human being is born with a right to be happyand right to safeguard his personal pain. Both pleasure and pain are instantflashpoints with no permanence. They may seem completely opposite but like dayand night, they follow each other. Surprisingly, in acute conditions, both areexpressed with similar bodily expressions. The extreme negative feeling ofaches may get tears in the eyes, so do the heightened joy and elation. Whateverthe connection between the two, pleasure definitely has an edge; joy may betaken as a juncture by which the soul is consciously brought into a state ofecstasy, an instinctual craving that spreads the positive charm over thepsyche.

Theentire schedule and routine would change with the commencement of the holymonth of Ramadan, a month that would bring intense stimulation and a desire forcorrective measures to a wayward behavior. It was put in our raw minds by ourparents that to be on the right path we must please God by fasting for Him.Mother, with great effort, would make us understand that by fasting we will be keepingalive an important religious tradition practiced by many faiths around theworld. Amazingly, at that point in time, it was not for the sake of all thoselong term benefits but for the rewards and incentives given in the shape oftoys, chocolates and extra attention paid at the 'fast-breaking'. Days wouldrace down fast and the last week of Ramadan would bring more delight. After a speededup intensity and duration in worshiping, praying, and supplications preparationfor the festival of Eid would increase; so would beat and note of rouf in theevening. The tone and wordings would change with mood and day, starting withverses, "Mahiramzan  awie latie noor'epathie haith", appreciating religious luminosity of the month and at the end, "Eid aaye rus rus eidgah waswie"; motivating people to joincongressional Eid prayers in Eidgah; Kashmir would resonate with energy andhope. Sometimes I wonder as to what made our older generation so full of vigorand vitality, after breaking the fast they would not feel exhausted and drained;full of enthusiasm, they would make groups and participate and compete witheach other in performing rouf. Religion, those days had not become an affair ofdos and don'ts, people were free to express and demonstrate their wishes andtheir desires.

  Eid in Kashmir meant comprehensive entertainmentwith no tragedies generated before     oneday to make masses uncomfortable. The moment moon would appear in the sky, citywould spin in positivity, and the whole valley would gear up for celebrations.People on the top floors, in their courtyards looking for a glimpse; thankingGod for giving them strength to comply with the command and prohibition lay byHim for the month of Ramadan and asking for the future guidance and protection.The thread- like fragility would overshadow the moon's pearlescentshimmer;   its mere glimpse would make everyone happy andreflective. Those days the moon was not made to play hide and seek, there werelesser contradictions regarding its appearance. Observation of new moon wasdone in a simple manner, area- specific festivity was less prevalent; Eid- moonwas not tracked and chased by scientific techniques, it was sighted by nakedeye that worked more for the unity of people than in their division. Mullahswere more religious than political.

Mother would get busy incooking delicious three- course Eid lunch plus a roaster in spinach andfenugreek leaves; enough quantity to last for three days, keeping an eye onausterity. No injurious to heath bakery items would be our menu, our bakerkhaniand sheermaal would last for days together and not go waste in the dustbinwithin the next twenty four hours due to mold and fungi.

For us children,  Eid would mean three days of hyperentertainment, henna on hands, with all new and crisp clothes, shoes laced up,bangles tinkling, little hankies with embroidered corners and a specialminiature money bag to collect eidiyan; the money given to us by elders to buymore gifts. I remember the highest would be paid by our rich aunt's husband;ten rupees for five of us, considered big money. Strangely, nowadays even onethousand looks less, times have changed so has the face of money; withinflation making it more and more worthless day in and day out. Eidi in ourtimes was not demanded but received sheepishly with humbleness. We were a shygeneration on many accounts.

 Obviously, going to Eidgah in our home was alla boys 'affair; I could visualize it only through the eyes of Munshi Prem Chand'safter reading his famous short story Eidgah. It had amazingly introduced me toa street person's bankrupt home economy. The idea would get further reinforcedby some poor employees inquiring about the festival advance from my fatherprior to Eid. If Eid commenced before the payday, sankrat, a portion of thesalary would be released on option as the goodwill gesture by the authoritiesand recovered later in monthly easy installments. Analyzing scarcity then andabundance now it seems quite evident that the level of corruption and height ofmalpractices were not as high and prevalent as are now.

 I wake up and moonbeams play around my bed
Up towards the glorious moon, I raised my head
Glittering like hoar- frost to my wondering eyes.
Then lay me down and thoughts of home arise.

Thoughts of that home arelost, when they arise, they give a melancholic fit. It needs nerve and spine toforget about the pain and live in the moment with joy and jubilation.

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