To start off, let me make the following disclaimer:
‘The following account is loosely based on real life events and is from a guy’s point of view. Oh! And its main aim is humor… so please don’t take it too seriously!’
Chand Raat, as we all know, begins when the new moon of Shawwal is sighted, designating the end of the holy month of Ramadan and the ‘Eid-ul-Fitr festival.
And on Chand Raat – if you have a family like mine – you have about 5 minutes in which to call every relative who is older than your own mom or dad. And God forbid you miss someone, you’ll be hearing about it for the rest of the year!
Chand Raat Lunacy
Phone calls done, we move on to the plan for the night.
In all my years, I have never – and I mean never – had a chand raat where the ladies of the house did not have something extremely important left over to do which absolutely MUST be done before the ‘Eid morning. And God forbid it isn’t done before ‘Eid; because I’ll be hearing about it for the rest of the year!
Peeko, fitting, dupatta, mehndi, chooriyan, mithai… all critically important tasks no doubt! My job as the family idiot…. err… I mean brother, has always been to plan out the route in order to ensure all these critical tasks get done before day breaks.
Battling crazy traffic and crazy ‘dukandaars’, I manage to get my sisters’ and mother’s errands done by somewhere close to 3 a.m.; and you would think that’s the end of it?
No sir! After all this I still have to go get my haircut and shave, which means another 1.5 hours easily. And God forbid you don’t get a haircut and shave before ‘Eid; you’ll be hearing about it for the rest of the &%%*^% year!
So by 4:30 a.m. my extreme chand raat comes to an end… just to give way to an even more extreme ‘Eid day!
The ‘Eid Day Regimen
‘Eid morning – 8:00 a.m. sharp – is namaaz time. Namaaz time with the mard of the family. For me, it’s the mamus and male cousins.
Namaz is followed by a trip to Burns Road, Karachi, for gorging down on some serious kebabs. This is a tradition unique to my family. And God forbid I don’t show up for kebab time on ‘Eid day, I’ll be hearing it for the rest of the year!!
Kebab time is followed by the Salam ritual, where we go to pay respects to the eldest of the family. This may be your dadi/dada/nani/nana, or – if you’re really fortunate – even your par dadi/par dada/par nani/or par nana!
All this done, we get back home just before noon with the kebabs and have breakfast with the immediate family. We take a small break till Zuhr prayers and then the fun begins again… The afternoon is jam packed because I am usually invited to three different homes at the EXACT SAME TIME:
- To my Nani’s place
- To my Dadi’s place
- To my in-laws’
The ‘Eid day afternoon and evening are a mad rush from one house to the next; being forced to gorge down large quantities of food (which is especially torturous considering after a month of fasting your stomach is no longer used to ingesting so much); trying to make conversation with people whose names you have forgotten but are too embarrassed to ask; navigating crazy Pakistani traffic; and in the end being served up with more food!
But that is ‘Eid in Pakistan… and no matter how crazy gets, we all love it! (Besides… God forbid you complain about it… you’ll be hearing about it for the rest of the year!)