Monday, November 15, 2004

Carol' s Theory of Relativity

Sunday was day one of the three day Islamic holiday calledEid al Fitr. (Holiday of Charity) here in Pakistan. Saudi Arabia and some parts of Pakistan had declared the new moon sighted the night before and celebrated their Eid a day earlier, but the rest of the country was waiting for the official moon sighting to be announced. After hours of is it or isn't it Eid tomorrow, we finally got a call from Crayon announcing the Eid decision and that put us in mad prep-cooking mode. I guess sighting the new moon or not is all relative to your locality.

Fortunately the days where Hubby and I did all the cooking ourselves are over, the girls are a big help now. I made my Americanized chole (chick pea salad) which is such a tradition, Hubby made Chicken Quorma(curry), Sheer Khurma (vermicelli in sweetened cream with raisins and nuts) and Pilau. Owlie made Dahai Baray (fried lental flour dumplings in slightly sweetened yogurt sauce) Abez provided kitchen support, helping out and washing the dishes. It was relatively easy.

After an early morning prayer at Faisal Mosque, (which I didn't attend this year) the family returned to exchange hugs and greetings of "Eid Mubarak". The kids got Eidi (cash) from their father. Then all settled in to attack the Sheer Khurma . Very much missed was our old Chicago tradition of a dozen donuts from Dunkin Donuts. I reminded Zaman that next Eid there would be Dunkin Donuts again, as a franchise is underway here in Islamabad. It reminded me of the Jewish tradition of saying, "Next year in Jerusalem." There was even serious discussion that day of whether we should drive 3 hours to Lahore for donuts, but decided it was relatively too far.

Then we all did something something very untradtional for Eid, we all slept for many hours. After many days of not enough sleep and then staying up all night to cook, everyone was relatively exausted.

Traditionally right after the prayer, families start to visit one another. All day the families make the rounds visiting, hugging, giving and getting Eid. Even adults get Eidi from older or senior ranking adults. There is a very elaborate and clear cut system of ranking. A woman who is married to the oldest brother out ranks his younger siblings even if she is younger by years. Older sisters get Eidi from younger brothers because brothers are supposed to support sisters. It gets prettly complex sometimes and it's fun to watch the adults laughingly argue why a certain person has no right to decline their Eidi or why they are demanding Eidi from another. With the convolutedness of inter-married families, it all gets relatively complicated.

On holidays we miss having family close by. But there's a reason why we are we live in Islamabad and all Hubby's live in Karachi. We lived in Karachi from '91-'93. The family complex was 4 miles from our apartment. It was relatively close. We would visit the extended family about 3 times a month and on every holiday. That was relatively convenient.

On holidays like Eid the lack of family members is relatively painful. We usually do go to Karachi for Eid, but last month's expense of replacing our stolen car left us relativley cash strapped. We decided to stay in Islamambad and make the best of it. Then we don't even have friends to fall back on as surrogate family. But unfortunately, in Islamabad, a city of immigrants, EVERYBODY returns to the family "village" and the city is relatively deserted.

So very painfully I must announce that we entertained NO ONE and went NO WHERE all day. We ate and slept and awoke to eat again, and spent the day bemoaning our relatively long distance from family and friends and vowed that next Eid we will be in Karachi to enjoy a relatively large dose of relative hospitality and comradery.


Post a Comment

<< Home