Guess what guys?? My dad is taking me to his village for Eid this year. I am so excited that my tummy is all tied up in knots and I can hardly wait to get there. I haven’t yet enjoyed Eid the way papa says he used to when he was small. Well, I am hoping to do so this time.
Let me start with the village first, the way my dad describes it. Yusufpur is a sleepy village in Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh. Its almost as if the residents wait for festival time to wake up. And gosh, what a waking up it is.
Yusufpur during Festivals
Overnight, the village becomes a bustling, noisy and exciting place to be in – what with children in their festival best scampering around and having a gala time at the village mela (fair)! As kids, papa and his brothers had a whale of a time riding the giant wheel and the merry-go-round, seeing through the bioscope (old projector) and eating candyfloss and sweetmeats.
This time the occasion is Eid-ul-Fitr. We people living in huge cities might wonder how a festival like Eid can get the whole village up and about. Well, village life in India is still a great experience as everyone lives together like the member of one massive family. So everyone celebrates every festival as if it’s their own.
Dad says that in Yusufpur, Hindus come to our house to wish us and there is a lot of gale milna (embracing). They get buckets and buckets of milk to contribute to Eid. As you know, on Eid-ul-Fitr we make loads of seviyan (vermicelli) in milk, as that is what we eat most of the time. My grandmother and aunts will be making seviyan all day for the visitors.
This is the most important of all the Eids and we kids are excited because we also get eidee (pocket money) from all our relatives. We can even demand it, dad says!! The best part is that I have about 45 to 50 relatives there. What fun this is going to be! Papa says he used to collect enough money for the whole month…
All that Eid Shopping…
Though Eid is nearly a fortnight away, my clothes shopping has already started, as dad says that everyone, even the smallest baby will have new clothes and I should look good.
I am getting two to three sets of kurta-pajamas made. It seems one set is not enough as the clothes usually end up getting dirty with all the seviyan and kebab crumbs falling on them!!
My grandfather used to take all his children to Varanasi, as that is the closest city to Yusufpur, for the shopping, which started almost as soon as Ramzan (Ramadan) started! The tailors were told to make the clothes specially well for Eid. There were shervanis, churidars and topis for the men and kurta pajamas and topi for the boys. Papa says that women, from the oldest to the youngest look radiant on this day – in colourful clothes and lots of jewellery.
On Eid day, everyone gets up very early, bathes and wears new clothes. Then my grandfather, being the eldest, leads all the men and boys to the mosque for prayers. After the prayers, the fun time starts! The mela begins and people start to arrive in the house to exchange greetings.
Papa says that by the end of the day his shoulders would start to hurt as everyone had to be embraced and wished Eid Mubarak (Happy Eid). I’m taking some pain-killing ointment along, just in case!!
Uh oh!! Dad has just told mom to pack medicine for loose motions, too. He says all the eating and feasting leads to a really bad tummy the next day!!
As told to Manisha Deveshvar by Asif Ansari