Muslim families gear up for an unfamiliar lockdown Eid

A man offers prayers during the nationwide lockdown in the wake of coronavirus outbreak

A man offers prayers during the nationwide lockdown in the wake of coronavirus outbreak   | Photo Credit: -

The sights, smells and sounds of Eid will not be the comfortingly familiar one as many are unable to pray together, cook traditional fare or even be with their families due to the lockdown

The month of Ramzan is usually the busiest time of the year for Sheikh Zuber. A haleem master, Zuber spends most of his time at his stall, Dil Se Hyderabadi Haleem that specialises in kebabs, biryani and haleem. It is the first time in 12 years since he started that he won't be cooking cauldrons brimming with the creamy haleem.

“Earlier, I would rush to my stall as soon as I woke up to check on the meat stewing overnight for the haleem. I would barely pay any attention to what was served for suhoor,(the meal in the morning before fasting). But now that I have all the time in the world, I enjoy an elaborate suhoor with my family. I even volunteer to cook a few dishes for the morning meal,” he says.

As the country enters the fourth consecutive lockdown, thousands of families will be having a low key Eid al-Fitr. Many of Ramzan’s rituals and traditions are disrupted due to the physical distancing norms. Large iftar parties have been replaced with simpler meals, communal prayers have shifted online and elaborate Eid lunches will probably be made with lockdown staples available at home.

Though Zuber misses the cacophony of large gatherings, he says, for him, that the lockdown is a blessing in disguise. “I had forgotten what it felt like celebrating the holy month with my family. I constantly kept worrying about my stall and the sales. But this year has been different. We are a family of 11, so it is fun spending time together, cooking and playing board games. Since we are in isolation, my two brothers and I observe all the five prayers together. I don't remember when we all prayed together the last time before this,” he says.

Sheikh Zuber at his stall ‘Dilse yderabadi Haleem’ last year.

Sheikh Zuber at his stall ‘Dilse yderabadi Haleem’ last year.   | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

For Alifiya Khan who is locked down in Bengaluru alone, it has been difficult being away from family. The 24-year-old software engineer is trying her best to observe all the rituals and traditions . “This is the first time I am away from home during Ramazan. I spend most of the time video calling my parents and trying to be there for everything. We break our fasts together over the calls and also sit for prayers at the same time,” she says. Alifiya is nostalgic about the haleem stalls that are an integral part of Ramzan for her. “Growing up, I visited these stalls (the one at Jagadamba Junction is her favourite) with my parents, and later went there with my friends. These areas all decked up with string lights and music bringing in the festive feels,” says a nostalgic Alifiya.

Alifiya has decided to be adventurous and prepare her mom’s signature Eid lunch all alone. The menu includes biryani, meat curry and crispy papadums. For dessert there will be sheer khurma. “Over the month I have tried cooking all these dishes one day at a time, with mom instructing me through video calls. Hopefully, it turns out good on the day of Eid,” she laughs.

Some others like Aslam Khan are strugglking with the idea of not being able to visit the mosque for prayers in the holy month. The entrepreneur residing in New Colony misses the community prayers. “If last year someone would have told me that someday I wouldn’t be able to attend the mosque during Ramazan, I would have probably laughed and walked away. It was unthinkable, but today unthinkable has become reality,” he laments.

Aslam believes that the best part of the celebration is family gatherings and the iftar parties. “On the day of Eid, we dress in our finest clothes and head to the mosque for prayers. Friends and family come home for elaborate lunch that is usually followed by the inevitable Eid nap. In the evenings we step out for large gatherings where elders catch up and kids are showered with gifts and money. How can video calls ever substitute for a long warm hug from your parents?”

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 1:04:16 PM |

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