The door bell rang several times. I was not surprised to find very little children aged 8 and not more than 4 standing grinning up at me. Only children ring the doorbell like that. I did not recognize them but it was evident they lived in the same building as me. The little boy who was accompanied by a tiny girl brought steel tiffins 'dabbas' filled with mutton biryaniand sweets and said, "Mummy sent these for you aunty. Eid Mubarak( Eid Mubarak or Arabic: عيد مبارك is an Arabic term that means Happy Festival) ." The spirit with which the children came to my door was different from any other day and I could sense joy and love from their smiling faces and giving gesture. I had no gift handy to give to the children but my thanks.
I had just finished eating the generous lunch gifted to me and was getting drowsy when another neighbour brought me more food including meals made up of biryani, curries, salads, kebabs, sweets freshly made at home. I asked the good samaritan salwar kameez clad young woman, " Where have I seen you before? ," to which she replied that she was my next door neighbor's sister and lived in another locaility after marriage. "Eid mubarak," she said with a warm broad smile.
I had so much food given to me that not only did I have a sumptous lunch but I would have an interesting dinner as well. The smiles, love, joy were also lingering all throughout the day, making my day a happy one.
I remember how many people had asked me if I was not apprehensive moving into a muslim dominated locality being a Christian wnen I shifted into my new house a little over two years ago. It took me just a couple of days to realize my house was right in the middle of several mosques with loud microphones to relay the namaz, the periodic prayers. I also faced a busy market street making it even more noisy most parts of the day, even late nights. But gradually over time I got used to the noise and way of life and nothing manages to disturb my sleep or work anymore.
Today I felt blessed to be here living in a muslim locality among them. Pampered. Loved. Included.My neighbor made my day special. Its a life changing gesture that deserves to be paid in kind. There is nothing like love to spiral how we feel about others and life in general.
Last night I was with my close friends on the eve of Eid at Mosque Road in Frazer Town, Bengaluru( India) for the Ramadan Food Festival that happens every year with stalls spilling into the streets with the most delicious meat preparations including fish, chicken, mutton, camel meat and so on. Thankfully it was a cool evening with some breeze to neutralise the effect of the barbeques and kebabs being cooked out in the street and the huge crowd of people which had gathered. I enjoyed different arabic delicacies with my northeastern friends Rini Ralte and Mamawii Boitlung. Among all the things we ate, worth mentioning are Pita, yeast leavened round flat breads, one of the tastiest bread I have eaten with Hummus a chutney made of chick peas, onions and olive oil, all Arabic delicacies. We walked back home talking about the festival, people, their customs and food.
From what I have experienced, I know one thing for sure that if we can live among people who are different from us, celebrate their festivals like our own, eat and enjoy their food and beverages, accept, accomodate, appreciate their worship and accomodate and celebrate our uniqueness, there would be no scope for divisive forces to create misunderstandings between people and use one another to create hate around the word. Eid al-Fitr is a reason to love one another.
Eid mubarak to you.