Men have a different notion of holidays really. Yes, new clothes and good food is fine, but you really have to step into our shoes to understand what we are talking about. Firstly, we wake up really early in the morning and shower, in order to get ready for our prayers. The key words here are 'really early in the morning'. But since all the men in the family and some friends go for prayers together, it is a really special feeling. That and the feeling of utter peace that praying offers compensate for the early morning wake-up call.
The sharing of bond doesn't just end with acquaintances. Wishing someone Eid Mubarak with hugs is an age-old tradition and let's admit that it's a real good one. Everyone in the mosque around you gets a hug and everyone receives it in the best spirit possible.
The lines drawn due to class and status blur to the point of non-existence and every man greets each other as equals. That's the essence of Eid really; the demonstration of total unity and appreciation for another man, without reservations of any sort.
Most of us abide by the 'no breakfast before prayers' rule, so these men usually find themselves famished. We all do, right? The building of connection with God and fellow men is an arduous process and leaves us starving. Now, where a man chooses to have lunch is dominated by tradition. It could be your own house, the house of your in-laws or at the house of the eldest member of the family.
The best part is, Eid day is the one day when everyone has breakfast together. Mamas, Khalas, Dadas and Nanis; usually everyone takes part in the breakfast. So, after all that bonding and eating, you need rest, right? WRONG. Eid is a good day right until the clock strikes 4 pm because sleeping past 4 pm ON A HOLIDAY is a heinous crime or something, right mom/wifey? That's when men are expected to stop resting and start going out and meeting relatives.
Thank God for text messages. Let's face it, there are people who we have to wish Eid Mubarak to but really hate to speak to. Also, a simple text message ensures you can visit a person on some other day, but make sure the messages are personalised. Don't send the same message to everyone and stop forwarding messages people send to you. It's annoying. How hard can it be to come up with a personalised Eid message? You don't need to be Enid Blyton for that.
But skipping out on visiting relatives doesn't always work. Sometimes they actually come to your house unannounced. In the western world, people call before visiting. Here they visit. And since its Eid, they expect you to be prepared. By prepared we mean serve them good food that they will criticise later.
Also, if you are a man above 20, people below 20 will ask you for money. Like it's an obligation or something. You know what? Sometimes the grass IS greener on the other side and being on the receiving end of a 'salami' (both salami the food and salami the Eid money) feels so much better.
The worst thing really is the fact that the relatives you find the most annoying show up first. Rule for Eid? Book a hotel room and stay out of home. You can always socialise another day. Funny thing is, while you go to visit your relatives (unannounced) they actually come to visit you (unannounced). So, both of you find each other's house empty. Therefore, if you choose to get out of the house, chances are you will meet no one, because everyone is at everyone else's house. True story. Use phones, dummies. But at the end of the day, the good always outweighs the bad and Eid turns out to be the best day of the year. That is, the best day until Qurbani Eid because that means endless supplies of beef, which is way cooler. So, don't fret too much about the pitfalls and cherish the holy day. Eid Mubarak to you all!