Tuesday, October 24, 2006

An Eid away from home

Let me first start by wishing everyone Eid Mubarak and hope your Ramadhan went well. If I could sum it up in one word(I have a habit of doing that) I think it was 'low-key' or as they say back in India -"thanda" i.e. lukewarm.
In the morning I got ready for going to a banquet hall, the location of which I had not looked up properly online and was relying purely on memory. Wait a minute, did you say 'a banquet hall'? Yes that's right and the reason being that in the land of Uncle Sam there is no concept of an 'eidgaah' (which is generally a large open ground especially used for Eid prayers in the morning ) and so the alternative for facilitating greater numbers of people to offer their Eid prayers is booking a banquet hall and converting it into a makeshift eidgaah.
The trouble was that although I had some idea of the roads, in the excitement and enthusiasm of getting there on time I took the wrong exit. And as if that hadn't been enough miscalculation I took another wrong turn and was almost losing hope of getting to offer the Eid prayers at all. But thanks to the guy from India, who was the gas station I stopped at to ask directions, I made it just in time. A photo-finish. I felt great, something that you call an 'Imaan Rush' or "Leap of faith"?

Anyway soon after the Eid prayers was over I met my colleague there and wished him Eid Mubarak and went over to his place for some Eid sweets followed by lunch. But there was one little problem, my colleague's car had been towed away. Like me and many others who prefer to rent a car rather than buy one (the reasons of which I won't go into now) he had parked his car inside the apartment premises. However his apartment building being in the proximity of some of the hotel and office areas in that suburb, any car that is parked needs to have a tag displaying approval for parking, irrespective of you being a resident or not. For some reason my friend had forgotten to put the tag.
Anyway we decided to grab some lunch and then go and get his car back from the towing company. Meanwhile he had invited another colleague who only does business consulting and therefore does not have to be in office from 9 to 5. Now that's the kind of work I wouldn't mind doing.
When lunch was over we drove to the towing company's office to get the car back and believe it or not that little mistake set him back 150 bucks. And the lady at the counter didn't even budge, when he tried to explain to her. I think if you're getting paid for doing that, nobody would.
Then later we came back to his place and got talking about things back home and here. Basically comparing this (American) and that (Indian). I mean what else can you do on Eid day, when you're thousands of miles away with no sign of any festivity or fervor?
In between we also watched this documentary on the life of Prophet Muhammmad (peace be upon him) with interviews of Karen Armstrong, Hamza Yusuf, Jameel Johnson and others. It was a good documentary but I found it made more like a children's documentary. I think it's time we as Muslims talk more freely and confidently about our faith and beliefs. It's time to take the next step.
After that we decided to go to a nearly shopping mall but that plan got goofed up since I took a different route and reached the place a bit later. I wasn't able to reach my friend as he did not have a cell phone so after searching for him sometime I decided to get back home.
After reaching home my roommate and I prepared a quick dinner with readymade parathas, rajma and instant chinese soup. I missed home food for the n-th time again.
But the saving grace was speaking with my cousin in Canada. She asked me whether I was going to celebrate another Eid here in the States or away from home and my answer was a straight 'No'. Not for any reason.

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