Saturday — 29 Ramazan 1425 — 22 Kartika 1926 — …

Saturday — 29 Ramazan 1425 — 22 Kartika 1926 — 13 November 2004

چاند رات – Chaand Raat

I was sitting in a very comfortable, albeit slightly dusty, sofa thinking about the 385 rupees that I had bet on the fact that the month of Ramazan will be of 29 days, and, I was listening to the strangely inconsistent pieces of news coming from the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee – the local zoo. The moon has been seen; the moon has not been seen; people who have seen the moon are disbelieving infidels who want to hurt the cause of Islam; people who have not seen the moon are blind to the truths of Islam and hence Allah has put a curtain on their actual eyesight; since the Americans and the Russians have landed on the Moon it plays heinous tricks on us Muslims. Etc etc etc …. ad nauseum.

Let’s just say that I was orgasmically enthused by the level of general paranoia and psychosis that is typical on the 29th of Ramazan in Pakistan.

As I was thinking about this I heard the same thing that I have heard for such a long time. The speaker in the Mosque came to live and the Muezzin said “حضرات، ایک ضروری اعلان سماعت فرمائیں، شوال کا چاند نظر آ گیا ہے، کل پاکستان میں عید ہو گی۔‌” (Gentlemen, please listen to an important annoucement, the new moon for the beginning of the month of Shawwal has been sighted, it will be Eid tomorrow in Pakistan). As soon as that announcement ended people much more excited (and better armed) than me let loose their emotions and ran up to their roofs and fired gunshots into the air as a mark of happiness (and showing off). Within half an hour, millions of rupees of ammo and hundreds of gunshots later things calmed down and people went about the traditional activities of Chaand Raat (Eid eve).

As usual my family’s tradition of using me took over and I had to take my sisters all the way over to مینا بازار (Meena Bazaar) to buy then loads of Bangles and to get their hands painted with interesting yet useless patters of heena. That took one hour, since another one million brothers were doing the same thing in the same building. Not a good thing.

When I got home I got my own personal Eid gift. Pakistan beat India in a very closely contested Cricket match.

And to all of you out there …

چاند مبارک – Chaand Mubarak

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