Celebrating life one glimpse at a time

Memories of Chand Raats past

I have not been able to write recently, much because I was flooded with a variety of emotions and I didn’t know how to coherently capture my thoughts. In addition, the schedule of work and life got me mentally and physically over-occupied, leaving me with not much mental space to write. Drowning myself in my work has been one way I have tried to numb myself from feeling too much. So here I am …

Today is the last day of Ramadan and tonight marks Chand Raat (night of the moon sighting), declaring that Eid is tomorrow. As exciting as this would be any other year, it is exceptionally bittersweet.

Every fast during these past 29 days has reminded me of my parents. I have travelled back and forth down memory lane what seems like millions of miles. I recall my youthful days when I would be hangry and would snap at anyone and everyone who tried talking to me towards the end of the fasting day and my Mom’s superhero level patience to not give me a piece of her mind for it. I recall my Dad leading prayers during Ramadan and the numerous surahs (chapters) of the Qur’an that I have memorized as a result of his recitation. I recall my Mom making what seemed to be endless buffets of food in the morning (pre dawn) hours for suhoor and another delectable spread every evening for iftar that would put everyone in a food coma. That aside, she juggled her responsibilities during the day and made time to be mindful and devoted in her prayers. How did she manage to do all this and always appear calm and content? These are the very characteristics I have focused on this month while trying to balance it all. I can’t say I handled myself with the grace she had, but I’m trying.

Anyhow, I digress. I started with memories of Chand Raat. Oh, the zeal with which my Mom would prepare this night was magical. Her excitement would bring an energy into our home that I cannot describe in words. It was electric!

In the earlier years of my life, I recall my Mom stitching shalwar kameez (traditional Pakistani outfits) for my sister and I (matching no less) during the month and doing a final fitting / alteration session on this night. She would buy us colorful churiyan (bangles), new dress shoes and hair accessories to ensure we had a beautiful ensemble for a day when you should wear your new and finest clothes. She would put mehndi (henna) on our hands in decorative patterns and she would reminisce on how her father, my Nana, did this every Eid with his daughters and their friends. She would play qawwalis (devotional music) from her favorite Sabri Brothers on her console record player and would make sheer khurma (a special sweet dish made with nuts and vermicelli noodles, roasted in nutty ghee, and cooked in saffron-laced milk), boil eggs for egg salad sandwiches, cut up fresh fruits and arrange them beautifully on platters. She would involve my sister, brother and I in various chores to support – cleaning, vacuuming, etc. The house used to smell amazing and her love would embrace you in everything she did. Ahead of all this preparation, she would make sure she would send money for clothes and gifts for families and children who weren’t as fortunate as us so they could also celebrate Eid.

I have tried to carry on this tradition with my kids but I don’t hold a candle to what my Mom used to do. Tonight I just don’t have the desire – overwhelmed with sadness from the pain of my parents no longer being physically here on this first Eid. Yet I hear my Mom’s voice in my head repeating the words she would utter so frequently translated from Urdu … “I’m thankful for what was, what is and was and was taken back [as we all belong to Him], I am so grateful to God”. I keep telling myself that I need to be like her – mindful, live in the present moment and have gratitude.

It is a beautiful paradox as I am forever grateful for the gift of my parents because I would not be who or where I am today without them, yet I physically ache for their presence. I wish I could hug them, hear their voices, show them how I love them and also receive their love and prayers just ONE more time. So for now, I sit with this and deal with tomorrow, tomorrow.

If you have made it to this post / page, I would be most appreciative if you could say a prayer for my beloved parents and sister. Thank you.

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About Me

I’m an ordinary but deeply spiritual person. I try to be devoted to the many roles in life I have been blessed with. I love my tight circle of family and friends, laughing, traveling, photography, technology, pomegranates and cats.


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