Silence of the pandemic eid morning

Image credit: @mariyamhaider19 on Instagram

09.20 am. I am introduced to the silence of Eid today, for the first time in my life. A silence induced by the pandemic-imposed restrictions with not a birdsong in the air, almost as if the morning creatures have sensed the human warnings too. My phone lies awfully quiet, being in Singapore means my family and friends in India, are still asleep. Silent mode OFF; in a very long time, I want to hear mobile notifications. I walk from my bedroom to the kitchen, almost picking up the kettle to boil water, only to stop myself and say, “Today’s Eid. Unwind. Do not systemise yourself on a holiday.” I place the kettle down, pick up a biscotti from the fresh batch prepared last night, and crunch into it, my morning snack. Drop myself on the couch, check my phone again, and listen to a 3 min audio message from a cousin, who is grieving her lost mother. Spending Eid without her mother for the first time in her 31 years, today will be especially cruel to her. I write back with a prayer for her. Decide to make chickpea curry, just like my mum does, and set them to boil in a pressure cooker. Lose interest halfway. Will order chicken biryani instead. A quick wardrobe trial of last year’s kurta reveals tightened sleeves, ditch it for a dress instead. Maybe shaving my legs will brighten this day. The house is still quiet. Spotify is uninspiring. The press cooker’s whistle is tiring. Coffee. Black with a dash of milk, gulped down with another sheermal biscotti. 11 am. Cancelling the zoom Eid lunch. Instagram is kind. I share a note on IG for everyone having a pandemic-defeated-Eid, but instead, it’s for me. I want to re-read it. Emboss it in my mind. A dear friend reads my IG post but refuses to take my calls. She’s the only one I feel like talking today. Same storm, same boat, syndrome. 12.20 pm. The biryani arrives. Phone’s notifications are clearing the air for the morning’s isolation misgivings. A ruse, nonetheless. Video might be a requirement. Should take a shower. Be prepared to smile and celebrate. Eid Mubarak.

Reading. Writing. And then, reading some more. Selected works: https://muckrack.com/mariyam-haider

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