Chaand Raat, probably the most awaited time for Muslims after Ramazan (the month of fasting).

Families gather on roof tops to see the Eid moon and wish each other well. Then follow the celebrations. But it all starts with a group of ‘Clerics’ from the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee trying to see the moon. It is actually a pretty funny sight when you see a person looking through an extremely large telescope with a giant web of flood lights trying to look for the moon. Then the celebrations begin, provided they have seen the moon, otherwise it’s another outburst from ‘Mufti saab’ in front of the media. One thing that we all fail to understand is that why can’t we just celebrate Eid on the same day as Saudi Arabia just like most of the 195 countries in the world. 

Different people have different ways of celebrating Chaand Raat. Probably the first thing that comes to the mind of a women is,’ let’s go shopping’ as opposed to the men’s simple greetings, while the children just sit there wondering, what’s going on. Women set out for the market to buy the essentials such as mehndi, clothes, shoes, bangles etc. Who needs food and water anyways? But probably the single most burdened person at this time is the tailor. He has to cope with the pressure of dealing with dozens of customers as well as get an insane number of suites ready before Eid and with the slightest imperfection he has to endure constant complains and threats that he won’t get paid.

On the other hand salesmen and shopkeepers have to bargain with multiple ladies at a time to ensure they don’t end up broke. Many vendors, however, take advantage of the high demand and charge outrageous money for a relatively cheap product and end up draining peoples wallets dry.

Salesmen don’t know whether to enjoy the high demand or profit or just give up while dealing with the customer that is continuously arguing about the price and trying to reduce it by saying that he/she has been a customer for so long etc. They usually end up like that agitated man sitting on that chair in the corner with loads of bags reflecting upon the life decisions he made to get himself there in the first place.

The dark side of Chaand Raat shopping comes when there is a sale on limited stock which leads to the store turning into a wrestling arena. All out brawls begin over who saw the dress first but the amazing thing is seeing how some ladies manage to carry the mountain of dresses while being able to manage their children, purses and items they have already purchased.

Furthermore with the shopping come the news reporter who interview shoppers while they try extremely hard not to laugh at someone else’s English speaking skills. All of us at home wonder that is what the problem is with speaking in Urdu but who can miss that awkward man in the background having a stare down with the camera.

Away from the shopping some families decide to go out for dinner (there’s the food) and actually enjoy the occasion itself. On the roads you have youngsters out of the car windows blasting music and bikers doing wheelies. On the other hand some people just go out to enjoy the drama while others are not at all bothered and just go to sleep.

Fortunately there are some sensible people head for the supermarket to buy vermicelli (saviyan) and sweets along with variety of traditional treats.

Finally when people realize it’s getting late and they should probably head home but as soon as they reach home, the new dilemma is that no one’s Eid suites are ironed. Finally people go to sleep after setting hundreds of alarms in order to wake up in time for Eid prayers.

But there are a few people who celebrate this occasion and every other holiday the same way. All credit goes to our jawaans of our armed forces and police who sacrifice time with their families and potentially their lives just for keeping us safe so we can enjoy all these privileges. They are the true unsung heroes of this country. We owe them every bit of gratitude so this time after your Eid prayers don’t forget to wish the brave soldier standing outside the mosque keeping you safe. n