It has officially been more than a week since Eid started and the verdict is finally in: Festivities are exhausting and we are worn to the bone. Open house after open house after open house. Oppressive elastic bands on our fancy outfits threatening to smother us as they tighten their hold around our bloated tummies. The cranky tension that pervades every crowded car as everyone briefly recuperates while savouring the silence and relaxing their overworked facial muscles.
By now, that little voice inside our heads telling us to “Get. It. Together!” whenever our already heavy eyelids threaten to droop down further is a constant; the very same voice that delivers the mini prep talks as we take off our shoes before stepping into yet another house (the fifth one today, but definitely not the last!), mentally preparing ourselves for the impending social gaiety and unending small talk.
More than once this year I’ve heard disillusioned acquaintances grumble about the seemingly pointlessness of it all. “What’s the point? All we do is sit and eat.” And to a certain extent, this does ring true, especially when one is coerced into a marathon of “Let’s see who can visit the most houses in a day” by their parents and brought to houses where no one knows anyone. Personally, I have had my fair share of opting out of the festivities during the days when I “can’t even” because, really, what is the point of paying my respects to someone who didn’t know I existed before I stepped into their home and ate half my body weight in Kek Batik?
But in the midst of all the stressed smiles, cordial drinks and even more cordial conversations, the one question that we have to ask ourselves is, why are we so tired? Compared to a usual day at the office, celebrating festivities should be a walk in the park. Not only do we get to dress to the nines, we get to walk into any number of houses and basically raid the best of their fridges. Except this time, the food is literally served to us on silver platters; we literally just have to sit and eat.
It has finally dawned upon me that the older I get, the more I am convinced that there is actual enjoyment to be had. Maybe because I’m now a working adult and I can finally appreciate the merits of a free all-you-can-eat-buffet for every day of the month, if I am so inclined. Or perhaps I’ve come to accept the fact that it won’t be long before our circles no longer coincide with one another and that this will probably be one of the last times I see some of these people before we embark on our own separate journeys. Maybe I’m even starting to see eye-to-eye with the older generation and slowly coming to an understanding as to why it’s so important that we simply show up.
After all, bad music, crowded living rooms, tight outfits, dry cakes and even drier talks, are nothing when we keep in mind the larger picture at hand. So go the extra mile. Visit that extra house that you’re contemplating giving a miss, eat that extra plate of fried noodles, strike another mind-numbing conversation with one more person. Do it because you take delight in knowing that you have so many friends and relatives to visit, each waiting to welcome you into their humble abodes year after year. Enjoy it because it’s a privilege that we’ve experienced so much that we’re starting to take it for granted. Do it all because you’re high on life and exhilarated by the fact that you’re lucky enough to be alive another year to do it all over again.