Saturday, September 3, 2011

On the Third Night of Eid

The first night of Eid wasn't exactly as we had imagined it. 

That whole platter of shrimp?  Nope.  It was not tender and melt-in-your mouth deliciousness.  It was overcooked and greasy shrimp gum gamberry leban.  Considering the price for shrimp, my brother-in-law who had bought it was not happy.  He let that be known.  The other brother-in-law is married to the cook of the house. He then let it be known he was upset as well.

It was time to plan an evening out.

The following night of Eid we ate food happily as a family and then left to visit the sisters.  There are four sisters.  In Egypt, a sister leaves the family house to go to the family house of their husband.  During Eid, their brothers visit and bring money for the children.  My husband was most happy with us bringing some joy to the nieces and nephews. 

The next day was the third and final day of Eid.  Yes, we get three days of celebration.  The first day you must truly break the fast and eat and enjoy.  After that, you may start fasting again. Fasting for six days in the month of Shawal is Sunnah; following the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him). 

Remember:  though ladies are exempt from fasting during their menstrual cycle, they must make up the days before the next Ramadan.  Making them up right away, in the month of Shawwal is doubly good.  You get the obligation done AND you get extra blessing.  It is said that fasting the month of Ramadan and six days in Shawwal is like fasting a whole year.  Subhanallah!

So, on that third night of Eid we planned a night out and away from everybody and everything.  We were going to the cinema for the first time as a family.  I had wanted to see Toy Story 3 when it played in Egypt and I tried everything I could to get us there to no avail.  This time, I told my husband that I really wanted to see the new Mohamed Saad movie Tek Tek Boom.  I am a big Limby fan from way back.  I crack up at his antics.  My husband really wanted to please me and I appreciate how he agreed to go.

When we leave to go into Cairo, it's like this huge endurance test.  We start getting ready at 3:00 in order to be on the street at 4:00.  We time it so that we do the asr prayer at home and then zoom out.  It's still warm at that time but whatever clothes we have on have to be appropriate for the night time breezes as well.

Me?  I decided (foolishly) that I truly was oh-so-Egyptian and could layer my new unexpectedly tight (haram) shirt with a linen jacket (in order to make it halal).  I mean...layering is so fashionable in Egypt these days.  Surely, I could handle that one extra layer.


I was so uncomfortable I wanted to scream.  Never again will I layer until the weather actually dictates.  I don't know how Egyptian ladies do it!  Why don't they freak out?!  I sat there on the sauna micro-bus with sweat dripping down my face wishing I had chosen better. 

I cooled off once we started off for Cairo.  We were going to the Ramses Hilton Mall.  It's a good location; next to the Nile in a safe area.  Plus, their theatre is right next to a McDonald's so Mr. Boo could load up on favorite food.  My husband wanted to give my son our boy every happiness that night.

As we sped along the road, I saw a young teenage girl, in her newest clothes, riding side-saddle as a passenger on the back of a motorbike.  Her arms held on to the boy she loved.  The look on her face was priceless. She was on top of the world!  I thought about the preciousness of that moment. 

When was the last time you felt like that?

Does it have to be in the company of a man that we allow ourselves to feel free and in love with life?

I looked down at my little man.  He had fallen asleep.  We were almost across the bridge.  I had to wake him up.  Time to unload and walk a ways.  It's not an easy moment.

While I was focusing on my sleepy boy, my husband was paying attention to the bus passengers from the other vehicle parked ahead of us.

"Igry!"  which means Run!

One quick look over my right shoulder gave me all the information I needed.  There was an angry young man picking up a large rock.  The young woman with him screamed.  I ran with my sleepy boy across the street and down the steps to safety.  When we were at a safe distance, I looked back again.  A man, his victim, was covered in blood and trying to call someone (probably to tell them he'd just been hit by a rock).

Yes, my friends, anything can happen when you leave the house!  That's why I make du'a every time I go out the door, "May Allah protect me from hurting anyone.  May Allah protect against anyone hurting me."

My husband then told me this rule.  Once someone picks up a rock, you run!  Someone is going to get hurt and you don't want it to be you.

We were now down by the Nile and so was everybody else from Egypt.  I had thought that celebrating Eid en masse would bring about a feeling of unity and happiness.  Actually, you get a little fearful.  You know that with so many people, the chances are greater that someone is going to be up to no good.  We crossed the street and left the beautiful Nile.  I had to trust that my husband best knew how to protect us.

The crowds never stopped.  It was packed!  Every street was overflowing with families and carefree teens.  The mall was so busy that Mr. Boo mistook is for an airport (and he wondered if we had to catch a plane).

Inside the mall, the lines for the elevator were long and people's patience was starting to wear thin.  I hate to wait more than just about anything.  We took the stairs.  Up we went to the top.  We bought 30 LE tickets for each of us; almost a hundred to see a show!  Wow!  Good thing that we we didn't do this all the time.

Over to McDonald's and I was about to drop another 30 LE on little sandwiches, one medium fries and a large Sprite.  It was hot and crowded in the lines.  The teen boys kept yelling, "Amu!  Amu!" Uncle!  Uncle!  at the workers to take their order.  I stood my ground and remained calm and intent on getting food.  Oh, and when I did get to the front, I remember to wish them "Kullu sana enta tayib" which roughly translates to Many Happy Returns of the Day.  It got a smile and good service (whereas shouting at them didn't seem to get either).

When it was time for the movie, it was also time for magrib.  I got into my seat and then heard the azan on someone's phone.  Big oops!  It had crossed my mind during the planning at home that we would be out during magrib but I had neglected to make any effort towards praying while we were out.  I don't want to do that again.  Astragferallah.

The theatre itself was very small.  I was surprised at that.  It was beautifully air-conditioned and my layers suddenly felt reasonable.  Mr. Boo, on the other hand, was freezing.  We munched our 9 LE popcorn and finished our Sprite. 

There was an actual usher on hand to seat patrons.  This is really unlike the American movie theatres where you have all the freedom in the world to sit where you like. All our tickets had seat numbers which had been assigned to us.  That was nice, in a way to have some orderliness to it.  When a young couple entered our row, I could ask the woman to change places with her man so she wouldn't be sitting next to mine.  There were lots of families and respectable people---a very different crowd than that for Shara Al-Haram Pyramid Street starring belly dancer Dina.

When the previews started they were THE SCARIEST previews ever!  Mr. Boo was hiding his eyes and covering his ears.  Eventually---I think it was after the bridge collapse---I had to do the same.  Way to start a family outing!  LOL!

Alhumdulillah, all bad things come to an end and our movie started.  I am so pleased with the efforts of Mohamed Saad in this film.  He really has told the story of The Revolution in a way to make very complex ideas understandable.  You see the groups clearly:  the tech saavy youth, the thugs, the common (poor) people, the army, and the children.  I truly did have to hold my husband's hand when the gunfire started on the screen.  I wasn't scared but I was filled with emotion to see it play out in the movie.

There are so many good messages, though, it's not a preachy film.  You will see unity among believers of both faiths.  You will see patience and love and courage.  Perhaps the main message is that we don't have to act on impulse to do the same bad as others.  We can make a stand to be our best selves no matter the dire circumstances around us.
Time for us to leave and go home.  The crowds had multiplied and then some.  We navigated ourselves down the stairs and out the door.  Another fight in the crowd and another time to run.  Mr. Boo was tired from all our walking.  We finally found a bus with seats and he promptly fell asleep.  I held his head so it wouldn't bounce around as we raced through crowded streets.

Back to Giza but not back to our house yet as we had to catch another bus.  There I was, holding a sleeping boy.  He is so much heavier, mashallah, than two years ago.  I really can't continue to carry him like I used to.  My husband was trying in vain to get us transportation back to our area.  No one!  Everything was full.  A taxi stopped and he talked to the driver but got refused.

The driver was still sitting there and I approached him with my arms full.  No, I'm not supposed to talk to men and negotiate deals.  I know this.  However, various parts of my body were atrophying and I needed to get home.  When the driver saw me with my burden, he agreed alhumdulillah.  My husband got in and thanked me.

It had been a big night out.  As my mother always says, "It's nice to go out and it's nice to come home."  Yes, it was nice to get out and get away from it all but our home is always especially welcome and cozy after an outing to Cairo.  Alhumdulillah for both.

Alhumdulillah for The Third Night of Eid.

1 comment:

MarieHarmony said...

Great to read about your Eid! I agree with your mum and I think when going out we appreciate even more our own home, a place of serenity.
Have a beautiful day!