Razia Bibi, aka Aunty Razia is our resident 77-year-old columnist. She wants to give a voice to a whole generation of women who feel their views are seldom heard.
Like so many first generation South Asian women of her era, Aunty Razia has a very powerful life story of her own. So many of these stories go untold and, as time goes by, there are fewer people around to ensure this part of history is kept alive. Aunty Razia, who lives in Bradford, speaks Punjabi, Urdu, Swahili, Gujarati and English and in her own style, every week will share her views on life. Sometimes you may not like her straight talk, but who said life was a bed of roses and our Aunty Razia’s life most certainly wasn’t. So over to you Aunty Razia.
I used to love Eid when we were younger. My eldest daughter was just saying the other day that ‘Mum we used to have lots of things in the house and we used to be constantly cooking in the lead up to Eid and sending food out to our neighbours and friends and relatives. It was so lively.’
She is right, in those days there was so much we did in the days before Eid and now there is so less of that. In fact people get tired so easily, they prefer ordering frozen samosas, whereas we used to make them all including the pastry ourselves. That spirit of getting together is missing there is a lot of barakha (reward) in preparation.
When I was younger I lived in Kenya, and I remember how Eid was looked forward to, as a lavish occasion. We used to start preparing weeks ahead, the local ladies or family members used to all turn up at each others houses and help with the tayari (preparations) for baking and making samosas. Ladies would come and gather and help with the rolling of pastry and filling of the samosas. Because there were many of us, we would laugh and entertain ourselves while preparing, so nothing felt like a chore.
Alas, those days have gone times have changed so much now. If I try asking people now to come and help with preparations, no one seems to have time, even though things are much more efficient with technology and ready made items – the world is still busier and people seem much more tired quickly.
There was so much peace in our days, now things are so fast paced, you have no value for time.
For example take ice – you open the fridge and it’s there. In my time, we used to go get big blocks of ice from a factory. My mum used to go and buy four big blocks of ice for 1 penny and bring them home. She then used the ice to make sherbet and we used to give it out to the neighbourhood, we did so much and there was so much love. We used to ask each other within the neighbourhood, what have you cooked today, I have made this, one would say and the other has made such and such, and we used to all share the food with each other. There was so much food between us all, even though we didn’t have as much as we have now.
I may sound old fashioned but Eid is a time with family and for me, sitting round the table enjoying home cooked food at home, is the most precious feeling in the world.
We didn’t ever go out to posh restaurants for Eid like most youngsters do nowadays. We used to cook food, get ready and then visit friends and family with food or have people come round. We used to exchange gifts and have lunch together. You felt it was Eid as the atmosphere was great, but the lifestyle and generations started to change, and we had to change with them.
I think people have lost family time and values. I mean, why do our young boys want to spend Eid going up and down roads in their hired out cars is beyond me! The ulloos.
Is that really their idea of having a good time? And why aren’t parents asking them to spend time at home?
I can’t really say much as it’s pretty much the same in my household, once Eid namaz (prayer) is over and the morning greetings are done, every one is ready, then I don’t see them for dust.
It’s not just that, even talking to each other has changed. Most of us now spend half of our Eid on our phones, we might be in the same room, but everyone is looking at their phones or taking pictures. Selfie, that’s what you call it don’t you? I just want to remind everyone that if it’s one thing Covid taught us, is to value our loved ones and time – but will we learn?
Covid freedom day has come, but that doesn’t mean go out gallivanting. Make sure you give that time to your family, especially your elders, who don’t know how many Eid’s they have left.
We crave for your time and your attention. We don’t want your posh cars, or your mobile phones. We just want some of your time. So switch off your devices, sit and talk to your family and you will definitely feel the joyous occasion of Eid.
Eid Mubarak to you all.