Let’s enjoy that feeling of sitting down to iftar with our loved ones -- while it lasts
The final days of Ramadan have always fascinated me, just like 12 on the dot on New Year’s is an image that I can’t get out of my head.
These are things that don’t last, like the crimson butterfly of summers past. It might be a couple of minutes, or it might be a couple of days. But in the grand scheme of things, these things exist just for a moment. And then, it’s time to say goodbye.
The feelings start out simple enough. At first, it is the happiness that everything you have worked for is coming to a head. A sigh of relief that you don’t have to hold back anymore. Then you feel a bit sad, because soon, all of this will be over.
Even during the actual event, be it Eid or the party that one partakes in during the early hours of the new year, things aren’t quite the same. You have a good time, sure, but it isn’t the same as the excitement and anticipation you have felt throughout your wait. And the feelings you had during the climax seem to be long gone as well. All that exists is the now, a now that is quickly fading, a now that is a reminder of the dream that you have to wake up from.
And come sunset, the song will end, and you will have to get back to your regular life. Trapped by your office cubicle, letting go of your homes and dreams in a stream of smoke; you will be trapped there, forever.
“The child is grown. The dream is gone. And I have become, comfortably numb.”
Which seems like a mantra for this year’s Ramadan as well.
For the last two years, we have been under the grips of Covid, and things have been anything but normal. We lost an entire Eid to it, a fate that we will have to repeat this year.
We gave up most of the things that bring us joy. All we were left with were the stresses that make up life, now amplified because employers can take advantage of the fact that being home and working means that the rules for meetings and such can be manipulated to serve the ego of the suits. And that too is the best-case scenario, because the other option is so much worse.
Funny how all of these things started as our generation was about to graduate. The generation that started to find joy and meaning outside of the prescriptions of forefathers got slapped back into a position where the only thing they can care about is money. All the other things are secondary and out of reach.
It’s like trying to do more than survive was the original sin, and these uncertain times we spend with a virus that might not ever go away is the exile with which we have to purge that sin.
Except while it seems like that, it isn’t exactly the case.
While we lost one Eid to the virus, we were able to celebrate the next one. Sure, there were still some minor restrictions, but soon, even those were gone, and we were back to our old ways. Hell, we got the fireworks during the end of the year as well.
While more people were beginning to get burnt out, more people started questioning their surroundings as well. Even if they opted to do nothing about it, people still questioned if this is all there is to life, which led to the “original sin” in the first place. So, no matter what, it is a win for us.
And while we are confined to our homes, the younger generation is also trying to find joy in the little things. And even though all of us are a bit tired as this is the second time that all of this is happening, there is a definite lust for life here that should be commended. After all, it is because we won’t settle for less that things like this make us depressed.
We are convinced of the pitfalls of the old ways as well. I mean, the boomers could have stopped their self-destructive tendencies, but they didn’t. And now that we are stuck with the bill, the spirit to rebel is ignited within us more than ever.
And even during our darkest dreams, and even during moments where words just won’t flow from one’s hand, there is light to be found. I should know. I really wanted the lockdown to end before Ramadan ended so that I could enjoy Ramadan a bit.
But it didn’t. And now that we are in the final week, I will miss this Ramadan, just like the ones before it, just like the ones after. Was it as fun as that one Ramadan I had in the eighth grade? Maybe not. But in its own special way -- from giving me an opportunity to go up to the rooftop at night again after three years or so, to making me feel the same feelings I always have on the final days of Ramadan -- it has been a fun experience, one I will miss. And just like that, there was a lesson here.
We are all afraid that the best is behind us, and the worst is all there is. But life has a strange habit of repeating things, of bringing things back that were once and can be once again.
Sure, the ending will always disappoint. Sure, come sunset, we will be stuck in our cubicles.
But the moment of fireworks will always remain. And this coupled with the lust we have for a brighter future just might be the fuel we need to reach those distant horizons we dreamt about in our youth.
At least, that’s what it feels like this Ramadan.
And as we can have some leeway in the final days of Ramadan -- where we finally have some after-iftar sit-downs and iftar with our loved ones (in a responsible way, of course) -- I think this is a feeling we can cling to for a bit longer.
Yeah, things will end in a while.
But for now, let’s just enjoy it, shall we?
The fireworks before the end. And with some conviction, let’s turn them into the fireworks before the beginning, the beginning of our lives.
Nafis Shahriar works at the Oped department of Dhaka Tribune.