The dreaded moment: My first Eid with the in-laws!
Nothing manages to get us desis as excited (read overenthusiastic, obsessive, neurotic etc.) as Eid. It’s like Christmas, New Years, July 4th, Memorial Day and Labour Day all rolled into one shiny, glittery package. For those of us dreading the cheesy greetings, air kisses and chai making rituals which are part and parcel of practically any get-together in Pakistan, I assure you that the horror show continues and in fact becomes worse, as the first Eid after marriage looms ahead.
Personally, I have a handy checklist of things that I need to do on Eid
– Go out on chaand raat with friends (check)
– Sleep in late as there is no office the next day and mama will hopefully take care of refreshments, clothes etc. (check)
– Pretend to be sick so as to sleep in even later (check). Wake up in time for lunch (check) – here the yummy korma, biryani etc. factors in, stalk people on Facebook to admire their extensive/seriously over the top Eid plans. (check)
And the list continues.
Since this is a post about my first Eid experience with the outlaws – oops! In-laws, I meant in-laws. I thought I should give a little background regarding my lifelong Eid experiences prior to getting hitched. Now that it’s established that I am probably the worst person when it comes to Eid and other related celebrations, I will endeavour to note down one of the best surprises I had this Eid – which I will get to in a minute.
As I said, Ramazan for me was spent dreading the flood of relatives (and not even mine, the horror), the endless chai talks and Rooh Afza which I would have to not only face, but fully participate in on Eid, by virtue of being the ‘latest’ and ‘eldest’ bahu (by literally a matter of minutes as my husband’s younger cousin got married two minutes later on the same day as I did). As the day approached, I spent millions of dollars (yes I know I’m exaggerating but it feels that way when it’s coming out of your own pocket) on gifts for the old, gifts for the young and gifts for the neighbours (yes, I’m laying it on thick – sorry).
Thankfully my husband (the darling that he is), emotionally blackmailed my sister-in-law (SIL) into making a couple of dresses for me – yay, one less thing to worry about. Since my mother-in-law and father-in-law do not live in the country, all I have to contend with is my SIL who is not as bad honestly, but more importantly, the rest of the outlaws (SIL’s in laws, extended cousins etc.) can be a bit more overwhelming than regular mamus and chachas. Needless to say, I was stressed, getting pimples (shh, I’m very good with base), my hair straightener decided to give up on me in Ramazan and I was not ready to go through the painful process in this heat and I just looked/felt dull.
Since it was my first Eid, it was decided that my husband and I would spend the holiday at my SIL’s. Hence, chaand raat and the following two days were spent making delicious goodies with her family which I surprisingly enjoyed – since everyone involved was not judging my cooking skills, or lack thereof and also chocolate was offered as a bribe by my SIL (yes, the surprise).
Falling asleep right after Fajr, I expected to be woken up in a couple of hours to face the onslaught. To my surprise and absolute delight, no one even attempted to wake me up before 11 am because,
‘Bechari thak gayi hogi’
(Poor thing must be tired)
There was definite acknowledgement of last night’s hard labour.
Getting ready, however, was a nerve wrecking experience – too much base? Too little mascara? Winged liner gone rogue. At the end, I decided to just give up and keep it minimal, light base, a coat of mascara, a little blush-on and tinted gloss.
For the first time, I was actually anxious coming out of the room – everyone was so nice to me that I was actually afraid of accidently being rude to them and ruining the day. Nevertheless, I straightened my shoulders, rolled up my sleeves (nasty habit I know) and sailed into the living room. What followed was a series of pleasant encounters – there was minimum chai making/serving as hardly anyone wanted tea in that weather. As we had made vats of Rooh Afza the night before, all I had to do was help my SIL with the serving, and that too was appreciated,
“Wah beti itna kaam kar rahi hai.”
(Wow, she’s so hardworking)
And the Eidi! As we all know, the best part of Eid is… Eidi! Oh boy did I make some bucks. Couple of shopping trips guaranteed. Needless to say, I enjoyed every second of the attention, Eidi and above all, the love showed by my new family (hah, see no outlaws business this time). It was the best Eid I could remember since the magic of Eid had worn off sometime between O’ and A’ levels (read puberty, hormones, friends and approaching adulthood generally).
The point of this meandering post is to tell all my fellow sisters, who have just stepped into marriage, to go out, be yourself and do not be afraid, it isn’t all that bad or all that scary. God-willing may we all find new families and not the dreaded outlaws!
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