Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Gaana El Eid...



I seem to forever have memories of ayam el eid, or at least awel yom el eid, being as sunny as it was today. Sunny, with fluffy white clouds, an unarguably bright day - as if the day is a product of collective whims and expectations. It carries the promise, or perhaps the fulfillment of a promise, that no matter what, el eid eid..

You wake up; Ramadan's just packed and left, taking most of the golden sticky, and the next morning with all that is ka7k and crumbly, gaanna el eid e we ganna el eid..
With it, the bright mornings, the masses of prim and crisply dressed children, the carefully combed hair, and the general bahga.
Perhaps it is the bahga of a holiday, or one of days of preparations , buying 'new' clothes, 'new' shoes.. even those that suffer to make ends meet, seem to insist on making something meet somewhere.. something must be new.

And so today was bright.. breakfast with Nanna and cousins was cheery, lunch with the uncles and aunts, was bubbly..
'El eid 7elw ya lulu!' was how my aunt launched the day with her phone call. Much in line with her announcement, people were in a good mood, the air was light, and i continued to shout 'wenta(y) tayeb(ba)' at strangers all day long :)

Where is the phenomena? This one that changes the weather, lifts the mood, and makes people so kind?
It is no where but inside our heads and hearts; a collective decision that it is a special day, and is to be celebrated...

At night, i went to a wust el balad concert with friends. It is not their music that i enjoy as it is the atmosphere they create. The open air river hall at Sawi was as full as it ever could be. Or at least, that's what i told myself every other minute, and as the minutes progressed, people would pile up in the ares you would least expect to see them. Literaly over you and under you, beside you and all around you, and as far , high and low as your eye could see. People people people. And yes, there seemed to be the crispness of the new clothes. Or at least i wished to see it as such. The ripples of excitement were so powerful this time you could barely tell if they were rippling from the audience to the stage or vice verca.. everyone was jumping up and down and screaming at the top of their lungs, that if it wasn't exhilarating; it was actually alarming.

My favorite eid experience however, was when i found 'el welad'.
You know, the ones of 'aho geyh ya welad' and '2olu ma3aya 2olu... 2OLU', Yes, the 'heyyh heyyyh heyyyyyh' ones..
I very gleefully came across them.

I went for a stroll down el sayedda zeinab with amito, in search of maragee7 el eid. Or 'el eid' as my dad refers to them. For my parents the maragee7 more than anything represented the 'phenomena', so much so that for dad, this was ' el eid'; thus perhaps kanu beyru7u el eid, rather than wake up and 'find it' or 'not find it' as i have had experienced.

So yes, i went in search of more eids.
Through zawareeb we el zawa2ee2 we strolled, and it was as romantic as any nostalgic memory of Egypt could be..
the weather was slightly breezy; the music came loud and alive from some shops, and trickled through the unshankled sheeshs of the balconys of other houses...
the roads were uneven, wet, dark, and radiated a strange sense of security and warmth. The shops displayed a wide range of toys, all hanging off laundry ropes that stretched from one side of the kiosk to the other..
Eshey 3arayes, we eshey cars...20 years older than the last time these objects held my undivided attention and affection, i still yearned for the funny assortments with wide eyes, and itching palms.

And then they appeared..
The sound of wooden wheels stumbling over the uneven cement, and through the narrow alleys, echoed by the sound of giggles, shrieks, shouts and the collective colorful sounds of excited children. A rickety old cart, pulled by a donkey; it's driver sitting, one leg lifted so that it supported one elbow, and the other dangling from the cart. The cart was PACKED with kids. Packed. There were tens of them, on a space that could have possibly adequately been filled by ten kids. I have no idea how they fit on it, but you were at once struck by their multitude;

3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal 3eyal..

It seemed as if they were piled untop of each other, and miraculously bound together so that they remained ON the cart (rather than under it) by some invisible rope.The driver whipped the donkey rhythmically with his reigns; a kind plump face framed with a dark heavy beard, that seemed to encompass his head fully; clad in a brownish galabeyya.

With every little whip he would shout over the tiny shrieks with;
'2OLU 'HEYYYYYYYYYYY''
and the children would instantly (attempts at simultaneity) shreik 'HEYYYYYYYYYYHHHHH'

the fact that they didn't all hear him at the same time, made some heyyh's longer than others, but all shrieked with equal excitement and tickled pleasure; a chaotic, frantic, colorful expression of glee; HEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYH!

And so the rickety thing trudged through the alleys and puddles, the driver quite neutrally pulling it through with the periodic '2olu heyyh'
and the children all over each other, the cart and the place, mouths wide open (missing the occasional tooth), hands full with coloful objects, in colorful little dresses and shiny black 2ossas,and properly dressed hair we bey2olu 'heyyyyyyyh'..

An image i am unlikely to let fade anytime soon. We adi el eid :) Huwwa gey shwaya wana ro7tellu shwaya.
All came to life as even Hambolla downtown, we drinkies in Zamalek are back in action with their array of trickily drinks back in their vatrinas, and empty cartons piled untop of each other indicating a busy day after some hibernation..
The adjacent toy stores seem to enjoy an equal burst of action as they are frequented by the young and toothless which as much fervor and perhaps even more purchase power.

Doors open with smiling faces, people are uncharacteristically patient, the day is alive, the weather is warm, the food was plentiful (perhaps even a little more), and very tasty, the ka7k abundant, the swings in full action and the festivities running..

You will tell me i romanticize.
I will tell you, Akh..
i am home.

Eid Saeed..

1 comment:

Alaa said...

sunny eid indeed
http://malek-x.net/node/268
http://ma3t.blogspot.com/2006/10/blog-post_116172649009047369.html
http://t5at5a.blogspot.com/2006/10/blog-post_25.html