Monday, August 15
01:21 PM

Hopping around with Hopibi: Eid encounters

22 Jul 2020

I had made a long list of things that I wanted to do during the upcoming Eid al Adha holiday – from visiting ice-cream parlours at noon to enjoying steaming hot mishkak late night on the beach, from hanging around in malls for meeting friends and folks in the evenings to rumbling around town in my muscle car after midnight. All these are not possible now, with another lockdown coming our way this weekend. But I do have a super duper plan to make Eid more meaningful this year…

One thing that the current pandemic has taught people around the globe is that you don’t need to walk, ride, sail or fly, if you need to talk to someone, meet someone, strike a deal, bag a contract, make a payment or a donation, buy a house or a horse (I mean, goat). You simply… (yes!) You simply Zoom!

‘Online’ is no more a word used by only those wearing crisp white shirts in air-conditioned offices, and ‘Zoom’ doesn’t quite refer to the way your neighbour’s hyperactive teenager just drove by in his 18th birthday gift. These words have become household terms and everyone, from nursery kids to great grandparents, know that it’s way to meet up, to say ‘Hi!’ without holding out your hand, to share stories as well as secrets, grief as well as goodwill, greetings as well as goodbyes.

So, after having bought online all my provisions for a sumptuous Eid meal  (including the goat), new clothes, footwear, gifts and goodies, I’m gonna Zoom it up! I’ve lined up a Zoom meet with all my family members whom we cannot meet due to current restrictions in movement after 7pm (Hey, that’s when we really set out!). I’ve then lined up a Zoom meet with all family members (you’re wondering if you just read that, aren’t you?) who are young and cool (No oldies on this forum, please; you know, we can’t really speak anything on these family Zoom meets except keep smiling and greeting everyone who walks in late) – so the second meet is for the youngsters! Then, I’m gonna meet all my friends (college mates, distant relatives, neighbours) on another Zoom meet. We’re going to chat and chat, and chat our hearts out. 

And, if you’re wondering if this is my ‘super duper’ plan for Eid, you’re wrong. Apart from Zooming around, I’m gonna do something different to make this occasion special.

I’m gonna prepare hygienic meals at home (Biryani, of course) and present them in packed containers to workers who I often see relaxing on street side lawns at midday.

I’m going to buy little pouches of 10-15 face masks and distribute them to people on lower rungs of society, especially workers who cannot afford them and keep re-using soiled ones.

I’m going to buy mini hand sanitisers and offer them to labourers who do not have access to facilities for washing hands frequently, yet need to do so more than anyone else.

I’m going to advise my spirited friends to refrain from behaving carelessly in public by not maintaining social distancing or wearing masks, in a bid to bring down the numbers of infections, at least by a fraction.

I’m going to spread the message of personal hygiene, safe social distancing and responsible public behaviour to members of all my Whatsapp groups, even if they have heard it umpteen times during the past six months. May be, there are yet a few who have missed the bus.

And this final observation: I think, it’s time Zoom is spelt without a capital. So guys, let’s zoom it up…but also wear our hearts on our sleeves!

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