Friendship and Festivals

Priyanka Baranwal
Thursday, May 2, 2019

If religions celebrate differences, festivals bridge them together.

Writing this article had me unexpectedly walking down the memory lane where I stumbled upon something very particular – College days.

Pursuing Bachelor in Science, I was fortunate to have two great friends. I will address them with the initial of their first names to keep their identity safe. S, V and I were three best friends. Our group came into existence pretty soon after the dreading First Day of college. Each of us was nervous but soon we found friendship calling and since then we were inseparable.

One thing to take a good notice of here is that we three were entirely different personalities. I was the tallest, V had the best handwriting whereas S had that beautiful charm about her. Where I was dead scared of dissecting a dead frog smoked in formaldehyde on the petri-dish, right there V and S could laugh at its eyes gouged out between the tweezers. Ergh! I am still not comfortable.

As a strong group of three, we had done regular things together with great interest – classes, studies, lunches, poking jokes at someone as well as making fun of each other, checking out a guy in the class, post college hours snacks, celebrations etc.

The best part of our friendship was that despite of the fact that S was a Muslim, and V and I was Hindu, the difference in our religions never affected our bond in any way. In fact, we celebrated our festivals together. One of them was – yes, you guessed it right – Eid.

Every year on Eid, V and I would go to S’ house with the sole purpose of enjoying bowls of Eid special Semiya. Semiya is a sweet dish normally made with sugar/jaggery, vermicelli, and milk. V and I would relish until the last drop was licked off the bowl. S would giggle seeing us being sloppy with moist ziggly zaggly semiya strands. S too would take part in our festivals such as Diwali with equal vigour and interest.

This was our story throughout the college years.
I am not in touch with V and S anymore but these memories make me smile even today. Friendship is an equalizer; it has its own unique charm around it in which people get lost with their personal views. And that’s pretty adorable!
Now I am in Kuwait with my family. Ramadan is upcoming (May). Eid will again be celebrated at end. Here is what I have learned over the course of one and a half years being in this city:

1.We cannot drink or eat anything outside. It’s a punishable crime.
2.Working hours are shorter.
3.The daily evening ritual of breaking fast (IMSAKIYAH) is called Iftaar.
4.People are more friendly and helpful towards their Muslim friends who are on fast.

And yes, huge sale goes on everywhere. Personally I feel that regardless of the nature or reason, every festival should be treated with respect and love. It’s a symbol of friendship between communities and peoples alike.

Since I am a part of Writers’ Forum, Kuwait, I asked two of my friends of their perspective on Ramadan. I requested our forum’s vice-president, Mr. Qamar Minto, to write his views in the form of poetry and here is what he came up with. Mr. Minto is an excellent poet and a great friend to all of us.

Respecting those who fast on Ramadan
We joyfully offer luscious Iftaar to our friends;
Roza is a divine call to the needs of believers,
As hands are joined for the world peace in prayer.

Being in Kuwait for eighteen years has been an enriching experience for non-Muslims, says my good friend, Dr. Radhika Bhardwaj. She adds further, Ramadan brings people of all walks together. Where shorter working hours is something to look forward to, Non-Muslims are happy to help their Muslim friends/colleagues. Regardless of what religion we belong to, emotions connect us through deep levels.

Yes. I agree with both of my friends. Festivals serve the needs and keep us connected within the community. When we follow the rules of any festival, we are not only showing respect to its rituals but also contributing in passing them on to the next generation.

I believe we all can exist and be a part of the grandeur celebration called Friendship.

Before I leave, I’d like to thank ‘Indians In Kuwait’ for providing me such opportunity because of which I could express my views on such auspicious occasion as well as dig deeper into precious memories. Writing is another thread, apart from friendship and festivals, which keeps us together.

Wishing all of you Happy Ramadan and Eid. Have a great festive season.

Priyanka Baranwal is an Author, Blogger (two blogs: Pages from my life, and Pages from my life in Hindi), Guitarist and a Poet. She has written two books - It's Never Too Late... (To fight against your biggest enemy: Fear) and The Shadow of Darkness (It ends where it started). Both the books are available in India as well as in Kuwait. She is also a member of Maurya Kala Parisar, Timber Talker Toastmasters and Writers' Forum in Kuwait. Priyanka loves music, writing, reading, and traveling. She is currently based in Kuwait with her family.

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Express your comment on this article

Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Dear Priyanka Ji.
Congrats to you first for that you brought out our memories of school/college ages. Yes, friendship regardless of cast, religion, community and countries is still blending among with us with all national people. I feel proud that India like country teach us to be unite and friendly with every human being wherever we live. I hope that should be the aim of god of universe. “God creating everything but human named his creator with different name in different language as his wish”. Same way, celebration may vary, but aim is that worship him.
Wishing all of you Happy Ramadan and Eid.

Mohan singh
Monday, May 6, 2019
You are awesome
Fantastic write up
Keep it up
Feeling proud to b associated w you
Loads of love blessings
May Almighty bless you n your family with all
The happiness good health n success in all your efforts

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