Why I Look Forward to Baasi Eid As Much As Eid

Culture

Why I Look Forward to Baasi Eid As Much As Eid

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

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uslims live for the two one-day festivals we get. Ramzan Eid or Meethi Eid, which celebrates the end of an entire month of fasting. Also known as the day of the sheer khurma. And Bakrid, or Teekhi Eid, aka a day when all in the qaum wakes up to the sounds of a cooker’s whistle, whafts of spices, and huge smiles on our faces (and tummies). 

It is mandatory that on Eid someone in the family will gasp “Time kahan nikal gaya pata bhi nahi chala!” because for sure time flies amid all the feasting and there’s probably something about it in the Qur’an. Such is the typical flow of events: The day starts by prepping up the home for the festivities – from cleaning the house to being ma’s minion, someone who has to constantly keep stepping out for last-minute shopping – the tej patta for the biryani, the cashews for the custard. Then you get yourself ready for the special Eid prayers after which the guests start filing in. There’s a routine to this: We hug in sets of three, and as the youngest in the house, it’s my duty to enquire about everyone’s preference of tea, and serve it. #ProTip: Jhuk ke salaam karna and laugh at jokes cracked by your chachas, however unfunny. It will win you precious Eidi.

It’s barely noon and you just want to plonk yourself on the sofa and not move. You are already exhausted from the running around, bowing down, hugging, and laughing. But that’s when you realise it’s your turn to become guest and you embark on your journey of daawat-hopping. Between commuting, touching up your make-up, clicking selfies with cousins, laughter, stuffing your face with food, and changing into a more comfortable shalwaar because the one that came with your Eid ka joda can’t take your expanding stomach any longer, Eid is done and you can think of nothing else but climbing in your bed and dream spicy dreams. 

You’ve had enough of the aunt who can’t stop praising her kids and the uncle who has nothing new to talk about but makes it a point every Eid to tell you, “Bohot ‘healthy’ lag rahi ho”. After all there is that much socialising and small talk you can survive. Also relatives, however sweet, come with a timer of sorts: You can’t tolerate them for more than three hours at a stretch. 

Eid is great from a purely gluttonous point of view, but the day after Eid is the real deal. Baasi Eid is where the magic’s at.

Eid is great from a purely gluttonous point of view, but the day after Eid is the real deal. Baasi Eid is where the magic’s at. Because it is what food dreams are made of.

Most families works with recipes that have been passed down to them – sprinkled with secret steps and ingredients that make biryanis, dal ghoshts, and double ka meethas truly theirs. And if the flavours were absolutely there a day ago, they level up, and how a day later. All the biryani becomes what celebrity chef George Calombaris would call a “smashing flavour bomb”. The meat, spices and rice have spent time getting to know each other, hugging and muddling among each other. They’re breaking down, revealing each other’s secrets, laughing and lifting the smooth notes that make the food – preparing for the next day when they’ll be tastier together.

Even the sheer khurma sings on Baasi Eid. Because it’s consumed warm, it has precious stove property reserved to it. Over Eid it goes through multiple cycles of heating, warming and cooling, making the mewa its own, thickening the milk and making the delicacy silkier by the passing minute. If you’re only going to get yourself one bowl – make sure it’s the serving one. And don’t kid yourself, get two.

Even the sheer khurma sings on Baasi Eid. Because it’s consumed warm, it has precious stove property reserved to it.

Baasi Eid is the OG afterparty – one where you’re most probably home and your fridge is bursting with a curated menu, the take-away containers and casseroles filled to the brim with food, from all the homes you visited. The preferred and only music that plays is fingers rolling the gravy and rice into bites and the slurping of your fingers to take in every last bit of that serotonin-boosting food. It’s an afterparty for two – you and your hungry soul.

The dress code is an enthusiastically acceptable pair of comfy pyjamas. I have followed the tradition of skipping school and office on the day after Eid, because I celebrate it in my own way: The first rule is not changing out of your pyjamas the entire day. My first meal has to be sheer khurma. I usually pass out from its sheer richness and take another nap only to wake up when it’s time for lunch. I load my plate with the biryani that was made at home the previous day. In my second and third trip to the fridge, I take out the kebabs and korma my relatives have packed, heat them and eat them as I watch my favourite Netflix show. And I end with the high of another bowl of sheer khurma. Sitting on my bed swaying because I’m so happily full, passing out again because there’s no stopping me. I’m always reminded to save some for my siblings, but they’ve known me enough to know that the only law around this neighbourhood is “first come, first served”. And after I’ve done the cycle of wake-eat sheer khurma-repeat for dinner, my Eid finally ends one day later but only with scrumptious memories. 

So this Eid, spend the day with your friends and family. And Baasi Eid, with yourself. Eid Mubarak!

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