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My Eid Surprise

My Eid Surprise

August 21, 2012

The power of an isolated act of goodness in a jaded world.

The world has always been a violent place.

In those days after the Persian Gulf War, the USSR had collapsed, Divya Bharti had fallen to her death, and the Babri Masjid had been demolished. The adults around me were always discussing these issues quite literally over my head, but the grownups and the children lived in two separate worlds, two different realities. I was a happy-go-lucky middle-school student living in a protected environment far, far away from the mess of the world, at least in my head. From the safe bubble of my home and school, all the monsters were confined to the newspapers and radio broadcasts. They never gatecrashed my friends' birthday parties or told me that I couldn't have burgers and fries when I wanted to.

That random schoolday, my friends in my 6th grade class had been acting shady all morning. During recess, however, they approached me as a group, all smiles as they eagerly presented me a handmade Eid card.

I was one of a tiny handful of Muslim students in my class of forty-something Indian students. My friends were from all over India, they were Christians, Hindus, and a Jain. In a school where most of the students were Hindu and where Muslims formed a tiny minority, we got along. One's religion was never a reason for discrimination or debate but more like one of innumerable personal traits like having curly or straight hair.

The Eid holidays were approaching where we lived in Muscat, Oman. My friends had painstakingly got together to make me an Eid card. The carefully executed surprise was top-secret. Without my knowledge, my friends had decided to do something genuinely nice for me.

It's been over twenty years since that happy day. The world is still a violent place, and somedays I can't bear the ugliness of it. When I now look at the card, I see its careful pencil outlines and think about how meticulously a bunch of 11-year-olds traced it over with felt pens and colour pencils. They didn't have to do it. They didn't get anything from it. I don't even know how they came up with the idea. I do know that it was a big deal to them and that they spent all morning fairly dividing the art work and logistics amongst themselves, making sure I didn't get a whiff of the secret project. I do remember their beaming faces as they gave me the card during recess. Now I realise that no matter how many times the world hurts my feelings and walks all over me, there are people out there who don't see me unidimensionally for my religion, race, or nationality. And if there are some of those, there's gotta be more. I believe in that. 


  • Lazy Pineapple
    Lazy Pineapple
    23.08.12 01:19 PM
    what a lovely gesture from your classmates. Such memories make you forget the bad things in our world. loved your article.
  • matheikal
    22.08.12 05:32 PM
    Yes, in spite of all the violence, there's still a lot of goodness left in the world.
  • Sonik
    22.08.12 03:24 PM
    Lovely article, Eid Mubarak :)
  • Shovon Chowdhury
    Shovon Chowdhury
    22.08.12 03:21 PM
    Eid mubarak, Khadija.
  • Fabia Postel
    Fabia Postel
    22.08.12 03:19 PM
    Lovely article Khadija, Eid Mubarak to you and everybody else
  • Poor In Java
    Poor In Java
    21.08.12 06:42 PM
    Eid Mubarak ho Khadija
  • tys
    21.08.12 03:29 PM
    eid mubarak to all of you...
  • C. Suresh
    C. Suresh
    21.08.12 10:25 AM
    Very moving! I love to read people who can remember that people can be good instead of all those who find it fashionable to see the world as though all its denizens had just crawled from under a particularly noxious stone.

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