The Noniversary

« Qui ne fait pas quand il peut ne fait pas quand il veut. »

Proverbe français

Jeudi, 25 juillet 2013:

Today would technically be my parents’ 28th wedding anniversary — except that my mother laughed it off when she reminded me about it because she found nothing celebratory in this fact.

Our lives have quieted down significantly, and our family has shrunk considerably since our captain went overboard. We are striving to keep the ship afloat and it seems like we’re doing considerably well, given the strenuous circumstances. Rough winds come and go, but we sail on into the unknown horizon. Slow. Steady.

In a couple of weeks, Ramadan will end and it will be time to usher in the month of Syawal — a time of celebration and festivities and family appreciation and forgiveness. Indeed, the month of Syawal is known as the month of forgiveness; it is said that on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr (the first day of Syawal) all our sins will be forgiven as a reward for the fasting and prayers that we have done during the month of Ramadan.

We too are encouraged to forgive and seek forgiveness from each other in this month. When wishing friends and family Eid Mubarak, in Malay we say, “Selamat hari raya, maaf zahir dan batin.” The English translation of ‘maaf zahir dan batin‘ actually sounds slightly awkward — ‘I seek forgiveness from you physically and spiritually’ — but what I think it means is that we are meant to ask for forgiveness for our faults, both the ones that we did intentionally and the offenses that we may have committed completely by accident, without our knowledge.

In one of my previous posts I talked about how we Malays often easily take offense at something that someone else did or said yet we keep it all in and pretend that nothing is wrong. Well, Eid is the time to wash off all these grudges, reset all scoreboards and get that slate clean again.

Eid for us has lost much meaning; I sometimes feel like a child who just found out that Santa Claus isn’t real. Family? Forgiveness? Pshft. When I think of Eid another f-word comes to mind.

I am just waiting for Petronas to air their ‘Selamat Hari Raya‘ commercials on TV, which are notorious for being extremely somber and sobering. Their message is always clear: Go home to your family. Fix those burned bridges. Seek forgiveness. Forgive and forget.

But maybe some bridges are just wrecked beyond repair.

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