“Chaque homme dans sa nuit s’en va vers sa lumière.”
– Victor Hugo
It has been more than a year since I last set eyes on my dearest ones, from whom I am separated by an ocean and two continents. With this distance I have learned to build a family of my own here, with my small coven of intellectual soulmates, childhood companions, and most importantly, my substitute mother figure in the form of my landlady.
One learns to survive with each passing day.
On the theme of festivities, I am naturally inclined to think of those who enlighten me in my darkest moments, be they far or near. In Malaysia, we celebrate Hari Raya or Eid — the closest thing we have to Christmas — after the end of the fasting month every year. This without family, as I have experienced many times in the past few years, feels like staying at home in the middle of the night with no lights on and only the TV on silent for company.
Above: lamps and lanterns on sale in Cairo’s Bazaar Khan el-Khalili.