24 May, Dubai, UAE

By Mrudvi Bakshi

For the last 15 years, I have been celebrating Eid with my childhood friends, who are more like an extended family to me.

A group of five, fondly known as the ‘Famous Five,’ we usually spent the day food-hopping.  We start by devouring some sheer khurma at one’s place, followed by traditional hyderabadi haleem and shahi biryani at the others’, finishing the food marathon with the lip-smacking meethi seviyan.

Being the only non-Muslim in the group, I enjoyed extra attention from everyone’s families and the chance to pack copious amounts of these delicacies to bring back home for my own family to relish.

After the binge eating and spending time with each other’s families, we would usually step out in the evening to take a stroll across old Dubai, reminiscing our childhood days and catching up on all the latest updates in our lives.

This year though with these circumstances forcing many of us worldwide to stay indoors, I must confess waking up feeling oddly strange.  For the very first time, I will not be celebrating the festival with my group.

We quickly exchange wishes on the morning of Eid — not wanting the present circumstances to sabotage our pleasant memories of the festival — we decide to make the most of this day from our respective homes. 

After some discussion, the plan is for each of us to prepare our favorite Eid dish and sit down for a Zoom call later in the day, enjoying our preparations together. 

No sooner is this mentioned that I instantly know that I will be preparing seviyan. Not only because it is a personal favorite but also because the dish is loved by my family, giving me a solid reason to prepare it.

I’d like to rate myself as an average cook and wanting to give this my best shot, diving right in to one of the easiest recipes I find on YouTube. I use soy milk instead of regular full-cream milk, not because I’m a health freak, but just because I reached for the wrong container in the fridge.

One hour and several trials later, I have successfully prepared the dish much to my liking and brought back some great memories.

As planned, at 6pm all five of us are ready with our dishes on Zoom. Slightly disappointed about having to do it this way, we quickly bring in our preparations and rave about them (cause why not), wish our families and later settle in to watch a movie together virtually.

It definitely felt different, but honestly I couldn’t have asked a better way to end the day. Also, it adds to the list of celebrations due once all this comes to an end.