Bollywood stars find special ways to celebrate Eid this year

Delhi's famous Jama Masjid is seen on the eve of Eid Al-Fitr during a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus, at the old quarters of New Delhi, India, Sunday, May 24, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 25 May 2020

Bollywood stars find special ways to celebrate Eid this year

  • For Muslim film stars, this year’s Eid is less about celebrations and more about charity, spirituality and support

PATNA: Under the shadow of the pandemic, Eid Al-Fitr is unusually quiet this year, but Muslim stars in Bollywood have found ways to make this moment as special as the circumstances allow. 

Actress Zoa Morani, who along with her family members tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) last month, said that she would welcome Eid with jubilation and gratitude. 

“I am totally dressing up and having a virtual Eid celebration. Eid has always been special for us, and this year we are all just so grateful to be in good health now and to have food and a roof over our heads,” she told Arab News.

Eid is normally a time for people to gather together, but Zoa is trying to see it in more spiritual terms.

“This Eid is more about prayer instead of celebration. My late grandmother would have wanted that! I am making her favorite doodhi milkshake, which my father loves too.”

Instead of lavish food and festivities, Zoa is celebrating in being able to contribute to the recovery of a patient.

“I was just made aware that the patient who received the plasma I donated responded very well and recovered totally from COVID-19. To be able to help someone truly feels like an Eid gift from God. I am looking forward to donating more blood,” the actress said. 

Singer and composer Adnan Sami is also doing what he can to keep spirits up and make this Eid memorable for his family.

“Calamities happen but we must never allow them to come between us and the spirit of survival, which entails trials and tribulations,” he said.

“The true test of life is not allowing any challenge or difficulty to dampen our resolve to celebrate the blessings of our Lord. So, bring on the seviyan kheer, the biryanis, the new clothes, the smiles, the love, the joy! We’re not going to let anything bully us.”

For ghazal singer Talat Aziz, this year’s crisis has meant that most of his awaited Eid routines will not be followed. 

“In normal times, we would have held Eid prayers at mosque. At home, my wife would make sheer khurma and I would have it first thing in the morning. In previous years, when Sultan Khan Saheb was alive, I would go to his house for Eid as he lived nearby,” he said, remembering his friend, the famous sarangi player and classical vocalist. 

“I would also visit Khayyam Saheb. Then we would go to Sanjay Khan and Zarine’s house for the Eid party they would have every year. Sadly, that won’t happen this year.”

Despite the different nature of this year’s celebration, the singer still plans to carry on with cherished traditions.

“We will still make our sheer khurma. The Eid prayer will have to be held at home, and we will communicate through WhatsApp and digital media. I am also releasing a single ‘Ya Rabbi’ on my digital channels, including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. The trailer is already up.”

Actor Sharib Hashmi also aims to digitally adapt to the new circumstances. 

“What I'm going to miss the most is praying at the mosque and exchanging hugs. But we must follow all government guidelines and strictly stay away from gatherings. I won’t be buying any new clothes, but I will still dress up and meet my family and friends virtually. Sheer khurma will definitely be there also!”

Television star Iqbal Khan echoed Hashmi’s sentiment, saying that everyone should act responsibly given the situation.

“Life is what you make of it. The need of the hour is isolation and social distancing. Anyone who insists on community activities is plainly stupid and blind,” he said. “Even Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said it is prayer that is essential, not what accompanies prayer. The Qur'an even mentions heavy rains and plague as reasons to pray at home.”

For Delhi-based theatre actor Imran Zahid, Eid will be less about celebrations and more about charity in this pandemic that has upended the lives of many.

“No one in my circle of relatives and friends or even extended family is enthusiastic about Eid this year,” Zahid said. “Everyone is praying for this virus to be over. For me, Eid will be like any normal day except with prayers and home-made food. This Eid is about giving to the needy, feeding the poor, and helping to alleviate suffering as much as we can.”

Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

Updated 33 min 55 sec ago

Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

MANILA: Virgilio Estuesta has picked through trash in the Philippines’ biggest city for four decades, and is noticing an unusually large amount of plastics during his daily trawl of about 15 km (9.3 miles).
Tough curbs re-imposed to combat a surge in daily coronavirus infections are squeezing income for the 60-year-old, as many of the junkyards and businesses in Manila that buy his recyclables have been closed since March.
Plastic items, such as bottles and containers, dominate the contents of the rickety wooden cart Estuesta pushes through the deserted streets, far more than metals and cardboard, yet the money they bring in is not enough to get by.
“It’s been really hard for us, it’s been difficult looking for recyclables that sell high,” he said.
“Recently we’ve been seeing a lot more plastics, but the problem is they don’t really sell high.”
Environmentalists say the Philippines is battling one of the world’s biggest problems stemming from single-use plastics, and ranks among the biggest contributors to plastic pollution of the oceans. It has no reliable data for its plastics consumption.
Greenpeace campaigner Marian Ledesma said consumers and businesses are now using yet more single-use plastics, in a bid to ward off virus infections.
“The pandemic has really increased plastic pollution,” she added. “Just because there’s a lot more people using disposables now, due to misconceptions and fears around transmitting the virus.”
Since March 16, Manila has experienced lockdowns of varying levels of severity, in some of the world’s longest and tightest measures to curb the spread of the virus.
They are taking a toll on Estuesta, who hopes to start earning soon.
“When you go out, the police will reprimand you,” he said. “I was stuck at home and had to rely on government aid, which was not enough. I had to resort to borrowing money from people.”