Virtual hugs, online Eidi mark quieter Eid-ul-Fitr this year

New Delhi: When Munshi Premchand wrote the short story 'Eidgah' in which a small boy Hamid is seen buying chimta (tong) for his grandmother so that her hands do not get burnt while making rotis, while all his friends went ahead to buy either sweets or toys for themselves, depicted a different joyous Eid. However, in 2020, COVID-19 pandemic changed it all. Neither the markets were open nor there were swings in the neighbourhood for the children.

"Papa, is there Corona near the swing," was the innocent question of a six-year-old Abdullah from his father after listening to various excuses not to take his child out for amusement on the festival.

"Tears almost filled my eyes. My child could not understand why this Eid we are confined to our homes and why he could not go out to have fun unlike last year. He remembers the small swings that come up in the area every Eid. This year there aren't any," said Azaad, father of the Abdullah, who resides in Delhi's Batla House. Azaad says that his son picked up the word Corona from news channels and knows whatever is happening it is because of this Corona.

Roads were deserted and only a few people could be seen at Jamia Nagar. Same was the case with Delhi's Jama Masjid area and Seelampur and Jafrabad, the predominantly Muslim neighbourhood. Eidi, the money or gift given to children by elders on occasions of Eid too turned online.

"It was too hard to make the children understand. My extended family lives in Muzaffarnagar and everytime on Eid we travelled to our native place from Delhi. This year we are stuck. My cousins forwarded the Eidi amount for my son through Paytm but my son kept on insisting for money. Online Eidi can't make the child happy you know," Raunak Ali, a resident of Jaffrabad said.

This year, Eid was a quiet affair with Mosques and Eidgahs (where Eid Namaz are offered) closed for general public as Muslims were asked to pray at home because of the looming threat of Coronavirus.

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