For it's sugar and spice and all the stories that make for a delicious and blessed Eid in Mumbai

Noorbanu's Eid biryani

I was a bit bummed as I could not make it to my friend Zamir’s house today for what could have been my first Eid party today (unless I had attended one in Iran when I was a 5 yrs old and which I am unaware of). 

Then our cook, the legendary Banu, came over with a plate of freshly made (and delicious) mutton biryani and sheer khurma, just as I was going to sit down for lunch. 

She proudly told K and me about how her younger son had given money to his wife to buy her (Banu) bangles. "I’ve never worn so many bangles in my life, but he insisted."

Her grandson from her elder daughter, whom she used to bring to our house when he was 5, is 15 now and accompanied her today. 

"He comes only to me and gets angry if anyone doesn’t treat me well," said the proud grandma.

Earlier in the morning, our friend and neighbour, Iffat, brought over sutarfeni. She was distributing this from apartment after going first to the graveyard to pay her respects to her parents who are now no more. 

It made for a delicious dessert for me along with the sheer khurma after the biryani.

Iffat's sutarfeni

I wistfully remembered how Abdul Bhai, who has serviced our aircons for years, would come with lovely chicken biryani made by his wife every evening on Eid. 

Then one day he told me, ‘you might be wondering why I don’t bring biryani over on Eid anymore. I lost my wife to cancer.’ I was shocked!

Recently he told us about how his elder son has completed his CA in just two attempts and has now joined a MNC Bank. I was so happy for him!

And how can I on Eid forget the loving and maternal smile on the face of Farida Aunty, our neighbour from many apartments back, who would get us biryani on Eid every year?

She made a large platter of biryani for me as a farewell gift the year we moved out of the building. We keep bumping into each other on the streets of Bandra even now and she always asks us to come home. I must one day. 

Yes, it is the people who are the heart of any festival isn't. And it’s through food, that they share their joy with all. Can one get any luckier than this?

This to me is the spirit of Bandra, Mumbai and humanity at large. The reason why I am proud to call the city my home.

Eid Mubarak folks. Here's wishing you peace, happiness and joy. And some great biryani and sheer khurma.

Edit 6th June 2019: A little jog down the memory lane made me realise that I have been to one Eid party in recent years. That was in the mid 2000s at the house of Ejaz Mirza. He had invited me and our other colleagues from the market research agency that we worked in to his house and his wife had cooked us biryani and other treats. They live in Dubai now.

Banu's sheer khurma