pre-raya contemplations. warning, it ain’t pretty. it’s not meant to be.

raya is ditto in exactly a week’s time. i shudder.

call me blasphamous, but i don’t look forward to raya with any sort of anticipation beyond to savour my mom’s roti jala. years of experience have even taught me to even dread the first of syawal.

its not that i dread the celebration of a new muslim month and seeing my cousins and yada yada. but pretty much everything else is what i fear to be a horrific day by personal standards.

having to dress up is something i feel is completely unnecessary. yes yes, i know all that pakai baju serba baru sort of preachings and all. but in my line of work, i hardly have any occasion to dress up in any other occasion beyond hari raya. and that is just a one day, one time use thing. i swear, i wore my last year’s baju a grand total of two times between last raya and this. the previous two years, my sister and i practically swap baju rayas so we’d appear as if we have new baju raya on both years. and for all those years, i don’t even wear it the whole day long. i don it for raya lunch at my grandparent’s place, and then yank it off that very afternoon after i come home. in a way, the baju raya is more like a uniform than something of a treat to wear.

my sentiments, however, is not shared. i know relatives that live simply to be decked in pretty things and comment on other people who wear pretty things. not that i have anything against being pretty and all, but that is not me and i don’t believe that it should be imposed upon me. i want to be known as me and as i am. not as some doll that is forced to dress up once a year and parade for my relatives to scrutinise.

but you know what, if it cheers up people, and it makes people smile for a moment or two, if it makes people happy to see me that way, then fine. i’ll wear a baju kurung or kebaya. if it will shut my relatives up about me being a walking goner, then i will get a new baju this year, and i will deck up in nice things for these people, for just a day. if it will save my mom from a battery of questions about me and if i have been too influenced by the so called evil influences of the west, then fine. i guess i can do that. i can dress up for one day, walk like i ain’t got knee caps and plaster a smile on my face about it.

raya cookies. personally, i don’t see what all the fuss is about. but then again, i have never been one for traditional delicacies of any kind. but even then, i can’t understand why people only choose to practice these glorious baking skills only once a year. why? why can’t all these goodies be tasted all year round? it’s either because people are lazy or then simply loose their taste buds for it every other time. ‘festive goodies’ is a term i find rubbish.

but again, if it make people happy for that few days of savouring these festive goodies, then i suppose i can live with that. but i really can’t help associating it with cheap thrills. more like cheap festive thrills.

oh, but here comes something i just cannot and would not, not be bitchy about: relatives taking shots at me about what i am going to do in the future, specifically on the matrimonial subject. this is what i hate most about family gatherings. i know that ‘hate’ is a strong word, but i’m using it hare to illustrate exactly how i dislike the interrogation that i experience every single fucking year. it is something i just can never escape from. my cousins and i huddle together in the kitchen or somewhere secluded, just to hide from these sort of questions, which is really shitty. where is the festive spirit, where the yonger members of the family needs to hide from the common living area, just to avoid other relatives? where is the whole family festive mood when relatives keep pressing issues and questions which we are uncomfortable about in public? i don’t buy that ‘they care about you’ argument anymore. i can’t stand the pressure and i can’t stand the stress it creates before and during raya. raya is supposed to be a happy occasions, where people talk about happy things.

so what if i am not married yet? it is my business and i am well aware about the situation i am in. but you see, it seems as if people don’t see that. people don’t see that i am an educated woman with a career and able to survive in the world on my own just fine. whatever happens in my live where relationships are concerned should be secondary to the fact that i am doing fine by myself. i don’t need anyone else to support me. i don’t ask money from anyone else and i can pretty much buy for myself whatever i want.

i told you, the stress of raya anticipation is killing my whole festive spirit. it gets worse and worse every year because i’m older every year and i really don’t need any more expectations on my already very full plate.

so i’m really sorry, but i am not looking foward to raya. i have no raya spirit in me. i’d pray for forgiveness and blessings for a new start and all. spiritually, i have appreciation for my existance. but everything else in reality bites.


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