Today is ID. Muslims have already said their prayers in mosques, on roads, in the maidans. Goats have been slaghtered and there will be fresh meat in the biryanis. Extra meat will also be sent to houses of friends to cook and consime. My friend Jameel, hwo was a tremendously useful Man Friday at one of my previous places of emplyment, used to present me a portion of the choicest pieces of the meat every Id. It used to land on my desk at the office and lie there the whole day.
I never worked out how to politely turn down his present. If I told him I did not want it, I would hurt his feelings. But I did not know what to do with it. Fish, I can cook, steamed, poaches, fried, and in meat, brain, I love a bheja for breakfastm with a little tomato, some kothmir, but not meat as such. So, annually, I had to search for somebody to who I could re-present the meat.
The Bohri Id falls a day previous to the general Id. On this day, the gift is more practical, though still too lavish. From the kitchens of the Barra Mullah Saheb, at Saifee Mahal, through the offices of Mr. Iktehdar Hussein, comes a dekchi of chicken biryani, plus a large leg of lamb, chicken curry, rotis, those original Bombay samoosas, stuffed with kheema and not potatoes, a rich sweet made if dudhi and mawa.
As always, it came yesterday also, several different dekchis of it. Which is also an embarrassment, there is so much that I do not know what to do with it. In fact, as I am writing this, I am eating the samoosas, dipping them in the tea. That also is an ancient Bombay tradition, to eat the oily samoosas dipped in tea. Normally, it is done with the evening tea. My friend Ramesh Sattawalla used to do it for years and years, going straight from work (whyat work he was in Air-India) to the Olympia in Colaba Causeway, before beginning his nightly round of bars.
To returns to Id, Mumbai, unfortunately, has no grand mosque. The Minara Masjid on Mohamedali road is dwarfed and disfigured by the buildings around it, and the Bandra mosque is not quite noticeable. Of course, Haji Ali is the prettiest mosque in the country and a city landmark, a precious stone set in the silver sea. Another interesting mosque is the one at Dhobi Talao, right in the middle of first Marine Street, and serving as a traffic island. On a Friday afternoon, you will find scores of taxis parked in the street and taxidrivers offering namaz. It is know as the taxi-drivers mosque, as the christian crucifix at Opera House is know as the taxi-drivers's cross.
There is much to Id and Muslims, besides Mr. Murli Deora going about Mohamedali Road seeking Muslim votes.