On the second day of Hari Raya, my family and I went to 15 houses of colleagues, relatives and friends. We started at about 8.30 in the morning and did not come back until about 9.30 in the evening. It was continuous visiting and we only stopped for prayers at my parents' and my mother-in-law's house. That number I was told, is average and I know of many other families which did a lot more visits than that.
Out of that 15 houses, guess at how many housese were we offered to partake in the usual Raya feast? If you answered 15, you are close. It was 14 and it was only the last one which didn't and simply because it was late. I am not going to write about how excessive, wasteful or whatever it is that we should not be doing. I am not an expert in that area and my partner in my other blogsite has written another beautiful piece on this on our joint effort at bruneiummah. But of course this is as good a time to remind ourselves that moderation is always good. I have learned to pace myself, nibbling a little bit here, a little bit there, though when I totalled everything up, I think all the total amount still exceeded my daily calorie requirement. Sigh..... Lose 2 kilos fasting 30 days, and gained 3 kilos during 2 days of Hari Raya.
What gets me is that at some of the visits that we make are visits that we should make more often. Some of these visits are to our elderly relatives and every year I go there, I noticed how frail some of our elderly relatives have become. I noticed the amount of white hair on some of my elderly relatives which was probably there last year but wasn't as visible as now. Every year, people changed. Last year, I wasn't using a cane. Last year I wasn't worried about my glucose level. Last year I wasn't worried about this that or the other. Life now becomes very important. Promotion and other worldly materials at this point of my life become very immaterial and you know you have reach a certain point in your life to realise just how mortal you really are and how much that matters to your family.
In some of the houses, we noticed the absence of a loved one. Some have moved on to a better peaceful world. Some have just gone to the land of further studies. Some have started a new family. Whatever it is, changes occur. When I visit my elderly relatives, sometimes I wonder whether I will be seeing them again next year - not so much that they would have moved on, it could equally be me that would have moved on. I met a colleague who had everything but he is fighting an illness which completely consumed his life. I heard of another senior colleague who is unable to see now again due to another illness. These are people I used to sit down and discuss about the worldly matters. The phrase 'kalau umur panjang, badan sehat' become very significant suddenly. In our busy life, I wish we could have spent more time visiting each other and not just wait until Hari Raya to do so. If we only wait until the next Hari Raya, we might no longer be seeing some of these people. When you visit an elderly relative or colleague, sit down and have a chat with them, and do ask for their forgiveness. You may not have the next Hari Raya.