The rooftop, chath, is the hub of Chand Raat (Night of the Moon). The point being to go up, and gaze at the sky – hoping to catch a glimpse of that peculiarly slight new moon. A sight which will mark the end of Ramadan. In my short moon-gazing life, I think I have only seen this miracle once or twice. Usually, some bearded fellow in a skyscraper in Karachi “saw” it for all of us and the televisions and radio stations blared out the news: EID TOMORROW!!! (That’s about the right emphasis.)
Going to the rooftops, then, was largely a quixotic enterprise if one’s objective was to sight the new moon. But as the poet says, there are moons other than the one above. Such as the ones on the neighbor’s roof, and since she brought all of her friends to “find” the moon, you better have your posse with you too. What’s this? A machine that replicates joyous sounds and lyrical poetry? Might as well turn this on. Hey you, string some lights, grab a few candles, let’s everyone look adorable! On the rooftops, there is a different city.
Once there is a moon sighting, we urgently need new bangles, new henna, new everything. Cram into the bazaar, overwhelm the streets. Everyone except for me.
My mother would always have a list of dupataas that I needed to go pick up from the colorists and dresses I needed to pick up from the tailor.
Updated with pic goodness of bearded moon-spotters: