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    Volume 9 Issue 8 | February 19, 2010|

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Make hay every day


Once upon a time life was simple. We had a Sunday, a Monday, a Tuesday... I could at best go up to Saturday. Throughout the year we also had a few cheery sprinklings of religious and cultural festivals, for each showering of which we had to wait, anticipate, and prepare before the relish was served on a platter laced with affection, traditions, and dignity.

The year had many other days when nothing was celebrated. There was no need to. Those were the days, yes! Those were the days when people looked forward to the next festivity.

On one such off-day almost quietly the printing press was born and along with it the associated businesses, for which the limit was three hundred and sixty-five days. This fell rather short of their devouring psyche and their expectations, the latter mounted because of a parallel rise in world gullibility. And so they held a grand convention of printers, paper manufacturers, the postal department, gum makers, and even shoe manufacturers (because the postman walks to deliver). It concluded with one slogan: Make hay every day. The projected financial benefits were so rosy that the successful gathering ended as a P&D shindig.

They came up with 'days' for every day of the year, with the sole intention of making money by capitalising on the sentiment of the populace. Nothing wrong with that, as that is the principle of every business person and house.

Interesting thought though, have you ever noticed that there never is a 'night' as such; you know Uncle Night, Fuppee Evening, or a Dadi Amma Afternoon? It is always a 'day'. Thus, we have now come to witness Father's Day, Mother's Day, Teacher's Day, Valentine's Day... And their research is so to the point that they have never ever even dared to think of proposing that people should celebrate a Wives Day; or for that matter a Husband's. The idea at its very nascent stage was considered too risky a business proposal and was nipped in the bud.

To be eligible for a Father's Day wish one has first got to be a father, and a mother for that reason for Mother's Day, and a teacher, etc, etc. But for Valentine's Day, the baat is kuch alaag.

Here you see couples wishing guys the best on Valentine's Day, and guys wishing guys(no they are not what you might think they are), and people going crazy just to wish one another. They do not go as far as saying, 'will you be my Valentine?' but the idea is to have fun because the card-makers have decided so. So what? It was never a part of our centuries old culture. So what? Traditionally the concept of Valentine with pagan roots conflicts with Islamic beliefs. As long as there are cards and flowers on sale, and everyone is out on the street, and the weather this time of the year is excellent, it's our own Bangladeshi form of Valentine's Day. It does not have to do anything with the original VD. In fact, it does not. Our guys and gals are just having another day out. None of them even care who the halua was Valentine. Some of them only know that St. Valentine had something to do with 'love', and that is good enough for the rest of them.

Different 'days' have unique and distinctive meanings for different persons, whether they are celebrated or not. Now on actual Father's Day, fathers who are wished by their children take it for granted and don't think much about it. In all probability the son got the gift with the dad's money. Some of those who are not greeted with a 'Best Dad in the World' mug or T-shirt consider their children wise and historically correct. But there are some who do not believe in the day and know their children are right, wish from a remote corner of their heart that at least their children would come and give them a hug, if not a mug.

Mothers will perhaps be more straightforward and say, 'Omuk's daughter gave her mom this and that on the day, but you did not even remember it'. The daughter, a future Mother's Day candidate, will say, 'But Mom, to me every day is your day', and follow it up with a big and long hug. That indeed is the best gift. It is made in heaven.

Again to the poorest of the poor, every day is another digit to overcome in their lifelong struggle to serve. What do these days hold for them? To many of them, fathers do not exist. The mother is almost always there, and the biggest Mother's Day card in the world could not do justice to her toil, her loyalty to her children, and her devotion to her duties in a situation when she does not even know from where the next meal will come for her children. She usually has several. For them there is only day, and that is bhaat dey!



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