A Visit to the Cattle Market
A week before Eid, I, along with a couple of friends of mine skipped the last few classes after the tiffin break and somehow managed the school gatekeeper to let us out before recess. Although at first he was very adamant about his duty, after much persuading, his iron heart gave away to the adventurous spirit of our youth.
Gabtoli being near our school, we decided to go visit the animal market there. I have not been to a haat (animal market) before and I was very excited. Khalid the eldest boy in our group took charge and he pretended to seriously look for an animal to buy. However, the school uniform and bag gave away his pretense. We found one camel sitting quietly at a corner chewing something with its eyes closed. The animal looked quite at ease in the hot temperature. We huddled beside the camel and took several pictures with our cell-phone camera. Khalid, trying to show off his bravery, tried to sit on its back but the camel appeared not to like his proximity and made a low grunting noise. That was sufficient warning for Khalid to keep his distance. We spent the rest of the morning roaming around the haat and looking at the different animals there. It was fun.
As much as Eid is about fun and of course a lot of food, sometimes it can become quite a painful experience. Last year, I had spent the Eid at my Home-village in Sylhet and that too after many years. So I had to visit quite a few relatives, and I had to go from one house to the other visiting as many relatives as I could because I was short of time since I had gone there for only a few days. The worst part being that, given it was Eid and Qurbani Eid at that, everyone wanted me to taste their animal's meat. One day I had to eat at least two different types of dishes from each house. I ended up eating too much of meat; even worse, I ate too much spicy food. By the time I was home, I was sick in the stomach, it was a very uncomfortable situation. The next day I was completely bed ridden with food-poisoning given the variety of foods I had to consume. I think quite a lot of people face this situation during Qurbani Eid and cannot do much about it since it is a matter of social obligation. It just makes one wonder, as social animals, how much of impracticality or lack of common sense there is to this ritual.
Across our street, lives a local politician who is not a person of very good repute. However, he has a lot of money and he always tries to show-off his wealth. Festivals like Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha give him this chance. Every year he buys the biggest and the maximum number of cattle for Qurbani. And he makes it a point to keep his animals tied up on the street in front of his house rather than within the walls of his huge compound. Last year, the night before the Eid, the electric pole to which his huge Indian cows were tied accidentally fell right on the heads of the animals causing instant hemorrhage and death to all four of his cattle. Although it was a sad incident, many of his neighbors including us, thought that the incident served him right as we were always skeptical about the religious gain he tried to make by using his unlawfully earned money.