The Grinch and the spirit of Eid
By Le Chupacabra
Waking up that early in the morning is bad enough... but waking up to take a freezing cold shower? Insanity is the word.
I mean, sure, you wait for an entire month (give or take a day) for that very occasion. Expensive clothes are purchased, tantalising dishes are made and stocked away in the fridge and wallets/purses are emptied for the influx of more green stuff. Yeah, that's right. It's none other than Eid-ul-Fitr.
Not to insult the religion or anyone, sometimes one thinks that as time goes on even a simple, enjoyable occasion like this can get bogged down with too many... um... attachments. That begs the question: are there too many strings attached in order to make Eid-ul-Fitr a truly joyous celebration?
Firstly, there's the unnecessary task of visiting various tailors and seamstresses all for the purpose of having them craft seven to eight pieces of overtly extravagant apparel that one will don only for a day or two. Okay, maybe they will garb themselves in those very vestments once all memory on the part of others has faded, but by that time, they'll have amassed yet another wardrobe of items. Sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?
Of course, there are also the pre-Eid preparations that go on for three to four nights prior to the occasion. Sweet delectables of innumerable colours and shapes are everywhere in the kitchen and recall descriptions from 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. Yet sadly, the bulk of these end up un-devoured and are relegated to becoming tea-time snacks long after Eid has passed.
Mountains of pulao, biriyani and ritualistic accompaniments such as roasts, thick daal and other items are cooked to perfection and gloriously laid out in the finest platters available. Hey, I wouldn't dream of complaining about this! But thinking from the perspective of the mothers (and domestic staff) who toil away till 2AM at night, I don't think it's a very enjoyable thing. It certainly looks great, smells great and it sure as hell tastes fantastic, but after you've spent so long being bombarded with the same aroma for hours, the palatability is certainly lower for them. Plus, the fact is our moms set aside their daily activities to channel their energies in order to work like maniacs so that others can eat happily the next day. Routine? Yes, but it's also unnecessarily tiring methinks. All that work for one single day?
Then there's the whole task of Eidis. Normally I don't mind what I get, but I've seen the little ones look utterly depressed when a single, crisp 500Tk note is lovingly given to them. Yeah, at one time, the kids were bothered about how many notes they got regardless of monetary value, but with these new, cheeky little monkeys, it seems they've figured out the art of value. It's funny albeit annoying to see an 8-year old moping in a corner on glorious Eid day just because his Eidi haul was unsatisfactory. What happened to just enjoying Eid for the heck of it?
Going back to the first sentence, there are my personal qualms as well: the hours just before the Imam breaks the ice by announcing Eid. Waking up early in the morning is not my forte, and when there's a free, icy cold shower offer attached to the deal, it's doubly annoying. Personally, I hate the payjama-panjabi dress combination: it's just bloody annoying. Having to wrestle myself into a pair while being half-asleep is none too enjoyable an experience. Since the mosque we go to commences the prayers before the others, we need to get there fast and early. I still wonder if I've said the niyaat right for the past few years since I was usually drowsing off most of the time.
Having said all that, I once again thought of the question I asked: are there too many strings attached in order to make Eid-ul-Fitr a truly joyous celebration?
Maybe so. However, once you get home from the mosque and come home to spend the rest of the day eating, drinking, laughing and generally having a truly enjoyable time with your friends and family, you realise all those niggles and annoyances are just insubstantial. So the true answer to that question is a resounding and heartfelt 'NO!' because in the end, Eid's all about the love, innit?
So for all of you people out there… Eid grumblers included…
Extra kash-for an extra Eid
Now as Eid is coming soon, you all have probably got only one thing in mind: Eidi! Or 'salaami', whatever you call it. These small donations from everyone and anyone, eventually add up to a huge bonus for us. Of course, technically some of us are not kids anymore, but who cares? Do you?
To help you collect some extra cash, I have come up with some Eidi Collection tips.
1. MAKE A HIT LIST
First identify the major sources of donations; obviously they'd be all the rich relatives you have. Even if the relative happens to be your dad's cousin's uncles' son's aunty…….or something…..be cool, you can still get the money. Then make a list of the potential target in terms of their richness, and another list in terms of their generosity, since you are bound to have some scrooges in every family; no point asking them for cash. After you have the list ready, here are some tips to get the cash flowing.
Julius Caesar said, “There is no man more dangerous than a man with a slippery tongue”…and of course he is right. And that's the exact weapon you use to gain the cash. Let loose your honeyed tongue and weasel head, hang out at the relative's house for five weeks leading to Eid, tell him/her how nice s/he is. Accompany them on their Zakaat shopping or something. Listen to everything they say, do everything they want you do. Believe me, it pays off later on. But be careful about what you say. This is because all relatives might think that your parents taught you what to say. Remember the term “Shikhai dise, so proceed with caution.
You can use similar techniques with less well-off relatives, but don't try it too much; you are simply wasting your energy. All they are going to give you is perhaps a Tk 50 at best. If you're lucky you get Tk 100. The way to get around it is to target all of your relatives and known people. Act nicely with them all the time leading up to Eid.
3. ACTUAL TESTING PERIOD
Now comes the actual Eid Day. Eidi giving is triggered only when you salam them; that is touch their feet and pretend to show them 'respect'. When you do that, make it long. In fact, make it really long. Say 'salaam' many times. That way they notice you. Then hang around with them for a few minutes afterwards. Bring yourself to your chosen victim's view at least once a minute. Eventually he will realize what he is forgetting do. When you get the Eidi, beat it and find another victim.
4. SHOW BY EXAMPLE
A very good tip is to use the tactic of 'exemplifying'. This basically means showing your target that you are getting good Eidi from someone else. Believe me, adults are suckers for this type of thing. They can't stand someone else doing something when they themselves are not doing it, especially when it comes to giving gifts. Why else do you think newly weds are so goddamn rich? Ok, so maybe this was a very stupid argument.
The actual procedure is to find an adult who is well…not yet an adult, at least mentally and whom you are really close with or something. For example, your 25-year-old cousin, who happens to work in a bank or something and gives you relationship advice. Ok, now make him give you about 500 Tk every time in front of a rich relative. Of course, you circulate the same 500 Tk over and over again, but make sure that the target notices it and notices the fake smug look on your cousin's face. They are bound to become jealous and give you bigger aid!
Many people say that groveling is a good idea. You can mourn to your relative how little money your parents give you, and how much you really want a book, and that might get you the money. But don't overdo it; you do not want to make a complete moron of yourself in front of your target. That way your respectability, and hence your 'deservability' goes down.
Last tip: stay cool. These tips are tried and tested by experts. They are guaranteed to work.