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Eid differences

The joy we get from watching clouds scud across the autumn sky, or walking by the sea such joy can only be felt, not bought, not sold. The joy of Eid used to be something like that.'

That was Eid for a 70's teen. Coming to think of it, there was a time when even Gen X used to enjoy Eid. However, it seems that with age, all the fun of Eid just rolled over and died. Says Risana from Sunbeams, 'When we were young, the idea of Eid being something special was ingrained in our system. So, no matter what, we had a preconceived notion that Eid was something great and so, Eid was great. Eid meant being patted and cuddled and yummy food and taking pictures. Who wouldn't like that?'

It's true. Eid meant stuffing our faces with food, and spending quality time together. Back in those days, even visiting relatives was fun (more visiting meant more food and fattened wallets). Now we're all grown up. When we were six or seven we didn't have to worry about O' Levels and SATs and whatnot, but now studying is a constant sledgehammer to our heads.

Even during Eid holidays we don't get a break. We might get a few days off from our otherwise grinding schedule, but can we relax? Oh, no! The moment we do decide it's safe to breathe we have parents or teachers harping about exams being so-and-so months away and the Eid holidays are no time to chill. Says Shehzeen, 'I think it's got more to do with the pressure we're always in. We get around seven days of holiday and that too when the exams are near. One can't really enjoy Eid when exams are knocking on the door.' Ah, well, I can't argue with that.

Then there's the fact that we don't do anything to make Eid our own. Says one disgruntled youth, 'Frankly speaking, we're not original. So when it comes to our own festivities we're at a loss.' It's true we have more fun on New Year's Eve than on Eid, and no amount of 'Eid specials' on television can change that. We can blame the fact that so much of the West is being integrated into our culture we're losing touch with our own. But perhaps that too is an inevitable change.

I asked my English teacher (who comes from India) how Eid is different where she lives. She said Eid is a family thing there. Ah, spending time with the family that doesn't happen a lot anymore. Forget Eid, nowadays we don't even take our meals together. If that's the case for the rest of the year then why should Eid be any different?

Some say that we kids have completely lost touch with the joy of Eid. Says one mother, 'In our time we used to genuinely enjoy Eid. There was nothing out there that would get us down, or even distract us no televisions or computers or satellite channels. We didn't go to parties and concerts and Eid was the only day of the year we truly looked forward to, and we threw ourselves heart and soul into the celebrations. And when friends and neighbors got together for roof-top moon-sighting vigils, it made Eid all that much better. Nowadays kids don't seem to want that anymore forget moon-watching, they'd rather stare at the television.'

And visiting relatives is not something some of us look forward to. 'I'd rather spend time with my friends,' says a teen. 'This whole visiting-your-relatives affair has become more of an obligation.' Sure, some of us enjoy it. But, like Anik says, 'Some of us would want to spend Eid with our significant others. Or even our friends, if our parents would let us.' Even adults have to agree that security is a major reason they won't let their kids out of their sight on Eid day. So, no rickshaw rides around the neighborhood for us lads and lassies.

If there's one thing that hasn't changed about Eid it's getting eidi, but all similarity ends here. Before, the joy of eidi was in wheedling crisp fifty taka notes from your relatives. Now, it's more about how much dough you've made. One parent was lamenting how children nowadays have lost their innocence. 'When we were kids we wouldn't even dream of showing off our clothes or how much eidi we got, it just wasn't done. We had enough sensibility to know that putting someone down on Eid day would crush their spirits, and so we didn't show off. I don't see kids nowadays showing that kind of respect.' But this is our generation, and, says Farhan, 'money talks. It's just something we've grown up with. And eidi is money, no?'

The rich-poor gap is getting so huge that rich people can't afford to spend their meager amounts of petty cash on poor people. It's much easier to spend it on your spoiled nephew. If I remember correctly, Eid is there for us to express our gratitude to the Almighty for everything that we have. That is why, during Ramadan, we abstain from food and drink so that we may have some idea of the suffering of those who starve not out of choice, but necessity. Ramadan is supposed to be about appreciating our privileges and recognizing the have-notsnot about planning 16-item iftar menus sitting in an air-conditioned room. And Eid is intended for us to prove that we have learnt something from this month of abstinence. We're supposed to give back to the deprived ones by being charitable, but that's not what we're doing. From zakat from the heart to Eidi from the black money stashes, we've reduced 'charity' to an impersonal transaction of cold, hard cash. Says Ibtisam, 'It has become just another day in our social calendar, rather than THE day. Its meaning is lost on us.'

Think about it. Charity, socializing, spending time with the family we don't do these things anymore. We're so wrapped up in ourselves that we don't have time to even think about this stuff anymore. No wonder my mother felt sorry for me when she asked me what I like most about Eid and I replied with a blank look and silence.

But hey, maybe this time around, we will make Eid worth remembering and not drown in self-pity. So, Eid Mubarak, everyone!

By Shehtaz Huq

Till next time

“I don't want to be innocent; you know I don't want to let them hypnotize me”

The leg hurt. It sent lances of pain shooting up from the knee upwards. He woke to the sound of the Azan and the sound of the latest Hindi beat blaring out of speakers. Groggy at first he just stared at the disheveled room and took in his bearings. Later, as his fledgling mind finally regained control he glanced at the numerous bags and the new clothes. Eid… Unable to really wake himself up he hit the bed again. He needed the sleep. Yesterday night's revelry still had a grip on him; the alcohol for one thing. He needed to sleep the effects off. He hadn't wanted to join in really, but then again it was the night before Eid, a night to celebrate. He knew his friends wouldn't be up now and the only people to come over would be aunts and uncles with their critical opinions of him and his life. He really didn't need that. Maybe later in the afternoon he would go out. There was more of the same revelry awaiting and he needed to be fresh for it.

The cell phone almost blasted it self off the table with the force of its ringing. The girl groped for and cut the sound. Alarm. The earlier she got up the earlier she could get out of the house. It was the simple equation she followed. Rarely would her parents allow her to go anywhere she chose but it was Eid. She wanted to make full use of the privilege, in short supply as they were. She had the whole day planned out. Her friends would get together and come over to her place. Once everyone had arrived they would leave pronto, she didn't want to dawdle, and the mesh of relatives that would be coming over meant that if she didn't leave early meant she didn't leave at all. Once out of the little group would break in couples as their boyfriends picked them up. And afterwards….well she didn't really care about afterwards. Love had a way of making everything seem insignificant. All she wanted was to spend one unfettered day with her boyfriend. One day that didn't have the demands of coaching centers and over protective parents who cared naught for the feelings of their teenage daughter. Today was a special day and she couldn't wait for it to start and she didn't want it to end…

The room was stuffy and even though it was the biggest in the flat the great multitudes of furniture and the huge bed made the space a sore constraint. She was standing in front of the dresser trying on a new sari. She wanted to get all the contours perfect to show of the obvious extravagance of the piece of apparel. Impression, a good, no great impression is what she wanted. She had invited all known relatives within hailing distance over to impress them. She wanted this Eid to be a success, one that made certain that her position in the extended family was held in even higher regard than it already was. She had the servants cleaning the whole house since yesterday morn and late into the night. Everything needed to be perfect and she had told the kids that she wanted them to be ready. At this point a certain disappointment crept over her. She knew the kids couldn't care less about the family. The impression she wanted to make would undoubtedly be marred. She just hoped none of the other ladies noticed…

He made his way home slowly, although he couldn't really call it home. The Eid Namaaz hadn't lasted as long as he hoped and he didn't really want to go home. His family waited he knew but he didn't want to face them. It wasn't the Salaami nor was the over zealous greetings. He just didn't feel like living up to the façade of being a benevolent, loving father and husband. He loved them but in a distant way. There were times when he wished that he could escape… The responsibility, the way he always had to be there for all of them. There was hardly anybody to talk to nowadays, the old friends all had their own families to deal with. He hated the way he was starting to fall into isolation. This Eid, he just hoped he could live through it. There would be people, inquisitive people, and a lot of them. He didn't want to answer their relentless questioning about his life…because there really wasn't any to talk about.

The little boy dragged the bucket load of water in from one of the bathrooms. The whole house needed to be cleaned. He knew that before the morning was out there would be guests over. Relatives, friends, people who never seemed to find the time throughout the year suddenly managed a few hours of family time. And that meant work for him. The house couldn't be in any other state than perfect. The mistress wanted to impress. He was glad though, at least he wasn't in charge of the cooking. All he wanted was to get the cleaning over with and maybe get a few hours of shuteye. He had spent half the night awake scrubbing and dusting the furniture until they sparkled. Then in the morning the harsh sound of his mistress yelling for him to get on with it and no sleep in between it seemed to him. Just for the sake of it he had donned a new clean shirt and a pair of shorts. They had gotten it for him from the street vendors and although he had nothing in comparison with the rest he was pleased with the gesture. Maybe the shirt would last him till the other Eid…

By Tareq Adnan

Sharing the Eid spirit with families

What with all the lounges, FCs, corners and huts springing up like crazy, youngsters are running along going from one place to another. And how those 'all-you can-eat' offers have seemed to accelerated their running! I would not say that I am an exception to this whatsoever, still I would imply that in midst of all these running and get-togethers with friends, we tend to forget to spend time with some of the important people in our lives, i.e. our family. So this Eid let us put aside our friends (at least for a few days) and give priority to our family.

There maybe a day or two left for Ramadan. So you still have time to throw a grand Iftar party at home only for your family. Call in some of your relatives and share the spirit of Ramadan with them. Trust me; it's going to be an experience worth having! You can converse with the uncle whom you thought to be boring all throughout your life and find out that he is not that tedious after all as he might have the same interest as you do or he might even relate childhood anecdotes which you can familiarize with. And if you've got cousins, then what is the best time to bond with them other than this? I'm sure that you'll find at least one like-minded person with whom you might turn out to be friends for life.

On eid day, don't forget to invite your relatives at home and also try to accept their invitations. You might leave out some time from your crammed schedule (dedicated to friends) to go and visit your kin. First what is important is that you visit an elderly person in your family like your grandparents or aged uncles and aunts. Their blessings can turn out to be very useful for your future and the happiness that you'll provide them when they see your face would have no bounds. And if all this doesn't interest you much, then you can always look forward to the salaamis that you'll get when you touch their feet!

Bored with going to houses only? Take a trip to Fantasy Kingdom or Nandan Park. These places, although crowded during Eid, provide the best venues for a family outing. You can have picnics and also enjoy the various theme rides. You might even discover your mother's daredevil acts when she gets up on the roller coaster or your father's ridiculous antics in bumper cars! For this tour, it is advised that you to take a camera to capture these happy moments.

As you come back from your small excursion, you could even enter a restaurant for dinner. You might not be of the best appearance (being tired from all those rides!), but still it would be worthwhile not to end the day so quickly.

Therefore dedicate this Eid for your family and see how you relish them. You must remember that friends will come and go in your life but you've only one family who'll always stick by you no matter what; try to respect them and give them your valuable time which they deserve.

By Faria Sanjana


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