Eid at a different level
Syeda Sabita Amin
First of all Eid Mubarak everybody! How was your Eid? I spent my Eid like every other year… First the morning prayers at the mosque, a visit to the Banani graveyard, breakfast with my family and finally visiting all other relatives. It's one of the most joyous festivals for Muslims all around the world and everybody looks forward to it with extreme excitement.
However, lately it seems like it's something completely different. Rather than celebrating the end of Ramadan it's more like who has the best or more apparels or the most delicious kinds of foods, or who can treat themselves and others to posh ice cream parlors and restaurants, who got what from the fanciest malls and shopping places, etc. I'm not saying that it's all wrong to celebrate in that manner or that people don't give charity to the less fortunate or such, but I just can't help but wonder about people who are less fortunate.
How do people right below the poverty line celebrate Eid? How is it spent for a family living on the streets? Or a person who is disabled either physically or mentally? That's what I kept thinking all day till I finally went and spoke to them.
So after lunch I got out and firstly talked to Rahim and his family. Rahim (45) and his wife Ameena (36) are both blind. They have two children - Akash (8) and Brishti (3). A tragic accident a month or two back in their village left them blind and forced them to move to Dhaka city where they thought they could live on alms since both the guardians were now disabled. Most of the families' responsibilities practically rested on the shoulders of the small child of only eight years old. Today being Eid, it isn't anything special other than a bit more food than rest of the days and few extra changes in their pockets. Lunch was plain rice with daal and dinner doesn't look like it will be any less different.
I spoke to more homeless people the entire afternoon. The responses were pretty much the same as Rahim's family, if not a bit better if they weren't disabled or actually had roof over their heads. Nobody is expected to give up everything and live exactly like the way I mentioned, it's just the thought that matters. Because it's that very thought that brings humbleness into our nature and makes us better individuals.
Dhaka- haunted by ghosts!!
Eid means following the order of God, Eid means happiness, Eid means sharing that happiness with our friends, families and relatives, Eid means shopping till we drop, Eid means lots of sweets, Eid means Salamies, Eid means new dresses for all and Eid means vacation! Most of the people living in Dhaka prefer to celebrate Eid outside the city with their relatives. Whenever any Eid approaches near all the Railway stations, bus stations and Shadar Ghat gets over crowded with passengers. Long queues for tickets can be seen. The passengers have to endure great deal of frustration but they do not seem to lose hope for a ticket- the passport to all the happiness of Eid. It seems like they have to get out of Dhaka at any cost! Dhaka city becomes an abandoned city, a city with very few people in it. So, Dhaka looks like a city haunted by ghosts. The interviews of traffic policemen are the greatest examples of all, according to them they get bored doing their duties as there remains very few vehicles in the most busy and congested city in the country. But those who stay here can get a good deal of space for them. Some may wish to have Dhaka that way always!!
But those who leave Dhaka gives us the chance to understand that Bangladesh is the only country in the world which has citizens who are so connected with their roots despite living in the city. That's why they run back there whenever the opportunity comes. And among all the opportunities Eid vacations are the best ones!
A hangover from Eid
By the title I don't mean hangover from the numerous 'parties' over the infinitely thought out occasions of Eid. I'm talking about the actual holiday when we get to sleep till its well after noon and not worry our good night's sleep over the assignments and term papers and whatnot. The shopping malls are turned into battlefields and the people are more like pirates than patriots. The girls are busy taking the whole malls back home, and most of the guys are busy doing nothing because we usually finish whatever we have to do within forty minutes.
Hanging around with friends till late at night starts getting to your head and even the parents don't mind that much because of the 'holiday spirit'. You wander from place to place or shop to shop with your whole bunch, not caring a peanut's worth about what happens to the world as long as you get the Eid the next day.
The holidays are the worst intoxications you could ever get yourself into. When you have it, you don't like it as much as you would like to and when you don't get it, you feel like strangling your university authorities, or whatever authorities you're under. Just when you start settling down with the cosy life of doing nothing, all the exams and assignment deadlines start pounding on your door. When you wake up lazily the next morning, you look blankly at the clock because it's well past your class time and you're even too late for the next class. Being unable to think of anything to do about it, you just pull the blanket over your head once again and fall back to sleep.
(R) thedailystar.net 2006