The pains people take to celebrate Eid are amazing. More overwhelming is the fact that this trend has been on an upward spiral from year to year.
Take, the maddening pace of shopping undeterred by impervious traffic and ruthless price mark-ups. Rain or sunshine with humidity, you have negotiated pedestrian and vehicular tailbacks to land at a shopping mall as something of a physical or mental wreck. The shops are brimming with buyers. No queues, you have to just muscle in acrobatically and outshout others to get any attention from an equally devasted salesman.
Cut loose prices and pushing of sub-standard, even spurious goods taking advantage of high demands present another set of ordeals. The surge of customers having deep to shallower pockets makes haggling difficult. So it is not a bargain, rather a dictated price at which you get to buy your choice. Either take it or lose it seem to be the market barons' diktat.
Two other aspects to manscape in the capital at these times are as problematic as they are instructive. You see the number of beggars rising sharply swarming the streets, particularly the traffic intersections rapping at car door glasses. They have a long line of choices to skip a vehicle so as not to be pestering and yet making the most of the stranded traffic. Nothing to be amused of, really, when you try to mentally cope with the probability that professional beggar keepers may have had destitute people conditioned for begging through an emaciation process to solicit pity and consequently, alms. This is a frozen version of human trafficking, perverse and abominable , a searing blot on human conscience.
It is at this time also that the city experiences a new spurt in migration from villages. In the first category fall those who come for alms. And the second, though equally poverty- driven has to do with complete novices suddenly taking to rickshaw –pulling to live off the spate in public mobility during Ramadan leading to the biggest Muslim festival. Untrained and without any traffic sense, they create traffic tangles being also prone to accidents.
The people's capacity to negotiate pains is nowhere more pronounced than the head-long plunge they take to buy tickets for rail ,road and river journeys. Quietly they endured the hardship of queuing overnight for home-bound journey to celebrate Eid with their kith and kin. This is an urban-rural emotional connection and renewal of ties of enduring social value.
One marvels at the people's capacity to take such pains. Perhaps from collective sharing of woes , agonies and pains people garner the strength to endure them. After all, it is all for Eid.
The writer is Associate Editor, The Daily Star.