If you've ever bought a cow for Eid-ul Azha or gone along with other people to the haat, you will know exactly how unpleasant the whole ordeal is. You stand a 50% chance of being skewered by a non-co(w)mpliant cow, a 150% chance of being covered in mud and grime and cow dung and a 100% chance of being ripped off, even though you think you got the bargain deal of a lifetime. That was just the easy part (aside from the math, percentages are terrible things). Next, you have to walk the cow home because putting it on a van is just too uncultured and not enough fun, so you end up half dragging and half shoving a 200 kg meat bag across half of Dhaka city because your dad said it's so much better to buy cows from Savar. On the way back, you'll be forced to answer how much your cow cost over and over again, all because they've been doing it forever and they can't find a way to stop.
But you can. You can stop all of it.
Through a digital revolution that gained momentum last year and cemented itself as a thing that should exist and does this year, you can buy a cow off an online portal. How does it work? Well, you go to any of the sites that advertise about selling cows online, browse through, pick a car and then eat it. Wait, no that should be cow, but meh. It's exactly the same procedure: seller lists details of the cow, such as how many teeth, its citizenship and country of origin, how fat it is, etc. That last bit should be illegal because dating sites don't list the weights of the cows that populate them, do they? Anyway. You pick a cow, call up the seller, bargain over the phone, and if you want to see what you'll be eating in a couple of weeks before buying, you're all welcome. If you'd rather keep a digital barrier between yourself and your eventual beef, that can be arranged too. To save you the hassle of actually walking your beef home, the sites will usually offer you a deal where they will deliver the cow to you, for a little bit of a service charge.
Of course, buying and sacrificing a cow on Eid is all about being humble and showing respect to the animal that you are sacrificing. It's not all about scrolling down the ordered list of cows and picking the most expensive one, so take your time. These sites save you a lot of time and hassle anyway, but there's no need to treat it the same as shopping for a handbag. Some say that walking home the cow gives you a sense of perspective, of how tough it is for animals, and that it instils in you a sense of respect for a sacrificial animal. Keep in mind this is a living animal that you are buying off the internet.
So feel free to browse through the e-haats that are popping up everywhere if you have no other choice, and may you have a great Eid.
Top 5 sites for buying cows online
Like always Bikroy.com, one of the most popular online platforms, is back this eid season with tons of cattle. Last year this site had the largest listing of cows so you keep your eyes open; even you might find your perfect one here. Since it is classifieds site, so be wary of what you purchase because the site is not liable for any bad deals.
Search "Qubarni cow" and you'll get a whole bunch of them at ekhanei.com. Shylendra Nathan, CEO of Ekhanei.com assured us that they have a strict vetting process so that only the authentic seller gets to display their product here. 'We strictly maintain customer compliance and verify the advertisements before posting them on the website. This is how we are different from others' he said.
This site comes with a dedicated haat special. The listings here have all the information one might look for before buying their sacrificial animals; after all most of the cows & cattle uploaded here are from some dedicated farms. Akhoni also offers you free home deliveries but we suggest you be sure to tip the people who bring you your cow. After all IT'S EID.
Bengal Meat is the newest player in the online game this season. They not only sell you the cattle but also provide the slaughtering and butchering services. Md. Masumul Haque, AGM of Bengal Meat, informed Bytes that the customers will get their packaged meat and other parts delivered to the door-step on the third-day of Eid. And for these a customer has to pay Tk. 17,000 service charge.
5. Clickbd.com & Kaymu.com
These two are great sites too. Just keep in mind that the sites have little to do if anything goes wrong. So make sure when you haggle with the vendor, you discuss every details (hashil/tax, additional charges etc)
Illustration: Ehsanur Raza Ronny