Eid experience now and then
The word Eid has always held a very special meaning for us. It's the time to relax, have fun, spend some quality time with your loved ones and in general enjoy life without any qualms at least for a while. However, as we grow up and our surroundings change, the concept of Eid also changes for us. As kids, the height of luxury on Eid day is being able to visit all your cousins, wear new clothes and shoes and eat a lot of sweets without being repeatedly warned by parents. Then as time passes, Eid seems more fun when spent hanging out around the city with friends, trying out the newest eateries and going out on drives down the, for once, empty streets of the city. And then finally, life turns a full circle and Eid is once again a time to be spent with family, and for diabetes patients sweets have pretty much the same appeal it does for little kids who are not allowed to indulge. But how much has Eid changed over the passing years in individual lives as well as within the community?
When we asked this question to Dr. Mumit Khan, Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Engineering Department, BRAC University, this is what he had to say: “My family and my extended family were all in Dhaka, so obviously I always spent Eid in town. I would say Eidul Azha was much more festive, what with the fun of chopping meat, and getting to run errands distributing shares of the sacrificial cow to all your friends and family. For at least those few days, one would be free to do anything that they wanted to, as long as they got done with the chore of the meat business. As for Eidul Fitr, the big plus was that we had a much more relaxed calendar. Schools would go into vacations halfway through Ramadan. I believe schedules are much more hectic nowadays.” Recalling the years he spent abroad on account of studies, Dr. Khan says that Eid just came and went those days, without anyone even noticing. Once or twice, some of the students would be able to tell the Eid day, but the most they could do was getting together for dinner. When we asked how he deems things to have changed now that he is back in Bangladesh after almost eighteen years, Dr. Khan said, “Dhaka would always empty out during Eid, thanks to the large number of people leaving town. But these days, the shock factor is huge. The streets seem that much emptier, mostly because it is so completely otherwise at other times. Other than that, Eid is largely different from what it used to be. Most of my extended family members are not in the country, and Eid is now just a few family re-unions, visits to in-laws and things like that. I live in an apartment where I know all the others, but not enough that we could get together on Eid. In all, I would say that the extinction of 'paras' and 'mohollas', where everybody knew everybody else, has changed the whole flavor of Eid.”
Well, that was what a faculty member had to say about how Eid has changed in general. But what about our personal lives? Fahim, a student in a Private University says, “I went to school and college in Rajshahi, and what I miss most is the relaxed academic calendar. Schools would close almost as soon as Ramadan started, and for the few days it was open we would hardly do any work. Those days seems like heaven nowadays, when life is all about attending one class after another and then going back home only to finish up assignments and study for exams.”
“Being the youngest of all my cousins from both sides of the family, Eid was, well, 'Eid' for me!” quips a laughing Salman. “I would receive more 'Eidi' than I could keep track of, and the entire family would baby me.” Things have changed in more ways than one now, says Salman. “I now have nieces and nephews, and thus am no longer the youngest in the family tree. Also having graduated and 'grown up' means no more kiddy-gloves for me either; not even among siblings and cousins. But Eid still feels just as good a time to catch up with friends and family, and grab some much-needed rest away from the hectic lifestyle of this city.”
What about some of our peers who have gone abroad? This is what Rafi had to say, “I miss having Eid back home. Back when I was in Bangladesh, Eid often didn't seem that big a deal. I would just sleep a lot, eat a lot and hang out with friends, not much different from the way I spent any other vacation. But now that off days are hard to come by, and I often have 8 AM classes on Eid day, I miss home, and I wish I can get back there as soon as possible. I even long to wake up early in the morning and get ready for the Eid prayers.”
So, Eid has changed for everyone in one way or another. But whether you are spending it with family outside Dhaka, or just sleeping in; tired from all the work, Eid has a flavor all it's own. No matter where you are, here's wishing you all the best on Eid. Eid Mubarak!
(R) thedailystar.net 2006