Imagine every year, twice a year, someone gave you a pair of socks. It's a good dream, isn't it? Socks are useful and you wear them. Underwear would be better, being a more essential item, but we're trying to have a civilisation here.
Sadly we don't live in a sock-gifting utopia. Instead we find ourselves crushed under the cumulative weight of panjabis accumulated over the decades.
Why do we do this? Tradition, one could say, but many other things are traditional and we still pretend we want to get rid of them. Take sexism; that's been around for ages, but you have all these new ideas about gender equality and toxic masculinity and whatnot and at least in theory we're trying to get rid of the bloody thing. Imagine if someone gave you sexism on Eid, your family wouldn't ask you to smile and gratefully acce-
Hmm. OK, maybe this is the wrong analogy to pursue.
All I'm saying is, just because you've been giving me panjabis every Eid for the past two decades, mom – I'm calling out my mother with the security known only to someone writing under an alias – as I was saying, mom, it doesn't mean it's a good idea to give me another panjabi this Eid. In fact it's quite the opposite: the more panjabis I have the less I need.
You wouldn't understand this, you don't wear panjabis. Most of the aunts gifting me panjabis don't wear them either (at least to my knowledge, which is the extent of my business) so they can be forgiven for thinking I'm some sort of primordial deity that can only be satiated with regular offerings of traditional semi-formals. My aunts do have eyes though so they don't have any excuse for picking the panjabis that they do. I was born and raised in Bangladesh, and sure I attended those new-fangled English Medium schools and watched Animax as a child but I still share the aesthetic sense particular to our culture. We all know those panjabis are terrible.
It's almost like extended family buy these panjabis as obligatory gifts without actually caring if they bring any pleasure to the intended recipient, essentially participating in an expensive but culturally necessary farce. But that can't be right.
And so you and I (if you're a man, or just a woman who receives panjabis, or whatever really so long as you can vibe with this) have closets full to bursting with the unnecessary and tacky generosity of family, adding another cloud of irritation to what had always meant to be a festive, spiritual occasion. You have to wear the gifts too, a new one every day of Eid. If you're lucky you'll look decent in one or two of them, and these are the ones you should make sure your friends and romantic interests get to see you in. You may think it'll be alright if you turn up to your Eid date in your in the panjabi you were cursed with by your mejho khalamoni; your date is a reasonable person and will understand. They won't. It's horrible. Take it off.
The obvious thing to do is to give it all to the unlucky poor after the coast is clear – but make sure you donate far away from your mejho khalamoni's neighbourhood. She will know, and will not appreciate your selfless act of charity.
The writer is a coward withholding his identity. Mock him by pointing at this page and going, “Hnnrf hnnrf skronk.”