The Festival of Love
When my CNG was hurtling down towards my office near TK Bhaban and Wasa Bhaban, I had to look sharp as a cow had got loose and charged its way towards the CNG, like a bull in a Madrid bull fighting arena. As a child was with me in the vehicle, I told the driver of the CNG to “fly right” and pull up his belt. This was weeks back. I remember the numerous cows that used to be tethered near our Karwan Bazaar office.
There are long programmes on TV on how to preserve the “qurbani” meat days before Eid-ul-Adha day. People relish eating the “qurbani” meat and will urge others to do so. Some people believe in giving the meat to different orphanages. Others take pride in distributing it to the beggars on the street. The meat is given to beggars and anyone who requests for it, such as old servants. Of course, relatives have to be kept in mind. The doors have to be kept open on Eid day for all the cousins and uncles and aunts to pour in with their meat “packets”. If the family is a large one, the three days of official holiday goes in the mere act of giving meat to the relatives.
The talk of eating proceeds for three full days and more. There is exchange of gifts as well, although this is reserved more for Eid-ul Fitr. If there is a baby shower or some birthday gift to be handed over it is done with mutual consent. Pithas are welcomed at this time. Even nakshikanthas and elaborately embroidered saris and shalwar-kameezes exchange hands with cheer and good will.
As for meat packets and basins of cooked “kofta”, “kalia” and “zarda” with tons of raisins and pistachio are carried even overseas to loved ones. If the packets of pilau and meat go to Tipu Sultan Road or somewhere near Gopibagh it is considered the done thing. The business of cooking is a fine art and women in the house take great pleasure in cooking, roasting and baking. Recipes are exchanged and memorised and even put on paper, lest one forgets in the crazy whirlwind of life.
Going to one's village home by road, and making sacrifice give one a sense of identity in being where one's roots are—be Sylhet or Chittagong. People take great pleasure even in riding packed trains, buses and trains to meet one's beloved parents, brothers and sisters.