Writers’ Point: In the Southeast Asia region, there are 6 seasons. Summer to Spring. But for Bangladesh, it seems like there are 2/3 more seasons! Eid-Ul-Fitr season, Eid-Ul-Ajha season, Durga Puja season and all that. Today I am here to remember some of my Eid-Ul-Fitr memories. Please note that this article might seem a bit boring and long. If you do not have any time to waste, please proceed at your own risk. Once you’ve read it, a little review or something would help! Thank You! ☻
After a month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world celebrate Eid-Ul-Fitr. Well, the celebration continues for a 4/5 days. But the plans start a long time before! I spent my childhood(the early twenty-first century years) in sub-district areas. Areas where modern technologies were not very affordable. One would look at your face if you asked for Cartoon Network in your cable connection!
Grade 1 to Grade 6, I studied in Chhagalnaiya; a sub-district of Feni. Although I changed school 3 times there, my friend circle remained almost the same! I got to learn people there and the culture they followed. In those 6 years, they accepted me as one of them. When Ramadan time started, I also used to avoid eating in front of people. Well most of my friends(Muslim) did it for religious belief, whereas I did it simply to not disrespect them or their belief by any mean. We used to(well we still do!) eat Iftar(food that Muslims take after a certain period of fast they kept) and it was quite enjoyable. My friends/neighbors barely cared whether we ate at noon or not. We had to take Iftar with them! It was not any force, it was a simple culture that we all followed.
After 20th Ramadan(there are 29/30 of them) was done, plans started to flood in! Women rushed to boutiques/tailors for their desired cloths, men rushed to shops for their desired Panjabi/Pajama! Children rushed to sticker/Eid card shops. I used to buy a lot of Eid cards to give to everyone. And I loved the stickers that were found at any and every temporary shop that was set only for this month!
Who would invite me was not the question for me! Question that bothered me was, whose house should I visit and whose house should I not?! I would get invitation from at least 20 of my friends and it was simply impossible for any human being to eat in all their houses! So I would choose 5/6 of my friends and visit their houses. The next year, I would choose another 5/6 friends and visit their houses. Plot Twist: There were 3/4 friends whose house I simply had to visit! Which means there was barely a year on which I did not go to at least 10 houses on the very Eid day! The rest of the days? Don’t even ask! A simple salaam would start things, followed by salami! No parent ever cared that I was not a Muslim boy. I went to their house and I did salaam them, so I would have to take salami! Well as a kid, it was both fun and nice.
After receiving the salami, people would bring one full treat with vermicelli(of 2/3 kinds), sweet, fried rice, meat(again 2/3 types), bread, cake(tired of saying 2/3 types), cake-rice, yogurt, cold drinks and many more! I would feel like I haven’t been eating for months and now they want to feed me for months more to come! I would eat some of those items and leave that house as soon as I could. Otherwise, aunties would have brought some other items and I would die of over-eating!
While walking on the road, it was mandatory that you will see some friends and in most cases they would be the one whose houses you decided not to visit! Sometimes I used to hide and at other times, simply say Hi and run from there! The record of collecting 1100+ BDT just from salami is one of my best(rich) memories! Visiting one friends’ house without getting any invitation is undoubtedly another awesome memory. That friend being female made things real nice. I mean it!!!
Things were this good until my father took a visit to Cox’s Bazar and decided to take us along! We stayed there one whole year and I studied my grade 7 there. Because we stayed there for only one year, I did not really have the charm of making too many friends. And we stayed in a Hindu-Colony which helped us really well in this case! Although me being very friendly(!), got me 6/7 invitations even on that Eid. I went to only 3 places and I still remember that was one of the best Eid celebrations I ever had. I mean, visiting worlds’ largest sea beach on Eid day? Pardon me if that is not enough!!
Things could get better but my father had to take another transfer to Begumganj, a sub-district of Noakhali this time! The Noakhali people are very scary/weird/cheap/selfish type of talks obviously were put in my head. But I decided to become friends with anyone and everyone I could. In school, it took me a very little time to be friend with a lots of people. I made both male and female friends. Also, I had the privilege of learning from a person who is not teacher by profession but by passion! As he liked to teach 2/3 different age group of people at the same time, I came to know a lot more people who were both older and younger than me. It helped me become quite popular in school as well(just kidding, I’ve got enough charm already!).
I studied grades 8 – 10(3 years) and also attended my SSC(Secondary School Certificate) exam at that place. It was a time period of a three and a half years. First Eid there, was not much fun as I was far too serious about my study at first, and far too involved in one of the biggest mistakes of life at the latter! That Eid still got me 5/6 invitations and I visited only one of my friends’ place. It was fun cause 7/8 of us hanged out there and after a long time, we got chance to play cricket/football and other outdoor games. Not to mention, I got introduced to Noakhailla hospitality properly for the first time! Once again I got the taste of sub-district Eid season! Temporary stalls and all that!
Next year(grade 9), I came to know the place Bank Road really well. It was a road full of shops where all the Eid Cards, stickers and such stuffs were made. You could buy them from there at a very cheap price. Also, you could buy post cards, calendars, posters, bracelets and other things. There were shops for everything! I took a very huge interest in that place soon enough. After ages, this time I bought a lots of Eid cards. Tried to give them to all my friends. Yet some people did not get any! Again those old days were back! 20+ invitations and I was helpless which ones to attend and which ones not to! Attended 5/6 of those for the first 3 days and trust me, I definitely gained 2/3 pound weight! After a long time, got some salami also. Things went awesome.
Last Eid there, was quite remarkable. I bought a 150+ Eid cards as far as I remember! I gave cards to teachers, my friends, juniors, seniors and who not?! I particularly chose different types of cards for different people. That year, I guess I was the man to spend highest amount of money behind these things! But I still have no regret, because that was the final time for most of my classmates to get a gift from me. I got a huge number of invitations and I think I would rather skip mentioning the number here! I went to some new places this time. Tried to hit as many friends’ places as I could. For some reason, there was always a thought in my mind, this might be my last Eid here in this place! And that thought became true next year!
Next year I came to Dhaka, the city capital of our country. Since then, I attended my college life(2 years) here. Had many friends, but barely had any invitation! Its’ my 4th year in a private university here and the story is all the same. It’s not that I feel bad that I do not get any invitation! But it is different now. No one has got time to invite anyone. Maximum people here are from other districts! Whenever Eid eve is on, they leave for their places. Those who stay here, they’ve got too many places to visit themselves!
We were kids, things were friendly. We are matured, things are busy! We were in sub-district areas, people were neighbors. We are in the capital, people are just living in the same place! We were young, salamis were received. We are old, salamis are given! We were in old days; Eid was entertainment, life, pleasure, joy, smile. We are in modern days; Eid is selfie, fashion, bragging, show-off!
I wish those good old days came back. Days when things were cheap but expressive; friend’s company was needed physically – not online, restaurants were kept close instead of having Selfie zone there signboards, tourism places were for pastime pleasure – not check-ins, all the known/unknown people becoming one big family! I miss those days!