Sacrificing happiness

My grandparents were dead long back; so I never could relate the feeling of going back to roots during holydays. My father was in the defence so I shared the joy on Eids with the neighboring kids rather than with my cousins, uncles, aunts. After my father’s retirement, we settled in Dhaka. In only two occasions, we went to our village home to celebrate Eid with my distance relatives. I did enjoy the village flavor, but felt no urge in going back on every Eid as all my Chacha. Mama, Fufu, Khala were always in Dhaka.

Thus my ignorance on people’s urge on heading towards village-home was mountainous. I never realized what the city people undergo on their voyage during Eid. On 26th November, three of my friends and I decided to experience ‘Shodor ghat er gangaam’ after midnight. We reached at Shodor ghat in 45 minutes from Gulshan; Dhaka was vacant as expected. We are mature, all in 30s, so no over speeding! Reached Shador ghat at 2 A.M. And yes, it was indeed Shodor ghat; gathering of people was all-around, everybody trying to enter the vessels docked in the river. No one could tell it was 2 A.M unless the watch came in rescue.

Some people were having meals in nearby restaurants, some trying to get into the vessels, some quarreling with the security guards. We got aboard a vessel. There were no inch to move; people were sleeping everywhere. We wanted to see the cabins but it was restricted. An 1000 taka note to the security guards did the trick and walla – we were given VIP treatment then on; went to the engine room, cabin, roof, pilot’s den, everywhere. People were sleeping everywhere including in front off the toilets. The vessel was scheduled to start at 10 A.M. the following morning but people occupied 12-14 hours prior to that! There were children sleeping in roofs, babies in the balcony with hands tied to their parents. I am a father on three years old, so I could relate instantly what a father goes through if he sees his child shaking in the cold.

Two of my friends were discussing the prospect of a vessel liner on our way back; I was wondering what makes the city people go through the pain of reaching village homes; there must be something, must be.

I woke up at 7:00 A.M on Eid day. Turned on the TV, and there was this news – a launch drowned in Meghna on its way to Bhola; 13 dead bodies including seven children were recovered. I saw that vessel on 26th! I saw people sleeping there. I saw children searching comfort on fathers’ shoulder! I knew then and there, the reminiscence will hunt me for a while.

As I read the newspaper today, the vessel that drowned was carrying excess people and water started pouring right after it started moving. It reached a quay in noon time; many people wanted to get down; security guards did not allow them to do so as some of them did not buy tickets by then. Desh TV reports, mother searching for a six year old, father searching for his two sons, sisters searching for their only brother. This Eid apparently stored only sorrow for the relatives and people who died, Allah knows, for whose fault. Close ones will surely remember the lost ones in every Eid they come by.

In my childhood, I was told, Eid ul Azha teaches sacrifices; I never could understand why slaughtering animals in roads is considered as sacrifice. I do not support the way it’s been done so I always wondered what to sacrifice. This time around, I know I have sacrificed my happiness……..I just can’t forget the faces I saw that night; I saw a two years old shivering in cold; is he dead?


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