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The expatriate's Eid

Published : Friday, 15 June, 2018 at 12:00 AM  Count : 469

Eid means happiness, Eid means eternal love. But for the expatriates, Eid means the pain, the vacuum, the desire to get near to the loved ones. And also Eid means to stay in a lot of trouble, "Yes, I am fine. The joy of Eid is fulfilled only when it can be shared with family members.

Those who live abroad, Eid brings a different feeling for them. Because, many people in exile spend the Eid day without their loved ones. So the day is a mix of fun and pain for them. The expatriates have their hearts in the country while their bodies remain abroad. Especially in many countries of the world, expatriates have to live without family alone. And expatriates celebrate Eid with the set of challenges talking to a loved one over the telephone or Skype, Viber or Messenger. Many people may even go to work in the desert mirage by mixing their own grief.

A few days ago, I was reading Middle East Expatriate's feelings about the Eid. He wrote, 'Eid Jamaat is held in certain mosques. Early in the morning we wake up and go to say Eid prayers. Eid prayer ends with the sudden sunrise as soon as it appears. Then go back to the workplace, who get a holiday, go to a little bit of friends or go to each other's house and come back to prepare for the next day, this is how we spent our Eid days of hardship. There are few Bangladeshis who are economically sound and established with their families, but their numbers are few. Our Eid may pass in some way, but we feel good when our families can happily celebrate their Eid day with our hard earned money, this is my absolute achievement as a migrant person.

Now let's talk about Eid in America. 20 to 25 years ago there was a huge difference between Eid of that time and today's Eid. There were also very few Bengali Muslims. Most Americans did not have any idea about our holy Ramadan or Eid. Many people did not get a holiday on Eid. Many were unable to say Eid prayers and had to go to work. And those who got the holiday, met up with friends and families, spent time at home and had meals together. Eid is celebrated in smaller cities in America too, and many Bangladeshis live in these cities. Even their parents are with them. The Asian American Federation survey showed that in recent years, the population of Bangladeshis in New York City has increased greatly. In 2008, where the number of Bangladeshi people was 34,237, in just three years, the number has increased to 50, 277 and in 2018 this number has increased even further. Bangladeshis are now the fifth largest Asian community.
An important factor in the number is that Bangladeshi community is involved in the functioning of local elected representatives. Especially in New York, the celebration of Eid has been a different for quite some years. Especially two years ago after announcement of the City Mayor Eid School Holiday.
Nowadays, almost everyone gets Eid holiday in their work. Children do not have to go to school. And so everyone can celebrate Eid with their respective family. Eid shopping begins before Eid is here. The shopkeepers' gets busy selling various types of garments to Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani expats. Eid oriented businesses have become rather profitable. In the last few years, it has been observed that there is a different ambiance following citing of the moon.  In particular, at the Jamaica and Jackson Heights, the girls sit in front of the stores and sit on the floor and set up mehendi (Henna) decorations. Girls wait in long queue.

There are crowds in beauty parlors too. There are lots of crowds in the grocery shopping area. Nowadays, grocer owners offer discounts on Eid. Now watching live TV in the country for IPTV is very easy, so most Bangladeshi does not miss the programs that are broadcasted on Eid. About 15 Newspapers are published from New York; each newspaper brings out the special numbers of Eid. It's a wonderful festival-like feeling all around. Some Eid congregations are held in open fields. There are some public gatherings too, parking regulations are often suspended for Eid. In all, Eid here is not absolutely bad.

Despite all this, the proverb reminds more than 'to be satisfied with a feeling of some sense of unfulfillment'. Yet their hearts keep travelling to their motherland. Especially they remember their childhood. How long ago had the sorrow been kept hidden in new clothes? Everyone is busy. Up until the early hours in the morning, moms were kept busy the whole night for cooking semai, jarda, korma-polao. After bathing in the morning, everyone went to Eid prayers together.

However, the expats are clearly deprived from that joy, cannot eat their moms' cooked Semai, korma, and Polao. They cannot share the joy of Eid with the children even if they wish. They cannot spend time with their parents. After the Eid prayers, the grievance further intensifies.

Finding yourself in a painful chest, wetting the pillow in bed, or trying to sleep, it's all about regular events for expatriates. This pain is also ours, we are those who are their relatives. Nevertheless, the brothers and sisters of exile should be good, Bangladesh will be good. Eid-ul- Fitr greetings to all readers on behalf of expatriates.

The writer is a student of  Jahangirnar University

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