Tuesday, November 15

No Eid greetings please!

Muzaffarabad – While sitting in the Jallalabad Park among the orphan children, and tents housing victims of the earthquake, this scribe received quite a large number of SMS messages and calls from Lahore of Eid Mubarak.
It was a very painful experience considering the fact that it was not an occasion to be celebrated. Yes! In Lahore many people celebrated Eid with ‘usual fervour and festivity’, but it was not the case there. One could not help saying ‘what Eid’. Quite a few of these dear ones, were shocked by my replies, but when they were apprised about the situation and ambience the scribe was witnessing and going through, they realised that probably they made a mistake.
When this scribe left Lahore on the last Wednesday, the city was already gearing up to celebrate Eid, and markets had started getting crowds of people involving (read ‘indulging’) in Eid shopping. But even on the Chaand Raat, the residents of this ill-fated city were not seen buying anything.
On the Eid day, quite a few children were playing around and a national television channel was there to telecast it live. It had also invited celebrated film actor Nadeem Baig, TV actors Shakeel and Behroze Sabazwari. They were playing with kids. Behroze, while bowling to Nadeem who missed a shot, had a loud laughter, which was not only out of place rather seemed to be pretty painful considering the circumstances. He made this scribe to move away from that place though sitting among the children was already very depressing.
1-year-old Kamal had lost his whole family, including parents, but he was sitting on a bench absolutely clueless about his future. 10-year-old Kamran was constantly looking emptily towards the sky. A young man in his late twenties – later seen conversing with intelligence personnel – told this scribe that Kamran was an orphan. He definitely realised the loss.
If it would have another ‘usual’ Eid, this Park must have observed a lot of festivity. These children must have worn new clothes and their parents would have been lucky to spend happy moments with their children.
Even on Saturday, when quite a few friends called and sent Eid greetings, this scribe did not have the heart to accept the felicitations, which is still the same. (November 6, 2005)

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