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Eid and Bargaining for Bakrah!

I visited Hyderabad, India for the Eid (Nov 2011) and it was a surreal experience. After many years I was able to feel the excitement of interacting with people, bargaining with vendors, and with a bit of  chaos traffic and awesomeness of festival atmosphere.

The Eid celebration in Hyderabad felt obviously different than the suburban life in U.S. Instead of just sending the money for sacrifice through western union, I was actually able go through the entire experience myself after many years.

Starting with leaving the house to purchase the animal for sacrifice, I first have to adjust to crossing the fast traffic roads, than walking on those roads while avoiding bumping into pedestrians, animals, bikes, and autos. For a moment it felt overwhelming as if I just want to stand on the side of the road and just watch it all from afar.

Trying to negotiate a price of the animal is as much art as anything, and people there seems to have a sixth sense finding out if you are a foreigner or not. Once getting an idea of the price per animal; you have to pick an animal, then check the ears, teeth, hooves, tail and any missing or cutout both parts. After or during the purchase if you are not careful, you could end up getting rushed, and in the process you may end up paying more then what you negotiated, agree to a transport delivery price out of this world, or even end up with an animal at home that you did not select at the time of purchase. Like I said, its a different kind of experience.

On the other hand, while you shop you may notice or just find yourself amazed by the way others are negotiating the price; literally few seems to have mastered the art of bargaining (I guess I should add a class at sharjeel.com for that, but any way) as I watched a guy literally buy a single goat for half the price than what the seller was asking. Most of the sellers are middlemen so don't feel sorry for them, but I did hear few of my friends who tried to try their luck with a truck load of animal; but as bad luck hand it for them, 100s of other would be quick rich personal dropped 100s to trucks of animal and at the end everyone lost the money.

After Eid Salah it was the task of a looking out for the butcher. There is no guarantee if the butcher will be a professional or a novice; and there is no arguing after the agreed price per head, about how you want the meat to be processed as it's done all by hands and no machines are used.

The responsibility of slaughtering the animal with less of a pain as possible and as fast as you can do it is always an enigma; sometimes the butcher has to step in to follow through. I always feel the enormity of the life being sacrificed and not just at the time of slaughtering but also when the time comes for the meal. Its hard to put the words into prospective of that moment and day; it feels sometimes carry over and time to time it comes to you while you are back in states and eating a burger or meal. Life is truly precious with enormous responsibilities.

Just as much as I liked the day before the Eid, I was just as much uncomfortable the day after the eid, the stench of animal guts thrown out at garbage corners were just bad. I guess there was a two day holiday for municipality department. I wonder how people were fine for almost a week at some places. Recently I have heard that there is a special pick plan in place for Eid day to avoid the repeat of that years scenario.

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