Eid salami is so entangled with our Eid memories that it still tingles our minds with the fresh smell of new banknotes and helps us to look back on our childhood and teen days, the glorious days of cheerful Eids and bountiful festivities with no worries of modern adult life.
Memories are so sweet and so fresh in our minds that we can hardly believe that now little children nag us for salami, just the way we used to nag our parents, grandparents, relatives, and neighbours.
Rifat Afsar Khan, a debater with an illustrious career, is pursuing his master's degree in Economics at Dhaka University (DU). While reminiscing his memories about Eid salami, he became nostalgic.
“When I was very young, my mom used to take the salami from me, saying - I am keeping it for you now, whenever you need it, I will give it back. But that was the last time I would have seen the money!"
"So, as I grew older, I caught her act. Since then, I would keep the money to myself instead of giving it to her. I still like getting salami, even though I have to give it to my cousins now more.”
Growing up in a joint family, Rifat Afsar Khan had his paternal uncles with his family. And his mother’s sister lives nearby. So, the amount of salami was hefty, and a good amount of it used to be spent on toy pistols and Tin Goyenda books.
Mohammad Amanur Rahman is Rifat Afsar Khan’s junior in the same department and a graphic artist. While talking about his experience of Eid salami, his sweet memories spread as a light smile across his lips.
“I used to show the Eid salami to my friends at school, we used to compete with one another about our collections. Then, everyone in my family would gather for the Eid salami and go to a restaurant to have a burger or pizza together.”
He recalled a particular memory when he was in the nursery.
“One of my relatives gave me one five hundred taka notes, and my elder brother five one hundred taka notes. I thought I was given less, as to me, more notes meant more money. Then, my brother took the responsibility of pacifying me, and he gave me two ten taka notes. I was cool at once!”
Mir Huzaifa Al Mamduh, a journalist and author of the much-lauded book ‘Bharat Barsher Madrassa Er Itihas’ was effusive about remembering his memories of the past.
“When we were young, we used to call it Eid Bakhshish and we would wake up early in the morning to visit our relatives’ houses to collect it. I would feel sad if one of my older cousins got more money than me, and after coming back, I would start counting the fortune I have amassed the whole day!"
"I would buy an ice cream or something else, and the rest would go to my mom. She would spend the money for us, or save it. I used to have a ledger where I calculated the amount my mother owed me and kept reminding her to give it back to me. And she would promise to return the due money! “
K.M. Najib Hayder, a student of the Department of Banking and Insurance at DU, has shared his Eid salami memories with the writer, “I grew up in a village till the age of 8 with my grandparents. I remember when Eid used to come, my grandfather gave salami to all of us. That is where I learned the wonderful tradition of salam as a way of showing respect to the elderly, though at that age, the salami was more important.”
To him, the memories have a hint of haunting sorrow, “However, with growing up, the amount of salami is decreasing. It makes me sad to think of how many elders I had to ask for salami when I was younger. Every Eid and salami reminds me of the ones who passed away, but made me happy with their salamis because the number of people who are not here to ask for salami anymore is larger than the number of people who are here to ask for salami from.”
Suriya Binte Junnat is a student of Communication Disorders. She says that now, she has to give more salami to her little cousins, and that makes her happy to no end.
"Salami is an important part of our family's eid celebration. It was way more exciting when I was young. My grandmother used to be the first one to give us Eid salami. There is always a competition between my cousins who will wake up and do the salam and get the salami."
"The smell of fresh banknotes and the memory of buying little things with that is still in my mind. Now, I have to give salami to my little cousins, and it feels very nice. "
Naeem Hassan, an advocate at the Dhaka Judge Court and senior lecturer of Law at the Uttara University, recalled his charming old days when he was asked about it,
“Salami was the main source of income for us children and teens, we would look forward to Eids to get salami, and with that money buy fancy things."
"As I grew up, my expectations of salami gradually decreased, yet it makes me happy to no end if someone sends me salami on Eid. Last year, one of my seniors in the university sent me salami, and that was the most pleasant thing on my Eid."
Now, giving salami depends on Naeem's pocket actually, but the joy of spreading Eid among the young children surpasses all.
Eid salami is an integral part of our Eid celebration. So, let us indulge in the pleasant custom, and spread love and joy of the largest festival of the country across the nation.