Like the angst-filled nature of the Eid-ul-Azha held on August 01, its celebrations also were bound by many reservations. Those, in cases, could be termed self-restraints. But to the woes of the people sensitised to the raging coronavirus, a lot of people came out into the open like they would in the past.
The popular amusement parks remained closed on the Eid day. People were found loitering on the road squares, on roads around parks or lakesides. The day's main attraction eventually emerged as Hatirjheel, a pleasant recreation site during monsoon. Although the water of the sprawling lake gives off revolting odour during most of the time in a year, with the advent of monsoon it turns almost transparent. This Eid-ul-Azha fell on monsoon, with the 'jheel' (natural lake) wearing a tempting look. With crowds of recreation-seekers thronging the spot on all sides, the lake evidently provided them with a brief relief from Dhaka's present dreary environment.
However, the occasion being a pandemic-shadowed Eid, there were little scopes for people to indulge fully in the day's usual merry-makings. But there are many who are incorrigibly reckless, and apathetic to reality. A sizeable number of them found at the spot were least bothered to go by the most elementary of the preventive measures -wearing masks properly. They would either hang those around their necks or kept those in their pockets or handbags. A sizeable number of young ladies were nonchalantly moving about without their masks on. A number of others confessed to the media, with a sheepish grin though, that they had forgotten to keep their masks along with them.
Yet, like on the other Eid days, the fun-seeking people finally made the Hatirjheel a spot filled with clean amusement. Festivities and warm Eid greetings distinguished the spot. A large segment of the banks of the lake normally lies filled with chronic loners and vagabonds. During this Eid day afternoon, the spots were transformed into scenes filled with holidaying people. A number of small pedal boats were put into service; so were the small-distance motor-launches. Like on the promenades and lakeshores, the lake waters had to take in the pressure of the festive people.
Due to the many city amusement spots still remaining officially closed, hordes of people had to opt for informal and makeshift venues. Low-lying, monsoon-water-filled areas on the Dhaka outskirts and the adjoining areas offered the same spectacles as found on the other holidays. Rented covered or open country boats for short-distance travel on the waters comprise the chief attractions of these spots. The vast area has been drawing people from the busy capital for over two decades. Although the main tourist segments have been made off-limits to the general people, intrepid youths continue to discover newer rain-fed overflowing rivers and canals on the city outskirts.
This year, especially during the August 01 Eid-ul-Azha, the mandatory maintenance of social or physical distance has prevented many seasoned festive makers from visiting the traditional spots in Dhaka. Many were scared of being infected with the raging Covid-19. But, in fact, water bodies like rivers and seas hardly stop tempting people. Perhaps it's part of human nature to fall instantly under the spell of water expanses. The charm is stronger than that of hills and forests. May be, to prove this axiomatic truth thousands of people do not fail to rush for the large and small beaches, hillside rivers and 'haors' of the country, especially during the Eid holidays. During this Eid, these water-centred sites re-enacted almost the similar spectacles. But to the woes of the sensible people, many were found evidently oblivious to the corona pandemic.