The day or night-long queues for availing home-bound transport tickets on the eve of Eid, featuring joy as well as heartbreak, make many oblivious to a lot of things. Those are completely separate from the delight of joining ancestral families in villages during the Eid festival. The Eid-ul-Fitr festival is the greatest for the Muslims of Bangladesh, making it also highly distinctive from the other nation-wide festivals. Notwithstanding the travails and disillusionments at the ticket counter of a particular transport, the intrepid home-goers remain unfazed. They change the mode of transport, and rush to other counters. For instance, if the first choice is train and the advance ticket becomes too elusive, many turn to river transports if there are routes around their village destinations. Some others opt for long-haul buses or coaches. This tense shifting of the transport modes of Eid travel invariably makes a lot of people forgetful of the possible spectres of hazards that might await them. They become oblivious to the possible drawbacks that could make an otherwise pleasant travel perilous. This is what has been happening over the last couple of decades.
The current year apparently is no exception. Side by side with the elation over the successful availing of a train ticket from the counter, there is gloom caused by the purchase of a bus ticket from scalpers. An amazing aspect of the Eid travel preparations is that ordeals, discomforts and bitter feelings do not last long. The eager wait for bon voyage continues to make one filled with excitement and joyous feelings as the time for starting a journey nears. And woefully, the passengers of various types of transport find it to be a perfect occasion to defy all barriers that may come by during the Eid journeys home. Blissfully, the travels in general remained free of major mishaps and disastrous events in the recent years. The fear of massive road accidents on under-construction highways and inter-district roads became a real dread a few years back. Heavy showers worsened the overall condition. However, the festive and fun-filled travels home overpowered all kinds of foreboding. To the relief of the regular Eid passengers, the travels have been tolerably hazard-free in the last couple of years.
Notwithstanding the still-auspicious outlook, one cannot yet feel relieved. In spite of the fact that the Eid travels home were trouble-free in the last few years, distressing spectacles fill the transport sectors.
Alongside the jubilant preparations for Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations this year, there are a few portents. They speak of gloomy prospects for unwitting Eid travellers. The scenes of putting coats of fresh colour to motor launches and buses, replacing rundown seats with the new ones may make passengers feel upbeat about their Eid travels. But seasoned passengers know well about the deceptive character of the strategies adopted by a section of transport operators during the festival season.
The vital point is the very engines that make a transport move remain unchanged; so do the crew. These gross deficiencies lurking in the transports on the move do not mar the jubilant mood created by the availability of tickets. With the land and water transports, as well as their routes, in a questionable state, procuring a ticket smoothly or after much hassle matters little. It is safe journey which should deserve the prime focus.
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