Friday, December 19, 2008

The Friday after Eid

The Friday after Eid

Fridays

Every week has one Friday;

There are 51 Fridays in a year;

Friday is the day before the weekend; Friday is the weekend; Friday is the day after the weekend;

Money can’t buy you any Friday;

There are plenty of Fridays in the war;

Money

Unlike Friday money is not a day of the week;

Money is cash;

Friend of man;

Foe of man; rather man foe of man over money;

***

Last Friday

Irshad asked his mother if she had received a call from Kabul bank where he has deposited 5000 Afgs to participate in Bakhat, meaning Luck, account. ‘no darling’ said his mother. ‘I am not lucky.’ He told me with confidence in his eyes ‘if I were I would have had 10000 Afg’. Irshad collects money  during a year for Eid times so he can buy presents and have good time. 5000 was all he colleted but he needed 10000 so he deposited the money in the bank to participate in a draw of multiple 5000s. in a desperate attempt to make 10000 Irshad left a note outside the window of his bedroom for Santa Claus. ‘My dear generous Santa Claus, I only managed to deposit 5000 this year but I need 10000 for my Eid expenses. Please be kind enough and bring 5000 for me. I have been real good this year.’ Read the letter.  in the morning he found the same letter frozen in dew.’Baba Nohil doesn’t exist, does it?’ he asked sanjar. ‘you have to leave a note on your door … Santa only read doors … he can’t know otherwise’ said sanjar in an attempt to revive his believe in edgeless frontiers of childhood optimism and probabilities. ‘When can we go to withdraw my money, eid is soon upon us.’ asked Irshad. it was in the afternoon of last Friday that Masseh, Irshad and mother went to the Branch in the commercial area of town so the children could go on a shopping spree after the withdrawal. Both Masseh and Irshad knew what was new for this year’s Eid; they had seen it owned by impatient neighbourhood mates who have already made purchases. Masseh went to Roshan Tower to buy a Spiderman suit. he was feeling rather sticky; he had seen the film the Friday before. Masseh also wanted ‘The Big Book of Action Stickers’; it is stuffed with photos and stickers of planes, cars, pirates and all the good stuff Masseh loves. 

***

Last Friday

‘Poverty has one cause; the same fourteen hundred years ago and today. God has warned us of it and in his mercifulness instructed us on ways to eradicate it. it is the fourth pillar of our religion. It is Zakat - alms.’  Said the Mullah in Rahmatabad mosque while along the same words were mimic isomorphised in all Kabul mosques. ‘Why didn’t he make money grow on the trees’ whispered the parsimonious. ‘Why did he create poverty?’ whispered in confusion the cynic and ask the negative question ‘Why didn’t he give it a Farsi or Pashto name instead of Zakat so I understand the concept’.  ‘Eid is time of happiness and celebration and the rich must help the poor. The rich must make an animal sacrifice and distribute it among the poor. The rich must give poor wheat as their Eid Wattir. The rich must give poor money so they can join this holy occasion.’ added the mullah.

***

Last Friday, this Friday, the Fridays before and one Friday

The mullah at Rahmatabad mosque is spending all the afternoon and evening in the mosque nibbling on Hallwa’s and the food provided by the locality. Every Friday a family is offering a feast to smear his belly and keep his mind sound in order to receive the critical piece of mind. Last Friday he was joined by his son in the mosque; someone has got to buy the kid an Eid present.

***

Last Friday

Abraham started a new career. He sells phone top up cards on the junction. It doesn’t pay off well but it is better than his old job in Iran which had no pay. Abraham is back in the neighbourhood where is known as Powderi. Don’t get it wrong; he is not an addict contrary to the impression one would get from his nickname. Nevertheless powder is used around the junction to refer to Heroin, something sold next to him. Abraham is a fostered child; he was brought up on formula which is a form of powder.  Abraham has six or seven of each Roshan, Itesalat, NTM and AWCC top up cards at various denominations waving it about faces. ‘200 units of Roshan’ said a man as he rolled down his car window.  Abraham took 200Afgs and started to fumble through the collection to find the 200. ‘what are you doing? You have Roshan in your right hand’ said the man in the car. ‘which one?’ asked Abraham. The man chose one and took it. ‘hang on! It is not 200 units. Are you sure it is 200?’. Abraham can’t read, he relies on customer to choose one but also makes a quarrel to ensure the customer is not taking more. 

***

This Friday

Abraham lost 400 Afgs. He will no longer be able to sell top up cards as the store owner won’t lend him. A customer got a 500 worth credit for 100Afgs. Abraham was not sure; he had got to know the colours and design; ‘the pink one is 500 units, you need a green’.  But there was no way he could be certain.

***

A couple of days before this Friday

Irshad presented his nephew Zaid with a Baby Baggie and a teddy bear.  He spent his saving for Eid to buy presents for his 8 months old nephew. ‘I wanted to make him happy. I can save more money. I’ll buy what I want next year’ told Irshad to Zaid’s mother. Presents make eid a happy time; some like to have them, another wants to give them, another wants the-others to give them to ‘others’.   

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