One Evening in the Eid Holidays

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Eid holidays hatchback with the weekend adds up to a long holiday.

On such a “Long Holiday” I want to relax on my very own couch, books around me; spending my favorite pass time— looking up Pinterest or Quora and do all kinds of searches on the Google. But Major Domo has to come in the way. My Major Domo is Taslima. She reminds me that the Master Tailor Matin is here —-  “you are supposed to give him the design for the blouses for the upcoming wedding.”

Matin has come, and he is made to sit in the small corner of the drawing room in a “mora,”  —- no caste system but the class system in our society stares starkly at me as I walk across the drawing room towards him. I sit on the couch and slide through the images I had shortlisted on the Pinterest. At this point, I realize Matin is a little distracted. Matin says —- “Apa, remember you had said my daughter is far too angry.” I recall he had brought his daughter over to introduce her to me, as she had issues with her studies and anger about it with her father.

It was not unusual for me to give a patient listening to all and sundry about some anger issue or mental health problem. Though I am not a mental health professional, thankfully or woefully for a particular television channel I had a counseling show, it is perceived I can give some level of advice or even do counseling. But I was no expert to give Matin a real solution. Though I enjoy talking to people about their little problems,  now I am more eager to give him the design for the blouse and get back to my virtual world. But Matin was desperate, and he confided —- “I did not answer you straight when you asked if my daughter’s anger was under control the other day.” In fact, he had come, not to take the design for the blouse and all. He wanted to share his concern about his daughter.

Matin informed that his daughter is married now, and she has also conceived —- “But her anger is still the same. I did not tell you, but her marriage could not do anything to her temper.”  I asked him if she had good in-laws, maybe they were giving her a hard time. Usually, the parents of the girl tend to pass the buck onto the in-laws. Matin had no such telltale issues. He was trying to delve deep into the problem of his daughter. He asked me if it could be that he had to relocate his family to one of the towns outside Dhaka for eight years that his daughter has become this way? He meant the family was separated which impacted his daughter. Just the other day some ‘research’ had identified that distance and lack of communication between parents and their wards cause mental disturbances which lead to addiction and worse outcomes. But Matin did not know the outcomes of this well thought out research. He was saying what his heart was telling him. I have to say I was impressed by his analysis. Then I figured it was better to tell him that his situation was not any different from the parents of every youth of today; even I have to face issues with my son and daughter. I informed him that the smartphone on the palm of every young person was like a world of fantasy. This world is so different than the hard reality in which they live. Matin in his way had that figured that out as well. He agreed with me saying — “when I go out from my air conditioned shop to my home which is neither air-conditioned nor has the dazzle of lights of a marketplace still, it is my home.”

I did not know whether to pat myself on my back about raising awareness around mental health or reprimand myself for not being able to figure out things in a commonsensical way before I stepped out to do “spiritual good” to others. It seemed Matin knew better than I did. I looked skeptically at the mirror and asked myself — “do I know any better?”