LAHORE - Ramadan in the hottest months of the year tested the mettle of the fasting faithful. What with the heat, unrelenting load shedding and inflation, people from all walks of life felt the message of Ramadan truly sink in. But as the holy month comes to a close and the most celebrated day of the year arrives, people dismiss all obstacles and flock towards markets and shopping malls, because come what may, Eid must be celebrated in style.
Anarkali bazaar as a microcosm of the shopping scene in Lahore had a lot of fervent shoppers bustling through stalls trying to get the best deals on the best items. Men tagging along their wives and children, laden with shopping bags, sweating and sighing are a sight to behold, but nothing could bring their spirits down a day before Eid!
“I’m shopping for new clothes, shoes and a watch. My wife and kids all fasted and are with me right now. The kids are so excited and I’m buying them new clothes but it’s too expensive this year so maybe we might not be able to buy all that we need,” said Hussain Nayani, a banker and father of three.
Shopping is more than just a necessity for the women, it’s a passion.
Fatimah Taskeen, a harried shopper laden with bags of all sizes said, “I’m trying to look for matching shoes with my blue dress for Eid. There’s a great variety of colors and patterns for shoes here, but I just can’t find the right color. Let me know if you come across any!”
“What girl doesn’t love shopping? It’s the best part of Eid- buying new clothes, shoes, bangles, dressing up etc,” said Shumaila Rameez, a student at PU, “but Ramadan this year was very hard. It was very hot and electricity shortage was at its peak. I don’t even cook and I felt awful for mothers and cooks who spend hours in the kitchen staying hungry so they can cook for those of us who sit in air conditioned rooms and complain. Imagine Ramadan for people working on the streets, farms and guards, etc.”
Inflation was one of the biggest problems customers faced while shopping.
Kanwal Salman, an insurance agent, agreed, “Things have become really expensive we come all the way to find cheap deals in Anarkali. You’ll find a lot of variety here and it’s really easy to haggle with shopkeepers. The place is packed and you’ll find all sorts of people here. Ramadan was the way it is every year, although the heat and load shedding did indeed add to the suffering.
Of course for mothers, family comes first and a lot of mothers with children in a tow were seen shopping for their kids.
Saleema Nazir, a housewife, said, “We’re enjoying the preparations for Eid a lot and so we've come to Anarkali to shop for some Eid clothes. I have my two little kids with me and I'm looking for a smart suit for my son and a pretty dress for my daughter. If their eyes catch a toy they particularly like, they insist so much that I have to buy that for them too. My husband doesn't appreciate it but what can I do? I can’t see their little hearts being broken when it’s almost Eid!”
Indeed Eid is a time for families to get together and celebrate.
Faizan Zaidi traveled all the way from Connecticut, USA, to spend Ramadan and Eid with his loved ones. He had enjoyed Ramadan a lot, saying, “It was pretty good. Took a day or two to get into the routine because of the summers and I looked forward to meeting my family. Nothing is more relaxing and entertaining than spending time with your family on Eid.”
Pre-Eid euphoria is manifest most in shopkeepers. This is the busiest time of the year for them, and with business booming, they have every reason to celebrate.
“Ramadan is usually the best time of the year for us since our businesses thrive in the run up to Eid, people come from all across the city to shop at our fabric store and it gives us a little extra as well to spend for our families so we can make it an extra special day on Eid!” said Ahmad Khan, owner of a fabrics store.
For some shopkeepers the going got a little tough, “I work here in the Urdu Bazaar; work gets hard during Ramadan even though the working hours are shorter, but work we must! So we wait for the Eid celebrations to start and this year just like every other hopefully, we’ll celebrate it with the same enthusiasm and joy. Eid is happiest for the kids and we adults get caught up in the festive mood too,” said Obaid Ahmed a shopkeeper.
Markets all over the city are decked with twinkling lights and anticipation is in the air. It is as if something wonderful is about to happen, and indeed, Eid is a wonderful day as people all over the world bid adieu to the hard month of Ramadan and look forward to new Islamic year.
“The stalls are beautifully decorated and you can feel an air of festivity. In most market places there is extreme family oriented environment which makes you want to go out and celebrate Eid.” said Sanaa Khan, a research analyst.
Zoon Ahmad, a shopper at Y-Block Defense added, “This doesn’t look like the same Y block I drive through every single day! With colorful bangles and fairy lights everywhere the place has transformed completely. Families and youngsters can be seen having a great time.”
With Eid just a few hours away, one can only express hope that it is a joyous day for every person in the country, for happiness is for everyone. We do not have Christmas and Thanksgiving, we do not celebrate Halloween and Easter. But we do have two wonderful Eids in a year, and the one fast approaching should only just be peaceful, happy and comfortable. Eid Mubarak!
Eid prayer timings
7:00am Muslim Mosque (Lohari Gate)
7:00am Jamia Mosque (Station)
7:00am Outside Qaddafi Stadium
7:00am Chowk Dharampura
7:00am Ideal Park (Township)
7:00am Jamia Mosque (Township C-1) 7:00am Mosque Ishaq (Ghoray Shah), 7:00am Mosque Tayyaba (Mustafa Town) 7:00am Jamia Mosque (Shershah Colony) 7:00am Markazul Madina Mohlanwal 7:00am Jamia Masque (Maraka), 7:00am Riazul Jannah (Awan Town Peeco) 7:00am Defence Main Bulevard
7:00am Jamia Mosque (Township C-3).
7:15am Ittefaq Mosque (Model Town), 7:15am Chowk Shalimar Gardens.
7:30am Hanfia Ghuasia (Bhaati Gate), 7:30am Central Cricket Ground ,
7:30am Jamia Mosque (Samanabad)
7:30am Jamia Mosque (PU, Campus)
7:45am Central Mosque (UET)
7:45am Jamia Mosques (DHA sector
B, C, K, M, N, Q, V, X, Z, XX, AA,
CC, GG, HH, F and D).
8:00am Jamia Mosque Data Darbar (RA)
8:00am Jamia Mosque Dalgaran Chowk
8:00am Jamia Mosque Pir Makki (RA) 8:00am Jamia Mosques (Phase I to five DHA)
8:15am Jamia Mosque Neela Gunband 8:15am Gulshan-e-Zafar Colony
8:30am Jamia Mosque Wazir Khan
8:30am Jamia Mosque Shah Kamal
8:30am FCC Scheme No-4 (Ground)
8:30am Jamia Mosque (Main Market)
8:45am Badshahi Mosque
9:00am Jamia Mosque Mian Mir (RA)
9:00am Mosque Shah Jamal (Ichra)