September 11, 2010

BANGLADESH: Festival time, alone, in an old age home

DHAKA, Bangladesh / / September 11, 2010

Eid in 'self-exile'

By Liton Haider senior correspondent

Nurul Anwar has seen it all happen, the mad rush to spend the Eid holidays with the loved ones for the past few days.

The 76-year old has nothing much to do, for that matter. In fact, he has decided not to spoil the party of his wife and daughter at his Kalabagan home.

People embrace outside of the Bangladesh National Eidgah ground in Dhaka after Eid-ul-Fitr prayers on Saturday, September 11.  Illustrative Photo by courtesy : Demotix

The retired contractor is seeing off Eid holidays in self-exile of sorts, spending what he believes his last days at an old home, Probin Hitoishi Shongho (welfare organisation for the elderly), in Agargaon.

"I'm an old man. Why should I ruin their Eid joy?" he tells in front of the veranda on the third floor of the old-age home on Saturday.

But he had his wife and one of his daughters back home. "I'm a modern man. Everyone has their own freedom. I don't want to invade their space."

Stalked by diabetes and old-age diseases, Anwar says he is mentally sound. The upside is that he does not have to worry about the money he needs to pay the old home.

Two of his three daughters have been married off; one of them who lives in the USA foots the bill.

He is proud of his daughter, who completed her studies from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and now has a well-paid job.

He sighs: "You know, old people are nothing but nuisance to others."

But the moan could not hide the fact that somewhere in the back of his mind, he may still long for the warmth of attention.