I bumped into an old acquaintance the other day. He’s a guy from the tribal areas of Pakistan who drives a taxi for a living. Like most Pakistani taxis, his is old, clunky, slow, and seemingly held together by little more than duct tape and force of habit. Like most Pakistani taxi drivers, he overcomes these shortcomings with a solid sense of humour, a total disregard for safety, and a lot of prayer. Every time he starts the engine, turns a corner or changes a gear he says the simple prayer “Bismillah” (“in the name of God”). I’m not quite sure if this habit is charming or worrying.
Anyway, I asked him how he was, how his family was, and how he spent Eid. For once his customarily cheerful face fell. He shrugged his shoulders.
“I’m a poor man. I couldn’t afford to sacrifice an animal. What kind of Eid is there for someone like me?”.