As Eid-ul-Fitr coming closer many universities have already went into long vacations and the rest will follow suit soon. The vacation triggers an odyssey of going back to home for students whose ancestral homes are far-off from their universities. In preparation for the vacation many pass an exciting time and their tales of travel unfurls in a diverse form, as diverse the means of transport.
Asif ul Islam is from Cox’s Bazar. He studies in Dhaka University and resides in S. M. Hall. In an attempt to avoid a nagging traffic jam before Eid he prefers journey by train. But getting the ticket is not quite easy and every year it presents different experience. Last year he had to wait in queue for a long 15 hours. “Anticipating that the line for females will be a shorter one I took my girlfriend to the train station, but ironically there was no separate line for girls,” recalls Asif.However, the ordeal did not end in getting the ticket. On the day of journey back to home he found no trace of his desired train in station on time. And no one knew when it would come. Then the waiting began and it was an awful experience to him. So he picked up conversation with some fellow passengers. And they had to pass 6 hours playing cards on the station.
While travelling by train, many others team up with their fellow regional friends and book tickets in the same compartment of a train. As Nasir Hussein put it: “Last year we a total of 12 friends went to Chittagong together. Our journey passed off with lots of exciting friendly banter.”
However, those who travel by Bus are likely to trap in long traffic jam which intensifies before Eid. As Shafiq Ahmed, a student of Jagannath University, said: “Several years ago when I was travelling back to home in Jessore I was caught up in a horrible 24 hours of traffic jam while Dhaka to Jessore is only 6-7 hours of journey by bus. It was about four days before Eid and we a group of friend got on a bus from Gabtoli on that fine morning. The bus started off fine and we reached Savar in no time. Then the disaster happened! We were stuck in Aricha ferry Ghat for about 12 hours, reached Magura the day after and got off from Bus in Jessore after spending some 30 hours in Bus. I will never forget that horrible journey.”
However, those who are from Southern region and travels through water-route don’t suffer due to traffic jam while travelling home during Eid. Rather it is quite an exciting journey as narrates Azizul Haque who is from Barishal. “Before Eid I board a ship with bag and baggage from Dhaka Sadar Ghat. During the 7-8 hours journey I can sleep on the deck by unfurling a mat. However, the thing I enjoy most during the journey is standing on the deck and looking over the horizon while gentle breeze nudges me.”
Enduring such bittersweet experiences, they rush to home as the attraction of their roots and near and dear ones outweigh all the sufferings. This is the time to reunite and rejuvenate. Who wants to miss this opportunity!
The writer is a freelance contributor