It started right after I was born, the race. My parents pushed me into the running without as much as a heads up. I was competing for the position before my first “Behhh”.
Their motive was clear, I had to be chosen. But I guess it’s only natural for them to want me slaughtered on Eid, after all they are my parents. And any respectable family wants their offspring to reach that level of achievement.
My parents had their own milk business, so they never got the chance to be chosen as qurbani (sacrificial) animals. My sister had to stay alive to produce more offspring. So it was all up to me now. They wanted me to go straight to heaven, though I was sure we would eventually end up there regardless.
I was just a regular goat, but I always felt different.
“Don’t be a human” my mother used to warn me and my family would laugh at the insult.
I used to get very offended when she would say this. It was true that I wanted more from life, but I would never even dream to be a part of mankind. Human beings thought they were superior, and maybe they were in many ways, but in the animal kingdom, every animal saw humans for what they really were – morons.
So when Bakra Eid came around (yes it was named after my lot, in your face cows!), every goat my age put on their best faces to become the chosen raans.
I, however, looked at the choosing in a different way. I wanted to be chosen yes, but I wanted to be chosen by the right human being.
Wouldn’t it be so much better if bakras could choose the humans they wanted to be sacrificed by?
I would ask my friends and they would just slowly move their mouths chewing grass and not respond.
Since I didn’t have much of a choice, I would observe the humans that came to the mandi (cattle market). I got to see the oddest of characters. Humans were loud, rowdy and violent. Every time a potential buyer came close, my anxiety would act up. When I saw a man is aggressive or doesn’t seem right, I would run in the other direction or display any form resistance that I could. Once I saw a man hit his small son for being naughty. When the same man came near me, I kicked him.
Then there was a young boy who came to me and said,
I was so tired of this joke, I kicked him too.
I soon came to be known as the wildest bakra of the lot. My family was extremely disappointed, I lost all my friends (by lost I mean they were sold). I knew this wouldn’t last long, someone would eventually pick me.
Then four days before Eid, a little boy and girl came running through the mandi. Children are the kindest of humans; animals wished that children never grew up into adult humans. These two in particular were naughty, but their father did not hit them, he wasn’t even angry. He ran around with them, laughing as they would, but making sure they didn’t get hurt. The children came towards me, and I started to feel anxious, but this time it was a good feeling.
“This one!” they screamed and jumped up and down.
The father smiled, made the deal with the vendors and I was sold. It was the proudest day of my life; I was chosen by a good man, a man who deserved my sacrifice and the sunnah that came with it.
Over the next few days, I had the best time of my life. The children never left my sight and the wife would feed me with her own hands. I would love it when the kids would sing,
“You are my dil, you are my jaan, the boti to my naan!”
(You are my heart, you are my life, the meat to my naan!)
The father would sing me songs and talk to me like a friend. When no one was around, he would tell me his problems and sorrows. Although, I was the one to be slaughtered in a few days, I began to feel sorry for this man.
It was then when I realised that not all human beings are bad people, they’re still morons but sometimes it’s because they have too much on their plate. Human beings also thrive on conflict, without problems and struggle, they would be as dull as cows. It was sad to know that they had been blessed with a mouth to speak and ears to hear. But they still lacked communication with each other, causing them to talk to pets or inanimate objects.
When the day of qurbani arrived, the father whispered sweet words of assurance in my ear, telling me it would be okay. I did not resist. Right before my last moments, I saw tears on the father’s face. From the corner of my eye, I saw the children and the wife standing far away, but I could see them crying. The children hid their faces in their mother’s burqa (veil) and cried.
That was when I knew, they hadn’t chosen me, I had chosen them. It was fate and I had chosen the right kind of human beings, people who deserved my sacrifice.
I wished them happiest of Eid, and left the world as the qasai (butcher) yelled,
“Allah hu Akbar.”
from The Express Tribune Blog http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/29618/hunger-games-2015-the-chosen-raan/