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The Illegal Trotter Roasting Scandal

October 22, 2013

I read a Pakistani newspaper today.  It was a revelation.  As far as completely confusing articles go, it took the biscuit.  I thought I had a handle on the religious holiday we’ve just had.  It turned out that I hadn’t got a clue about the niceties and, having read the newspaper, I still don’t.

It all started last week with an Eid holiday.  There was an ‘Eid’ at the end of Ramadan in August when everyone had a big feast and a few days off work.  So it was all a bit confusing  when we had another one last week.  However a lengthy study of many weighty tomes on religious festivals (ok, a quick scan of wikipedia) revealed that Eid is actually the arabic term for ‘holiday’.  I didn’t know that before. I do now.  There are 6 Eids in total during the year.  This one was, to be precise, Eid Al-Adha.

It commemorates the time when Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son, Isaac.   Your good muslim goes,  any time in the week before, to buy some unsuspecting livestock to be taken into the family home and slaughtered on the day.  Then it’s burnt and the parts are split into three, one part for the family, one to be given to friends and one to be given to the poor.

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Ok, so I’ve got all the grass I can eat, but I’m bored.  My life is empty. I want adventure, fun, new challenges, wide vistas – I want to travel.  I hear Pakistan is nice, this time of year.  A young calf could do well there.  Yes, Pakistan’s the place for me.  I’m off. What could possible go wrong…. [Photo credit: Allie Caulfield]

There had been some interesting movements in the livestock markets in the last couple of days of Eid.  There were huge pens of goats, cattle and buffalos in the streets and, the night before Eid, the traders lost their nerve and offered huge discounts (BOGOF on goats with horns anyone?) to avoid having to take any animals back home.  However this year, feel a pang of sympathy for the muslim chappie who would, if he were a Christian, be racing round garage forecourts on Christmas Eve looking for an unopened box of Celebrations.  This year, the run on livestock on the eve of Eid meant that prices on Eid itself were astronomic.  One chap went out to buy a calf and had to take home a weedy goat. He wasn’t looking forward to seeing him wife.

So far, so good – “husband disappoints in holiday shopping saga”- I’d got a handle on it.  That was, until I got to the next article to find someone being arrested in Lahore for carrying intestines.  The crime was, apparently, that he was suspected of being about to burn them.  He claimed he was just carrying them for a friend, but that buttered no parsnips with the Pakistani Police Department.  They could, it seemed, spot contraband intestines when they saw them.  I have to say that I thought the burning thingie was sort of the point, but there seemed to be an exception for intestines.

Likewise, it seemed from the same article, that there had been an outbreak of illegal trotter roasting.  Yep.  There were 7 designated sites in the city in which you could roast your trotters or, if you fancied,  your sacrificial head.  And yet, despite this wealth of pits of fire, people were burning trotters and heads all over the place.  Trotter Anarchy.  What was to be done?  The police were slapping fines down left, right and centre but, from the article, it seemed that the offal arsonists prevailed.

I’m pleased to say that Eid is now passed and there are no longer shady characters hiding in doorways in long trench coats peddling intestines, which is nice.  That said, I haven’t read the paper yet today.  Who knows what new and seemingly incredibly random excitement I’m totally unaware of?

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