Wednesday, December 10

Pakistan, Day Fourteen: Slaughter Time!

After what seemed like an age of sleep I managed to recover quite a bit this morning. I was no longer spewing stuff from both ends at least, although I was feeling a bit weak from the lack of nourishment during the last 24 hours.

I was strong enough to hang out for the second day of sacrifice – it's not as numerous or as exciting as the first day, but it was good enough as I witnessed my father do away with two goats. He had a cow to do later on in the day; after lamenting how I wish I had been perky enough to slaughter a goat he graciously offered me Daisy (not her real name) instead; a bit too gleefully now that I think about it.

I first met Daisy later on this morning, around 11am. She was clearly shaken after a day and a half of watching her kin being taken under the knife, but after a while she calmed down and allowed us to pat and groom her. And once again a lady misplaces her trust in me.

It was finally time to do the deed. With the help of some hired butchers, Daisy was brought to the ground, tied up and held, her neck ready for the knife I held in my hand. Reciting a little prayer, I took the blade to the place I was told to, slicing once, twice, perhaps three times before the blood began to spray on to my hands. Despite how it sounds it was a very smooth cut (or very sharp knife) and I felt no resistance; in fact I'm pretty certain Daisy didn't feel anything either until the knife was taken out of my hands in order to finish her off. Hey look, it was my first time okay? And it didn't help that I had a big butcher in the way.

Washing my hands of her blood, I began to assess what just happened. Strangely I didn't really feel anything for Daisy – it was almost as if she had literally already become a piece of meat way before a knife got anywhere near her. To be honest I'm a bit surprised at this lack of feeling or that I didn't feel any remorse. Meh, perhaps I'm a cold hearted bastard after all?

An hour later and the butchers had cut up Daisy into smaller and more manageable chunks (including her brain), amusingly bits of her still pulsating even after this much time. Two hours later and we had our first taste of the meat. Disappointingly it didn't taste any different to me.

There's more to the qurbani than merely slashing a poor beast's throat. This cow was offered on behalf of my parents and me (amongst others – a cow is good for seven people) and the meat was to be given away to neighbours and poor people living nearby. I'd even say that this bit was harder than the actual slaughter – it was pretty damn hot.

On a side note I also had my first bike ride this trip – man, I've always loved these and they've been one of the reasons I come to Pakistan. Unfortunately due to recent trouble in the area two men on a single bike has been banned (the passenger assuming the gunner's role), so my ride was pretty short lived.

Later that evening we had a pretty awesome barbecue. A part of me is waiting to see if Daisy has the last laugh by exerting her revenge on my stomach.