Today, I'm going to talk about the other side, the dark side of something that millions of people around the world celebrate; Eid.
Here's what you don't know about Eid:
The exploitation of labour.
Every year at chaand raat, thousands of girls are hired for henna application purposes. Some, that are fortunate enough to have contacts of their own are directly hired by these individuals and so they spend the whole day working. Then, at the end of it, they go home with all the money have earned.
Most girls, however, are not so fortunate. They are hired by salons or some other form of middle-man, that takes gives them only a percentage of the total earnings. This is ridiculously unfair. Henna application is something that's labour intensive and then giving that labourer less than half of what they have earned for the salon is ridiculous.
As if the unfair pay wasn't bad enough, these girls come in every age group! I've seen girls of not more than 10 years of age, sitting there in those tents and salons, working so they can make a quick buck. This is child labour. They aren't paid right. And its not as if only the really sketchy places and shady areas of town hire these under-age girls. Just this year, I saw a 15 year old working at a well known sports club. And I'm sure she wasn't the youngest girl there.
To top it all off, these girls work long hours and into the late hours of the night. The classier establishments and salons close around a standard 1 a.m. while there is no definite closing time for the other places. Those young girls are responsible for their own transport home. Those young girls live far away from those well known, classier, establishments so they get home around 4 a.m. But before they can go home, they must deal with women straight out of a nightmare. They get yelled at by women who aren't satisfied with their henna. It's a sad and ugly truth but they do encounter a few such women that will yell at them, whole-heartedly so.
They also have to deal with constant comparisons. So because people can choose which girl applies their henna, they will go around judging the girls' work. There's nothing wrong with picking the girl who's application you like most; after all, you do pay for it....but it isn't fair when people go around and voice out negative opinions. These girls are human, they have emotions. You can't tell her you think she's a horrible artist. You can't say "Oh, you're a horrible henna artist, I'm going to the lady behind you". Those girls have been working like robots, pausing only to take sips of their tea in between customers, and they sit there and take your yelling and your criticism and the antics of your little children and then take home less than half of what they earned. Well guess what? They didn't sign up for your shit.
No one's asking you to praise them for work that isn't quite what you wanted. But you don't need to be a jerk about it. But when you do like your work, or even if its not the best you've seen, please do tip your henna-girl. They come from families that aren't as financially stable as yours. They do this because they need this extra money. They might need the change to pay for their transport home. Please understand that establishments also hire girls that have zero experience with henna application Please keep in mind that this girl with zero experience...SHE'S BARELY THIRTEEN YEARS OLD. She goes to school, of course she's not as talented as that instagram artist you want her to copy. And please for the love of God, don't yell at her. You chose to have her do your henna. The hand you are dealt is on you. Even if it does look horrible, speak to the management about it and have them drop your fee. Or just be a nice person and let the henna-girl make a little more money. Your henna will fade away and no one will think less of you if your henna didn't turn out that great.
EID IS ABOUT GIVING. EID IS ABOUT SHARING. EID IS ABOUT CELEBRATING AND BEING MERRY. STOP RUINING THE SPIRIT AND PURPOSE OF EID.