Hajj pilgrims get first-hand experience of balancing must-haves with have-nots
Mecca, Saudi Arabia – “Dear pilgrim. Avoid carrying your luggage on trains and crowded places.”
This rather concise text message from Saudi civil defense sums up the need of the hour as far as the logistical challenge of moving millions of pilgrims are concerned.
On the other hand, it is difficult to imagine people from faraway countries reaching Mecca without bare necessities.
It boils down to a careful balance between fulfilling one’s needs and caring about others, the lesson in life that occasions such as Hajj only reinforce.
Dubai-based Hisham, who made it to Hajj at the 11th hour, came with very basic luggage knowing full well that it’s easier to buy them in the local market than going through the hassle of carrying them.
“Local markets understand the needs much better. I would be looking like a fool trying to find a waist pouch in Dubai. But here all groceries have it,” he says.
According to him it’s better to organize oneself rather than pick up things that you may or may not need.
It’s not the same logic with Shahina, who has also flown in from London via Dubai.
She wanted to avoided the risk of trying to find medicines that may or may not be available here.
“I would rather load myself than spend hours looking for something in a city that’s difficult to navigate at the moment,” she said.
Read more dispatches from our Hajj correspondent: