By Marzia Rahman
Migration is tough, littered with blank memories and a bleak future. It’s not something you ever hope to do.
Yet, you find yourself standing in a long queue, with a tiny bundle in hand, despairing to do or not to do? Fleeing a country that you naively thought yours. Stepping on a country that you know nothing about. That would never accept you as her own. Non-belonging is not a breezy concept, a topical topic in a critical theory. It’s an unnerving parable of human condition that no human ever yearns for.
You shudder, clasping the tiny bundle, containing your entire household, your sixteen years of life. Behind you, in a burnt house of a burnt village, your parents, your old grandmother and your two young siblings buried under the ideological beliefs of the state. Too complicated to grasp. Too easy to elude. “They don’t want you”— a clear and loud message the government sent to your people through army, arson, and atrocity.
Where is God? Your silly query swirls in the smoky air of a plundered village where dead people shrouded beneath dead humanity.
Tears fall on the tiny bundle, too small to carry so much misery. How can you leave your home where every dusty road is filled with memories, stories and songs? Where once a young man presented you a handwritten poem and a lotus flower. Where is he now? Dead or alive? Will he search for you?
The long queue gets smaller, some move forward, a few cries looking back at the village while boarding the boat.
They ask for money.
A gold chain, a few coins, a nose pin?
You have none.
Yet, the duo, one boatman and a middleman let you in. They have other means to usurp the debt.
You are crammed between a family with five children, an old woman with acne and a little boy with a broken toy. There are others, men, women, children—your people—hunched and twisted in a small, shabby boat in silence.
Hours after hours, you travel in an opaque night under a livid moon. The endless sea stretches endlessly. What is the name of the sea? No one knows. Your people are poor farmers, illiterate housewives. None of you have ever read history, geography or geology. Ever stood in front of the Taj Mahal or saw any of the seven wonders. You have no idea of its existence. How would you know the glow of the sea is called sea sparkle? How would you grasp that it’s not magic but the phosphorescent waves lighting up the night?
Soon, you and your people would reach a new place. A new country with fresh troubles. Maybe, a new hell. Yet, each of you pray earnestly to reach there safely and soundly. You have no desire to be part of the global headlines. To be found lying face-down on some unknown beach.
All you want is a new home. To build new dreams.
Marzia Rahman is a Bangladeshi writer. Her writings have appeared in several print and online journals. She is currently working on a novella. She is also a painter. This story was first featured in the Writing Places Anthology.
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