Motherland

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we are approaching the new found land. I would like to congratulate all of you who had dared to come this far amidst all adverse conditions to venture into the new open world. This is your Captain speaking. Have a prosperous and happy life ahead as you had imagined. Thank you very much” concluded the announcement over the broadcasting speakers in every corners of the ship. It was reaching the shore of a new country enriched with much resources and opportunities than its origin. Hundreds of people risked their lives to reach this destination. They were among many who had made it to this destination not knowing what happened to the rest who were not such fateful. They did not know what exactly awaited there for them to welcome.

When the ship reached ashore, passengers started getting off. It was a huge gathering of people inside the ship waiting to get outside. Everyone was well informed and warned previously about dos and don’ts in this shore. They came out of the ship with both of their hands held up high and carrying identification card on their hand. Weary of the prolonged and unsafe travel for so long, they could not take a close look at the entire infrastructure in front of them. They were thankful to God that they could complete the journey. They were well aware that they have just reached the border area of a new state. They were emigrants of their very own country without any choice. They hoped that as an immigrant they would live peacefully in this new country where they were eager to enter.

The border police were about to scrutinize their identification and all the belongings that they could bring with them. As directed by the officials, the immigrants stood in a queue. Lines of barbed wires directed them to form a single person queue towards the entry point of the country. It was a long queue and they had no choice other than withstanding this waiting under scorching sun for indefinite period of time. They had to abide by all rules and did as the officials say as returning back to their own country was never an option from the time they set their foot on the ship. After questions and answers for prolonged time and checking of all sorts in the belongings, they were allowed to enter into the country. They only hoped for a good life. They did not imagine an easy life but hardworking peaceful one. They were about to experience the reality.

Thankfully, the border police was barring some of the materials they were carrying, not people. It was a huge relief for them. They were unable to drag their belongings due to exhaustion but they were determined to pass every test they would be subjected to cross the border police barricade and enter into the state.

Amidst people trail, Naved was standing straight supporting his mother right in front of him. He was relieved to have completed this journey with his mother. His mother was not particularly ill but it was very risky considering her age and tenure and condition of the journey they embarked upon. He took utmost care of her mother throughout the entire journey and his efforts paid off. His mother was standing in the queue with him waiting to be inspected by border police in a while. He was carrying heavy luggage on his back, following his mother.

The queue was moving very slowly. Many a time the movement stalled to provide short break to the officers. After a long wait, finally Naved and his mother reached the immigration officer’s desk.

The officer in his fifties scrutinized their identification card. He was sipping a cup of coffee. He had a look at Naved’s mother and asked her name. He asked her to look at the camera on top of the desk. Naved’s mother complied. The officer had seen many people coming to his country in the recent past, people of all age and economical background. He was quiet aware of what was going on in those immigrants home country. He was quiet sympathetic to the situation but also he was practical about the situation in his own country.                He was aware of what problems would arise once his country hosts all these immigrants. Nonetheless he had to abide by the rules of his government and allow these peoples to enter his own homeland.

The officer did not ask many questions to Naved’s mother and let her enter inside. Now, it was Naved’s turn. The officer scrutinized Naved from head to toe and started enquiring.

“What was your profession?” enquired the officer.

“I am a sugarcane farmer sir. I had three acres of land and worked there myself”, the reply came in a very humble tone.

“Ok. You are a farmer. So you must value your land which provided you bread and butter for so long? Have you lost all of it in recent days?” asked the officer looking at Naved’s eyes.

Naved was standing there indifferent to any questions and replied “Yes. I valued my land more than my life; it not only fed me but my entire family. I lost all of my land recently. I only have my old mother with me here and in my life”.

“I am sorry for your family but why did you embark upon such a difficult journey with your mother? Every country goes through political turmoil. This phase is temporary. Why did you leave your motherland that had been so kind to you for so many years?” asked the officer in irritating voice.

Naved looked up and met his eye to the officer’s. He directed the officer’s attention towards his mother waiting inside the barricade for him and replied “Sir, I value my land but I value my mother more than anything. Her safety and good health is what I desire the most in these days. My motherland is where my mother lives. Look at her now. She will be living in this country from now on. I do not know if you people understand or not, for me, it is my motherland”.

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