I hear the siren from a distance.
I pat off the sand from my hands and run hurriedly towards the sound. The siren of the ship is getting closer. And I feel my nerves beginning to beat faster.
Should I go, or stay back?
We had struggled and we had persisted; and we had hoped to hold our feet to our land. There were fires; there was hunger; there were insults – yet, we had hoped to hold our feet to our land. The filial bonding between our people and the ground below our feet did not seem to perish. Days, weeks, months and years had passed; yet, we had hoped to hold our feet to our land. But, it wasn’t long before we saw our people losing their lives – the ones who had once laughed and struggled with us.
As all good and bad things come to a close, our hope came too. Our people began to move apart one by one. One day, it was my turn. After days’ of gathering strength from within, I could at last board that ship, that day.
I didn’t know where I was being taken to. I didn’t have people to call as my own. After all, I had given up almost everything that I thought I had owned since my first day here in this world. There wasn’t anything more to lose. I had abandoned the last hope from the weakest of my bones the day the ship had started from our place. The past – from the sound of my giggles as a child to the smell of the toast we had had in the refugee camps – would fill my thoughts throughout the day, and the night. Time was frozen in the sound of the waves, touch of the sun and brush of the winds. I didn’t know how long or how far I had traveled when I had begun to feel the excitement around.
It was like a magical word, buzzing around us.
I stepped out, on to a land which isn’t our’s, for the first time. That first step on the pink sands, I didn’t know then, was actually a giant leap to my life. As I dipped my feet into the cool waters of Sicily, I felt holy-washed – of the confinement that had docked me to my past wharf of shame and suffocation. Our land, our land, our land – how many times have I choked under the custody of attachment?!
I looked above. The Sicilian skies hoarding a hue of colours at dusk, I thought, would make the rainbows go jealous. Perhaps, the sky is so vast and meaningful as it appears here. I didn’t know where I would go from here the next minute. But, I had set my heart now, at this juncture of my life, to hold tightly in my arms, the liberty this world is willing to offer me. It is so colossal – this world – that it is foolish to believe any one place as our land.
In the months that followed, I had a bunch of people with me. None I would call as my own, because I had realized none really had to be called my own. It didn’t matter along which latitude or longitude we were born, we all could still become brothers and sisters as we crossed paths along another line on the globe. We were Muslims and Christians, but it didn’t matter which God we prayed to when one of us would fall sick.
I soon had a job at the fish market. I would secretly whisper to the bucket of live eels everyday to rise above the rim of the bucket and ebb down to the bottom of it, for that is what their world – the bucket of water – has to offer them. We would spend hours at the Cathedral Square, listening to the stories of the tourists – the stories of people and culture about far-off places. That is how one day, I was asked if I would like to move to the North.
What seemed far-off once, wasn’t anymore. In fact, we aren’t truly far off from anywhere on this earth. To an openminded soul, even the farthest of the poles is just a stone’s throw away.
I heard someone whisper into my ears as the first snow flakes of my life touched my palm. The lights, the buzz and the smiles all around the new city I was at, reflected for the nth time that this world is colossal. I had never dreamed before that I would spend a Christmas at a place where it belonged to. See, something I had thought which belongs to one place now belongs to everywhere in this world.
That is how you and I too are. We belong to everywhere!
I soon found my love, had twin boys and we later moved to the East. The East gave me an enriching experience of life and philosophy. I shall continue this story of exploration to every next day of my life, until I wouldn’t have one, for I believe there isn’t a destination at all in the journey of a traveler.
The above narrative is a fiction about how a refugee begins to embrace the world from nowhere to everywhere.
Aren’t we all in a way refugees in this world?
When life at our place is confining, we need to move. We need to travel to explore what the rest of the world has to offer us. We can be surprised by the sky at an unknown place. We can be loved by unknown people at far-off lands. And we can learn to embrace unknown philosophies of the unknown ancients.
That is how we #SayYesToTheWorld to begin creating #TheBlindList of our lives!