Flowers Of The Barren Land. April 2016 Muse Of The Month Winning Entry By Mehreen Shaikh

Posted: April 20, 2016

Immigrants to another land – what makes their children and grandchildren misfits in the land they are born in? April 2016 Muse of the Month winner.

This year, we bring you the Muse of the Month contest. Congratulations to all the winners of the April 2016 contest.

The cue for April 2016 was:

“‘How like the flowers we are,… knowing nothing of the fate we simply inherit from others.’”– Jaishree Misra, Rani.

The third winning entry is by Mehreen Shaikh.

Flowers Of The Barren Land

‘How like the flowers we are, knowing nothing of the fate we simply inherit from others.’

We were born displaced. We were seeds from a different soil. Our origins, our parents belonged to a grain, richer, redder, more luscious. Well rooted.

We were to be the same or essentially rising from the same earth. Only to find ourselves rolling in the sand. Sand that never stuck to our roots. Sand that never belonged to us nor held us but it was the only thing we knew and we called it home.

We moved swiftly like nomads in these barren ranges, in the scorching heat, passing by several like us. We made them our own along the way. Everyone as warm and welcoming like the sun burning our backs. It would look like a jubilant turf of golden sunflowers in the stillness of the desert. We were happy with the little world we had. Our families had picked our destinies for us. They would only want what’s best for us and we loved them ever so deeply for that. We thought this was the life and there was nothing beyond it.

There couldn’t be anything better than this. Because we never experienced the richness of our origins. We would never know the slickness of the red soil after the thirst quenching monsoon showers, the divine smell of the earth after the dampness, the security and sense of belonging that the sticky soil would give.

We visited them but didn’t accept them whole-heartedly as a part of us. We would get annoyed by the way it clung to us and didn’t let us move freely.

“You don’t remember us” they whisper, “it’s from this soil that you would emerge as a sap before your were transferred. This is where your family shoot grew out of and spread in the ancient canopy you see.”

“Yes but we were scattered. We moved from season to season.” We said. “How can you call it home when you have never felt it as such or never been there for much?”

We return to our home soil, that barren land. It’s dry and slips easy. We were told it has immense wealth and could guarantee us great lives. That is why we moved.

‘How like the flowers we are,… knowing nothing of the fate we simply inherit from others’

Winds pass by. Stronger and stronger with every year, moving the sand with it. We grow stronger too and we need soil to be strong with us. Alas! It no longer agrees with us! This sand that was once in our roots has become the sand in our eyes.

“You never belonged here!” they jeered “If you feel us not good enough anymore, then leave for the land of your origin,” they rumbled.

“But…. But…. But this is our home. We were born here. We belong here. This is the only thing we know.” We cried.

“You have taken all from us that it took you to be nurtured. Now it’s time to disperse and find your own pastures. One of your own origin,” they said.

‘How like the flowers we are,… knowing nothing of the fate we simply inherit from others.’

We slip away with our heads low in shame, for our love for our home turned unrequited. We soon became misfits in the only world we knew. We are misfits in the soil we emerged from. In this strait of our namesake ‘homes’ where do we go? Who do we belong to? Is there anything we can actually call our own? Does our home exist at all?

‘How like the flowers we are,… knowing nothing of the fate we simply inherit from others.’

Author’s note: Displacement. This story implies to directly indicate the situation of people displaced from homes or their countries especially when they were young such as me. When we grew up, there was no other place that we could fit in because, what we so lovingly called home, had turned against us and our own culture felt alien. This is for those who left home voluntarily too; in order to seek better futures for the ones they love. This is for those who were forced to flee the soil that they rubbed on their foreheads because someone with authority, pomp, power and pride decided their fate for them.

Mehreen Shaikh wins a Rs 250 Flipkart voucher, as well as a chance to be picked one among the 10 top winners at the end of 2016. Congratulations!

Image source: desert wild lilies by Shutterstock.

A rebellious 20-something Indian girl living in the Middle East, documenting my experiences and

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1 Comment

  1. The diaspora is always caught between the two worlds,beautifully narrated tale.

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