Deepti Khanna



Deepti Khanna


The Sole Migrant

The Sole Migrant

4 mins

Heatwaves, were striking on the expressway. Sun glint thrashed on the heads of the horde, who were walking on the roads. 

Some peddled cycle, some on feet, people headed towards their villages carrying whatever they have reaped in the years, they had dwelled in their cities, of dreams.

Mumbai was worse affected by the pandemic. Migrants, who worked on a daily basis were badly affected. They were left with no jobs, as all construction sites, factories were shut down due to LOCK DOWN.

The migrant of our story Muhammed Islam, had been living in Mumbai for past ten years. He worked in a factory and whatever he earned, he sends it to his family, who lived in a small village named Beed. He had three kids who, regularly called him saying "Abbu, when you will come back" and each continued with its own list laptop, new clothes and rest list went on. 

His wife Salma a shy village lady, never spoke on the phone. It had been years that Muhammad had spoked to her personally. However, at the end of every call, he could hear gracious voice from behind "come soon" and with those comforting words Muhammad Islam worked hard to gather all the worldly happiness for his family. 

But when the factory was shut down because of the pandemic he was left with no work. For a few days he moved from door to door for work, but because of the fear of Chinese virus he returned empty-handed.

Muhammad Islam soon realized that he should recede back to his homeland Beed

But the question was how ? 

As, all the trains and other means of transportation was closed Muhammad thought why not take a long walk to his town Beed.

So Muhammad began his long journey to his hometown on foot, fetching all the valuables he had bought for his family. Steadily he moved towards his little hamlet which was about eight hundred kilometers from his waged manor.

The sun was screaming from above , and the roads were steaming hot waves from within. Muhammad started his journey alone, but he was not alone, the high ways were filled with people like him.

Pandemic had embedded terror in Muhammad's heart. He had covered his face with a cloth and tried creating social distance from the lot. 

Thirst and hunger feigned him to stop, but the sweet memories of his kids, helped him to walk ahead. Sweat rolled down his body, as he moved, a two days road trip had become a long walk for him, as he searched for water in a drought resistant area, his feet were trembling from weakness. There was no one to help him, all who were walking with him were left behind or had collapsed on ground.

Slowly and steadily he dragged his feet as his hawai chapel had also worn down. Heat was causing illusions on him, he saw his kids calling out "abbu" and running towards him.

Salma his dear wife smiling behind them. 

Soon night came over, and moon rays bought peace and solace to him from heat.

But the night bought the danger of wild animals. As he walked slowly on the highway snakes crossed his way, but Muhammad didn't stop and carried on his journey. 

Early morning he saw a truck coming towards him . The driver saw him alone and reluctantly gave him a lift and his hazardous slow journey got a kick.

Destiny had written something else as Muhammad was tried to be robbed by the truck driver. Muhammad pulled his bag from him and ran for his life. 

His bag had a handful of bangles for Salma, a new clothes, and a few thousands which he had saved in a month or two. He ran breathlessly on the road, regularly seeing behind, if someone was following him.

His white clothes were soiled with mud and dirt. Blood oozed out from his feet and as he strangled himself to move forward to his "Beed.”

After two days long journey Muhammad saw the sign board on "Beed" and with full energy he limped and walked towards his village. All his fatigue was drowned on seeing his village territory. He was so thrilled on the thought of meeting his family that he laughed and screamed in bliss. He waved calling out his kids name and as he stepped in his village ingress, he flaked out.

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