“Junaid, you must remain quiet else we will all land in trouble”, the father whispered.
“But I am hungry, and its dark and suffocating here”, little Junaid tried to argue.
The truck carrying them outside the country came to a screeching halt in the middle of the desert. Junaid was trying to say more but his father closed his mouth with hand. Sounds of boots neared.
Six year old Junaid did not understand war. He was promised by his father that if he behaves well in the journey, they will soon reach a new land where they will have food for each meal and won’t have to stay in burrows. For the last few months they were surviving on meagre food or, sometimes, no food. Things worsened after the bomb took away their house and his mother. They had to shift in the burrows with other refugees. Junaid still wonders why mother was not returning from the visit to God. But he believes the new land will change everything. His father had promised him so.
Quick exchange of words reached the travelers. The truck was opened. The inmates were pulled outside one by one. Everyone was shivering in fear of the inevitable. Only Junaid was happy. Fresh air after two days. Ah freedom, he thought.
Sounds of bullets shattered the silence of the night. Junaid never knew freedom comes with heavy price.
Written by Sreeparna Sen
Sreeparna Sen is a banker by profession, dreamer by compulsion and writer by passion.