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Sam had been visually disturbed after he had read the contents of the message the thick brown envelop contained for him. He looked at the package lying   at his table in the small office of the local community centre. This center was   situated in Mississauga an average upper middle class locality mostly inhabited by south Asian working groups whose fore fathers had migrated from their countries of origin to make a better living for themselves in a prosperous yet sparsely populated land of Canada . Sam had read the words “urgent and by air “written in bold letters on the outer cover many times. He had also glanced at and repeated aloud to himself each and every word of the letter many times over ever since it had been delivered by a special courier. He picked up the bundle of photographs of the couple that were sent along with the letter and closely looked at their faces. These photographs had been sent along with the letter by their family great Priest from the distant land of his fore fathers.  Both the husband and his wife appeared a very young couple who had been recently tied into the marital knot. Sam knew that “Only the brides who have been very recently been married were supposed to wear the kind of bangles this girl in the picture had been adorning. It was a social ritual to dress up like this in that part of the country. The girl was simply over laden by the gold ornaments she had been putting on her neck and arms”.  He noticed that she had also decorated her forehead with a long and pencil thin vermillion spot. She was kind of   indicating her marital status to the world at large.

  “But why would such a youthful and innocent looking couple who was still enjoying the freshness of their young marital bliss would seek to migrate out of their home country on a political asylum plea”. It was beyond Sam to understand and figure out the reason. 

He had many a times earlier helped new brides settle down in Canada, but those were the girls whose husbands had already been working in Canada on a work visa for sometimes. They had found it difficult to find a love mate for themselves in their adopted country of residence. It was but a natural tendency for such boys to fetch their brides from their home country.

 “Such luxury of finding a Spanish girl waiting for her prince charming from the land of Aryans was a rare occurrence in my case only “, he said to himself” as he remembered how he had found love for his tired soul in the little sparkling eyes of a   lovely bride from Spain. She was visiting Canada as a student on some kind of study exchange understanding program between the two countries. During her study abroad she was required to be staying with different families of foreign origin in Canada to understand their day to day living habits and cultures.  She was also studying the impact of the foreign culture on the offspring of these foreigners.  Her one of the projects included a stay at the farms of the family who had adopted Sam as their son. Since the old couple themselves could not take her around to show her their farms. They had asked Sam to take her around even though he could communicate with her only in broken English language. In fact their language of communication involved more of signs and gestures rather then the words.

 It was but natural that their living together through the day and night for a month long period had resulted into mutual infatuation and liking for each other. Once Sam had jokingly asked her “will you like to become my Indian bride?”  She indicated by the movement of her hands and fingers that she would like to be his bride provided she never was asked to go back to her  own country .   To his surprise he found her eagerly interested in settling down in Canada in order to take care of the old couple in their old age.  The old couple who had been deprived the pleasures of having any children of their own were too happy to learn that they were getting a daughter in law also along with their adopted son. The marriage a low key affair had been solemnized in the local community center in the presence of the local parishioners. 

Sam was only fourteen years old when he had to flee to Canada. He was living along with his two siblings and his old parents in a small village in India. He knew that meager income earned by his father from a small land holding could hardly help them make their ends meet, yet he was too small a child to do any thing about it. Many a times his father had wanted to migrate to the near by large town to find some kind of employment as a laborer so that he could fend for his family members. Living was getting hard to come by in India as their family had grown in size. The small piece of agriculture land had been shrinking every time a new mouth to feed had been brought to the world of human species by the married members of the family. Such frequent fragmentation of cultivable land often led to recurrent fracas within the family members. They were alienated from each other yet almost living under the same roof due to lack of resources to build another dwelling for the separated family members. It was during one such heated argument between his father and one of the cousins’ of his father that Sam had lost his cool and hit the cousin brother of his father with the shovel.

 He had carried the shovel with him to control and direct the flow of water from the rivulet to their farm lands for irrigation of crops. The small rivulet carrying canal waters that passed through their fields was the only source of irrigation for the farming community. The village panchayats had allocated every family different days of the weak when they could divert river waters to their fields in order to ensure each family in the village got sufficient waters to raise their crops.

 “ Come with me to the fields”, his father who always wanted his elder born to take to farming at the earliest in order to save expense on hired labor, had held him by the hand, “ I will teach you how to divert waters from one field to another for irrigation ”. As they reached their farms they noticed to their dismay that their farm was still completely dry even though his father had directed irrigating waters to the small piece of land a few hours earlier.  The cousin brother of his father had cut off the stream of water   pouring into their fields. He had diverted the flow of the brook towards the adjoining farmlands owned by him.

Sam’s father kept his cool and requested the person who had diverted water away, in a very polite manner, “my dear brother it is my turn today to tend to my little piece of land. I believe by mistake you have disturbed the run of waters going into my fields.  Please allow me to redirect the same so that the crops growing into   my farms can also be irrigated”.

His father’s cousin instead of listening to reason started use of filthy language against his father, “you mother… you sister ….how dare you touch the stream going into our fields”.

 Sam saw his father had still kept his temper in check.  He was telling his cousin brother who was much younger to him in age “let me tend to my agriculture fields at least for half a day only so that the plants growing therein can be moisturized. You are well aware that if I do not provide waters to these plants at this time of the year,  this vegetation will die of thirst and lack of irrigation.   You can utilize the balance half day from my kitty to irrigate your part of the land. I will personally divert this water into your fields once again”.

 The man who had abused Sam’s father continued hurling filthy words on both of them. Sam himself could have given in to any kind of ill-treatment if it was met out to his own person.  But he could not tolerate the insults being hurled by anyone on his father.  In a fit of rage Sam picked up the piece of iron shovel fitted on to a long wood handle from the ground. He lifted the iron shovel much above his head and   hit the man who has been abusing his father on the neck. The impact of the shovel hit the man so hard and sharp that it severed the head and face of his uncle from the neck.  A pool of blood had smeared his face. Sam’s father too had been drenched in the blood from the falling dead body. His father raised the young child in his arms and ran into the fields of sugarcane whose height could have hidden both of them.

 “What have you done my child? We will be hunted by the villagers and the policemen. They will hang us by the neck. You did not have to kill your uncle when I was simply talking to him.”

 “But father he was abusing you.”  Sam did not understand why his father was wailing and weeping. “Now that his uncle was gone we can have all the waters to ourselves. We will get enough yields to feed the family”, Sam told his father. His little and tiny reasoning refused to accept that he had done any thing wrong in hitting the man who himself was a thief and a man with foul language.   

 They walked through the sugarcane fields for days together till they arrived at the main city from where his father had asked him to board a truck to the capital town. The truck operator took pity on the emaciated young boy and fed him food on the way. It was truck operator who suggested “my sister’s family in Canada needs young men like you to work in their farm lands and if you agree to go their you can not only hide from the law but make a decent living too.” he had no other choice but to accompany the old lady who adopted him as a son and brought him to the distant lands. He had soon become a known new name “Sam” from the long forgotten address given to him by his biological parents.         

The small neighborhood inhabited by the Asians i.e.  Chinese, Pakistanis, Indians and Bangladeshis, of the Mississauga immigrants has never seen the kind of hot and warring arguments that took place in the community center this evening. The head of community center was elected every year by the members to manage the affairs of the community centre besides as head of the small knit family of immigrants from distant lands he was also in a way responsible to fight and argue for their better rights with the governmental authorities.  Sam had been voted the undisputed and unopposed head for this season too. His ideals of universal brotherhood, greater   sense of cosmopolitanism and humanism had always been appreciated by the members of the societies formed by the immigrants of different nationalities. They always felt that only he was capable of genuinely fighting for their rights with the members of the governing council of an alien government.  Sam had on his part too very conscientiously done every effort to keep the harmony of good relationships going between even citizens from countries who had traditionally been fighting never ending battles with each other otherwise.

“I know there are troubles brewing in my home state in the distant land but I believe such small differences of opinion are in fact the backbone of a greater democracy. Every time the ballot take place in any country there are political ripples created by the change over of the ruling statutes moving from one party to another. Each country of the world has always been in the hands of either rightists or the leftists. There is no middle path that could unite the thought and the philosophy of both and produce a government that could be acceptable to all citizens of the country. The politicians in order to keep themselves into the seats of power would often cross-floors as the opportunity presented itself to them. An unscrupulous politician who fought on the rightist’s ticket in last elections may opt for the leftist agenda this year if he believed that leftists will gain majority votes by fooling the electorate with attractive manifesto. It may so happen to the contrary if the politician believed otherwise.  Such freedom of thought and action though provided ample scope to any individual to select his own political ideology”. Sam had advocated his thoughts at the meeting of the community many a times.  In fact he had always wanted a change of guard even at the community center lest his opponents will start throwing mud and bricks at him too after a few years of his continuous support by the members. The media had been too strong in the west and the news of such troubles brewing at places wherever the incumbent remained more than the desired time in power had always found the main headlines in newspapers.   But that was not Sam’s point of anxiety and concern.

 He was disturbed at the news of whatever has been happening in his home country that he had left ages ago. As a matter of principle he did not want that the troubles brewing into the political realm of his home country should be brought to the land that had so lovingly adopted him first as a son and then as a responsible citizen. “But that the peaceful and harmonious atmosphere of this social living” Sam knew by now, “may not remain so”. Too many young boys and girls had been coming into the country by legal and illegal routes as stowaways and as the sufferers of political vendettas. They had all been looking for a political or human asylum into this country. Such huge turnouts of stow away and illegal immigrants were becoming cause of concern for this country’ government. It was just last week only that a question had been raised very seriously in the parliament by one of the labor group member of parliament.  Sam who had been virtually a stowaway himself with no identity, tag or marking of nationality or citizenship on him when he had landed onto the shores of this country; always sympathized with such people. This earth had also always sympathized with any one who knocked at its door for a genuine cause. But past few months’ clashes of the youngsters within Sam’s own community had put him on the alert. He would now generally avoid helping people in cases of any kind of immigration needs wherever he could. He had this time however been under too much obligation of the great priest Rajamantran. It was difficult for him to deny the priest a favor ordained by him.

  “I can understand the political compulsions and pressures exerted by the relatives from India on people living in Canada to help them in sending  their progeny into the foreign country to make quick money on account of currency differentials . I too have helped in sponsoring many a families from my village to this place. But this request or rather order from the head of the shrine had put me in a dilemma” Sam spoke to himself. “My sense of foreboding warns me that this young man about to enter the borders of my adopted abode will spell trouble in times to come. Yet I am in no position to refuse the great Priest”.

 Sam’s had checked with his source at the shrine. He told him “this young man had made an attempt to kill the home minister Aaham of the country. There is a police warrant issued against him in the home state. It is possible the international agencies could be on the look out for him. However a political asylum can help him avert arrest and gain entry into your country. You as a community representative will have to sponsor him initially as a tourist. May be later on he can lodge a legal claim for a political asylum on humanitarian grounds. The   great Priest ordains you to do this as he feels that this is only a small favor you will be doing to the shrine. Such services rendered by you will of course not go unrewarded.  You will be honored at the appropriate time by the shrine for giving your total self to the greater cause”.

 Sam reluctantly picked up envelop that was lying on the table. But this time he did not open it to look at the face portrait of young couple who were arriving by the late evening flight into Toronto Pearson International Airport. He pocketed the thick brown cover into his breast pocket. He rose himself up reluctantly to go to the airport. He had to collect the immigration lawyer on the way to the airport to get their request for tourist visa filed. It had to be done in advance before the young man and his newly wed touch the land of this adopted country. Immigration officer at the Toronto Pearson International Airport who had dealt with such cases by the dozen every day for past many years did not bother Sam with many questions. He stamped the temporary visa for the young couple. Sam had provided the personal guarantee for their civilized conduct during their stay.  He however knew that he may have to file their case for political asylum later on after they have actually entered the borders of this country. But Sam was aware that even getting a temporary tourist visa into this country had not been an easy task.   He will have to now ensure the young man do not get into his political activities in this country, at the very least till his appeal for a political asylum had been favorably granted. But he was still skeptic whether the visitor will get in touch with the doctor the master mind behind generating all kinds of political upheavals in India. The recent statements by the doctor and his call for a separate country and one more partition of their country that they had left behind had caused enough embarrassment for the community in this foreign land.

 

 

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