Many came not because of war or hunger but for a quest for greener a pasture. The issue is on its peak now and the whole world is talking about it. Every day new stories and adventures from adventurers who thought making it in life will only be here in Europe or in the western world. We can’t deny the fact that back home there are many things that have been left undone. The blame is shared both to the government and the citizens. But there are people still surviving and making it. Though it might look like survival of the fittest, but even in Europe, the life isn’t an easy one, not denying the fact that there are ample opportunity for one to scale through in life.
It was actually a coincidence and I never knew it was one of the main subjects of the day in the parliament. On normal occasions, I usually do my shopping twice a week, never allowing my basic needs like comestics and toiletries to be totally exhausted before replacing them. My shopping is done mostly at Termini Roma, in some of the Lebanese and Indian shops. School activities were becoming hectic as each day passes, and there was no time to go for shopping. Many times I have programmed myself to go for shopping immediately after lectures, only for me to remember when I am ready on my bed at night. Finally a day came. After a seminar in school, I decided to go for it. While on the train, I kept myself busy with a novel titled “Americanah” by Chimamanda. Where I was sitting, there were two other persons with an empty seat since the seats are four per roll. The empty seat was between the two other persons and I. A young woman came in, looked at me with an angry face, then looked at the empty seat and left. I was not surprised because it wasn’t the first time. But what was peculiar about it was the look. At another stop, passengers came in. A woman with her son were standing close to me. Her son made himself comfortable on the seat close to me but her mother ordered him to stand up. The little boy was angry, telling his mother that he would like to seat down. The mother never said anything. As the child insisted, she took him and changed their position. I took a good look to myself. “May be I forgot to shower that day. Or I forgot to brush my teeth before leaving my house. Or my clothes are so dirty that the odour oozing out from them was making others uncomfortable. ” These where the thoughts going on in my mind. But since the other two sitting beside me were still there, I was consoled a bit, convincing myself that my thoughts were all wrong. I was so absorbed in all the scenario that occurred at that moment that I didn’t know when I arrived at Termini station. I only realised that I was three stops ahead of my final stop Cornelia. The urge of changing platform wasn’t there. I decided to continue.
Alighting from the train, I decided to do the shopping in a shop close to my house where I usually buy bottled water. From the train station outside, I usually take a bus home. Still thinking about what happened inside the train, another scene unfolded itself again. I sat, and close to my seat, there was an empty seat. The bus was filled with passengers and nobody wanted to make use of the empty seat beside me. Someone came in, an aged man with a staff in his hand, which showed that he would definitely need a seat. I politely welcomed him to make use of the seat. He refused with a smile. Only for him to accept a seat someone offered him just behind me. I was perplexed. “May be I gave her the wrong seat,” I told myself. In the buses, there are seats meant for aged people. These seat are usually low in height, totally different from other seats in the bus that are high. I was totally confused. I looked behind when I was alighting, only for me to notice that the seat he was sitting on was like mine and not the ones meant for aged persons. “Why are people standing while there was an empty seat beside me? But why today both young and old all decided to stand while there is an empty seat bedside me? ” I asked myself. It was as if they planned to trouble me that very day. It was difficult for me to understand.
I arrived at the shop, picked one of the shopping baskets and started getting the items I needed. Later, I joined the queue, waiting for my turn at the cash desk. It got to my turn, the cashier, a young, slim lady of an average height greeted me, “Salve.” I replied to her greeting with a forced smile. It is a normal thing here for people to smile especially when they come in contact with other people. A smile which disappears immediately in a twinkle of eye. I love them for these. They always put on a smiling face when addressing words to others. My bill was 89.55€. I brought out a clean bank note of 200€ from my wallet and gave her. The kind of look I received from her was a suspicious one. She took the cash from the counter, looked at it critically and looked at me again. I was only smiling. Already fed up with the incidents on the train and bus, this one could be controlled with a smile. Deep inside me, I was angry. She passed it through the counterfeit detector machine. The check was okay. She repeated it for the second time, it was okay. Not convinced of what she did, she took the cash to her colleague on the other counter. Her colleague did the same thing twice and it was okay. She came back and rechecked my bill for the second time as if she was a bit disturbed or afraid of something. Meanwhile, as all this was going on, people were on the queue waiting patiently. A few persons who were unable to tolerate the view of the drama going on, decided to go to other cash desks.
While I was eating that very day, I turned the TV on. Lo and behold it was a discussion in the parliament about immigration. It was one of the main issues on their list for that day in the parliament. I thought it might be the reason why I encountered those incidents. But was it a crime been an immigrant? May be they all believe that we are immigrants. I don’t think we are. Many came not because they had been chased by wars and hunger but by the quest for choice and greener pastures which we all desire to have in life as human beings.