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Tamanna’s Lifelong Journey This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Indianapolis, IN
“My tears burned. I embraced my mom, not believing that I was leaving her. The agony—it’s melancholy. I waved and said my last goodbyes to my family, my home, and my old life. I feel enfeebled. I step inside of the plane, and scrutinize my homeland from the minuscule window. My tears are still burning.”
My mother’s story doesn’t start there. She is Tamanna Khan, and is the strongest person I have ever encountered. Her journey began in Bangladesh-8,000 miles from here. She has gone through so many obstacles but she keeps fighting back. I would like to go back in 1995-the year she got married, and the year her journey started.
“Ma, where’s my husband?” Tamanna quivered. She was shaken by tears.
“He’s coming back. Don’t worry. A mother’s intentions are always right. I know he’ll come. He has to,” Roushan said. Inside she felt a darkness that she couldn’t quite define, but she knew this man couldn’t betray her beautiful daughter.
Outside the men were arguing. Tamanna’s husband-to-be, Masud, was shaken in anger and was walking away in the middle of the night. Sadly, the city is unknown to him so he doesn’t really have anywhere to go.
“You’ll end up nowhere you harami. Leaving now! Pffft. Should’ve rejected in the first place,” said Tamanna’s brother-in-law.
He turned around in disgust and pondered. His eyes glowed with anger but he stood still-silent. Everyone stared as though it was a movie and they said nothing. The world was still as though it was frozen. Masud’s feet shuffled back. No one clapped. No one cheered. No one did anything.
He sat next to Tamanna and looked away, “Let’s continue the wedding.”
Everyone was baffled by this man. Even though their hearts were bubbling with the urge to cancel the marriage but they didn’t. Everyone continued to do what they were doing-except Tamanna. She sat there, a waterfall down her cheeks.
After Masud signed the papers, the pen was handed to the wife-to-be. Shamima’s eyes were now fiery-red and swollen. She did not want to go through this dilemma knowing that she has to go to America. She still signed it and continued to cry.
After the wedding ended, Tamanna was saddened. She heard rumors that Masud brought luggage full necessities for his relatives, but he brought nothing for her. He never even adorned her with gold from America. He bought two gold necklaces for her from Bangladesh, and a cheap sari. She locked the door and stood there. Her heart was sunken in dirt. She wanted to refute that she wasn’t wedded to the stranger, but how? She clamped her henna hands onto her face and started sobbing.
It was a year later. Masud wasn’t there to take her. She had to leave-alone. She was intimidated by the journey, and her mind was pessimistic.
“What if I die? What if I get lost, and never arrive there? What will happen then?” she thought.
Before she went inside the airport, she held onto her mom. Tamanna did not feel like leaving her. She was laden by the sorrow. She shed her last tears on her mother, and was ripped apart by her brother.
“You….have…to go…now,” he stammered. His lips quivered and quickly embraced her. Tamanna cried onto his bosom, but she let go knowing that it was time to leave. She waved her last goodbyes to her 5 brothers and sisters, her mom, and dad.
She boarded the plane, and stared at her homeland. She had no sense of gusto even though this was her first time. No matter how developed America was, nothing can match the love of her family. As the plane ascended into the air, she was overcome with fatigue.
When she awoke, she was in Holland.
She rolled her luggage into the airport, and examined it. She finally found a television screen and watched the scroll of the flights.
“Plane for New York…delayed!” she exclaimed.
She scanned the room for any Bengalis and found one.
“Excuse me sir. Are you headed to New York?” she asked.
“Indeed I am. Although, it is delayed. You may need to stay at a hotel. Just follow my lead,” he said.
After they arrived at the hotel, Tamanna obtained the key to her room. She gathered her belongings and threw them onto her bed. The room had a miraculous view of the rows of colorful flowers outside, which were a rainbow to Tamanna. She just wanted to jump onto the field and smell the fragrance but she was stuck in a musty room with no one to talk to.
A few days later she arrived in Indianapolis. She felt like a recluse as she was from Bangladesh and English was her 2nd language. She quickly went to “Baggage Claim”, and stared at the clock on the television. An hour passes by—she sat waiting. Four hours passed-she stood and fidgeted.
“When is he going to come?” It was paranoia that circled her mind, “What if he forgot? No, that’s preposterous. Forgetting your own wife is coming all the way from Bangladesh. Impossible.” She sat and tears rolled down her cheeks.
A man saw her and asked, “What’s the matter?”
“My…hus…band is not arrived,” she struggled to speak in English.
“Do you want to call? I have money so you use the payphone,” he offered.
He forced the coins into her hand, and told her to go. She was awestruck by this man’s gratitude.
“Thank you,” she said and forced a smile.
She entered the coins into the slot and dialed the number, “Hello.”
“Who is this?” Masud said.
“Your wife,” Tamanna replied placidly, “When are you coming?”
“What…I thought. In 10 minutes. Be ready,” he said and quickly hung up.
“What did he say?” the man said.
“He is…coming,” Tamanna said.
“Okay, since my family hasn’t come yet, I’ll wait with you until he arrives,” he said.
They stood there waiting. The man’s family ran through the doors and greeted him with flowers and “WELCOME HOME” signs. The man explained Tamanna’s situation to them, and bid Tamanna his last farewell.
“Good luck. Hope he comes,” he said.
“Thank you for help,” Tamanna said.
Masud came 20 minutes later and rushed Tamanna into the car. He berated her for not telling him the right time. He explained to her that he came yesterday and waited. It wasn’t Tamanna’s fault at all because she told him the arrival time in America’s time, but Masud interpreted as Bangladeshi time zone and converted it to the Eastern Time Zone.
Well this pretty much sums up the story. This was just the beginning. I grew up to watch my parents fight and my dad curse my mom. My sister and I would stare in tears-appalled. Now that I understand the background, I’ve come to know many things about Tamanna. She has perservered and shown so much integrity, I’m just amazed how she dealt with my dad all these years. No one I’ve met can match my mom’s responsibility. She takes the role of mom and dad, and she raised us in that environment.
She’s taught me many lessons but this story showed me that to never give up on life; whatever God threw at you, experience it because your life is your test. The consequences you encounter, it’s your responsibility. Even though my mom never took the action of divorce, she is a true fighter. Masud has abused her mentally but she still has two feet on the ground. My mom had the journey of a lifetime, and it still is in motion.



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