Pohela Boishakh is a special day to all Bangalis across the world. But the significance of the day was much more to the 55-year-old Bijoya Rani who on Friday turned up at the India-Bangladesh border in Panchagarh to meet her two sons, who live in India.
Bijoya, along with her granddaughter Chandana, was meeting her sons after quite a long time - almost two years - as she could not make it there last year from her home in Thakurgaon.
Bijoya's sons would not have the good fortune to embrace their mother however; they were separated by two layers of massive barbed wire fences, putting them about seven or eight feet apart. Then again, Bijoya and her sons were elated to see each other's faces.
With the help of bamboo polls, her sons sent across some sarees and fruits they had brought.
Like Bijoya, Sarathi Devi also went to the border and she too touched base with her sons who stay in Shiliguri in West Bengal.
Unable to share a hug and emotional to see her offspring from the other side of the border, Sarathi, 60, of Panchagarh, was heard reminding them that she was getting older and it may be their very last meeting.
The two incidents reflect the happiness and disappointment of tens of thousands Bangladeshi and Indians, especially those living near the border at Amarkhana, who thronged the no-man's land there on Pohela Boishakh.
As they have been doing so for last 12 years, these people, regardless of their ages, gender, religion and social strata, flocked there to meet and greet their loves ones as part of Bangla New Year celebrations. They also exchange gifts amongst themselves.
Under surveillance of the border security forces of both the countries, the people started crowding up there since 10am from sub-pillar No 1-7 under pillar No 744, covering around 5km along the border.
Amarkhana Union Parishad Chairman Md Nuruzzaman Nuru said: “Never-ending love for their relatives and near ones drives the locals here.”
Commanding Officer Lt Col Hakim Al Nawshad of Panchagarh 18, BGB Battalion said they and the Indian Border Security Force had tightened security along the border on the occasion.
The border has been witnessing such congregations for Bangla speaking people on the day every year.
Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh on March 25 said they would seal borders with Bangladesh and Pakistan entirely by 2018.