Woman who killed her husband

Sunita Giri 8:59 PM |

I pulled Shova Aryal, at one side at the picnic spot, to ask some information about her parents. Which i knew for many years but not full only a line or two. There was a huge crowd of people around us. I told her as I am writing a blog about our life in Bal Mandir, and would she mind if I write her story there ? She was more than willing, even when I told her that I will use your full name here; and then she started answering all the questions I asked her.

“Your mother was in jail right ?” I asked her straight forward as i am not known to bit around the bush type of person, she said “yes”. “she killed your father, did not she ?” I asked her again.

“She did not killed him, but I heard that she hired others to kill him”, she replied.

“How old were you when you were admitted in Bal Mandir ?” I wanted to know more about the one with whom I have spent so many years and yet I really dont know the real story behind her. “it was pretty late, I was around seven then”, she responded “.....added again because for about two years my grandmother took care of all three, me and my two younger brothers.”

“I don’t remember, you were there in with your brothers”, I responded. “Yes, I mean of course, they were not there with me, as they were placed in SOS, Pokhara”, she replied clearing my confusion.

“Okay, do you know why she killed your father ?” this one was more important for me to know than the confirmation of what I already knew about her parents. “I don’t know”, why she killed him as I was only very small and my grandmother never mentioned about it”, she sounded helpless and curious at the same time, when I asked her that question.

“..... and your mother never mentioned you why she wanted him dead ?” I shoot another sharp question.

“No, perhaps I was never that close with her or she did not wanted to tell me”, she replied. And as if suddenly she added that, “one thing was clear for about 10 years, she did not knew where were we, after she was sent to jail. But some how she found out that I was in Bal Mandir, so then she sent one of her trusted friend to see me in the Bal Mandir. Then when I was studying on 8th grade in Padma Kanya School, I used to go to visit her frequently in jail as the jail was in Dilli bazar. When she saw me she was so surprised how grown I was, and once the guard let me go further and her out from her cell door, she just hugged me and cried,” Shova had very vivid memory of her first jail visit. She remembered every details of the jail, where was the bed and where was the room and how many corridor further she was kept in and the bed [ placed there for visitors talking purpose] outside the corridor to stay and talk with the inmates. “and ….” I waited her further to open up.

“I used to go to visit her with Devi, because it was she, who used to tell me, lets go to visit your mother. May be, she also used to miss her own parents so....” she went on, “.... she even used to give me money, which of course, given to her by her boyfriend, to buy sweets and a cigarettes. By then I have learned that she used to smoke, so every time I used to go to visit her, I used to give her a pack of cigarette. She had given me one long black sweater, which you can tie on your back with belt, it had very big buttons”, she reminisces.

But she never told you or your never asked her during those visits, why she killed your father ?” I came back again with the same question.

“No, never. Look I was growing up in Bal Mandir with so many just like me, I do not remember my fathers face, it really did not matter to me. To know why she did what she did.” Shova said. and continued “.....when she died I do not remember shedding a drop of tear for her.” I understand exactly, what she was talking about, we whoever grew up in Bal Mandir are some what different than those who grew up with their parents and attached emotionally; ant that is what we are not no emotional attachment to anyone.

“ ….and there is no hint for you to guess, why she could have taken that kind of drastic step ?” I persisted.

“do you know there was a nurse in Bal Mandir ?” she asked me, as if I remember the sister, “she used to tell me about my father, he was a cook at Teku hospital. Whenever he was angry he used to add so many salt or pepper either in lentil or in curry. She used to say that he had a very bushy mustache, so she used to call me ‘junge baje’s’ daughter, while she used to dress my wounds up.” When she saw me I was paying more attention to what she was telling me, she continued further, “my grandmother used to tell me later on he used to drink a lot, and may be he was very short tempered. My grandmother was a staff nurse at the Bir Hospital and my mother also used to work in same hospital, but she was not nurse. Perhaps she was a peon [office assistant] there, but I really don’t know the nature of her job.”

“Do you think he could have harassed your mother, too much under the alcohol consumption ? which she could not cope up with ? I tried to get a link here. “may be, but its only may be, but I really don’t know the reason behind it”, she said

“After my marriage also, we were in touch, she had sent a jumper for my first child, when he was born throw the hand of a lady constable who knew where I stayed. She was released from jail after 1990s political stir, citing they were inside for long time. However, at that time I was in India for about two months. So when she went to her home [Chabhil] she was not allowed to enter her house and nobody in her neighbourhood wanted her to stay in that area. I was so confused, how to accept her; because she was denied by the society and I did not have courage to take her in my house for the same reason. I really wondered how could I have handled the situation, if I was here. Some time I feel,it was right that, I was not here to face that situation. As she was rejected by this society for what she did, that could have caused so much problem for me to provide shelter for her and adjust in society.”

“Don’t you think, if you knew the reason, it would have been easier for you to face that situation ?” I asked her. She replied, “may be, but then it just did not hit me to know why ? ”, she continued further “... she then went on to stay in Nava Jyoti School, a christian run school for the disabled children at Baluwater and then started making tea and food for the teachers. They provided her a room to stay. With her one girl of my age was staying, and I really did not know who she was and why they were staying together. I did went to visit her there, but soon after her health started getting worse and the nuns took care of every thing, I mean all the hospital cost. When she was in Patan Hospital, we went to visit her there too. It was the nuns, who did all the necessary things during her hospital stay and also the cost of her last rite, but it was my husband who gave her the fire at the end. All this happened in just two years when she was out from jail she died”, she took a long breath.

“ and she died with the secret in her heart”, I asked her again, and then also added, “Shova don't you think,if only you knew, why she killed your father, would have helped you to face the society when you were so confused, how to handle the situation ? even if you were not attached with her emotionally and there was no feelings in your heart for her. Just a little bit of respect for your mother in your heart ?, because its not what otters thinks, its about what you think about her”, I was curious.

“ I guess, yes, but its too late and now my grandmother is also dead. She died about two years ago, so no way I get that answer.” she said.

Not even realizing, I left her wondering; why she was never curious of knowing the reason behind the kill, the big question why?

---------------------- *** ------------------------- ***------------

Shova is now mother of two sons, one of them have just joined the college, she and her husband runs cafeteria in hospital or office.
read more


Sunita Giri 11:17 PM |

With 200 children inside Bal Mandir, there were always some children who were not normal, some disabled, some deaf who used to go to only deaf school in perhaps in Nepal , which is still inside the Bal Mandir premises and some children were autistic or down-syndrome. Those were the one, who could not go tot normal school, but, yet they too needed to teach and learn.

Volunteers for down syndromes : Some foreigners [white people], used to come, when I was aleardy in school and go, before I came back from school. As a growing up child in Bal Mandir, for me all white people were Americans and when they said, “NO, I am not”, then my reaction used to be always the same always, “ Oh ! you look like Americans.”

There was, this big room near by the office area, painted in all rainbow colors, and all kinds of pictures hanged on the walls. There were picture dangling on the thread which also was hanged from this side of the wall to other side of wall. All colorful papers and childish paintings on them. Their class room did not looked like our class rooms. It was a whole lot of different look than ours, because it was for down-syndrome children.

Volunteers for knitting class : so many people ask me where did I learn my knitting skills, which is so fine and perfect, than what they know. Well the answer is obvious, Bal Mandir, as it used to get, so many people coming in, to teach the best skill from what they already know. The art of sharing and passing is best part of this class. I myself was never ever in any such group although, there were many of my age group found the spot in those training classes. Kedar Shrestha, the housemother who hated me, must have, used her power to pull me from those classes, but it was not the much of complaining issue.

The one, who was in the group always used to share it with the rest of us, who were knit enthusiast, like me. Knitting was kind of staple skill or favourite time pass during the winter seasons, in the Bal Mandir. I think, those volunteers were from different countries like America, Korea and Japan. This gave us a chance to learn the best of all parts of the worlds little bit good skill from this and little bit good idea from that country. So, no wonder, if I have grasped all the best options, available there for me and made it my own style in all that and I am sure if, Kedar Shrestha, would have been alive, she would have coiled in red with jealousy. How good I am today on this skill, even though she had pulled me from all those classes.

Volunteers for Ikebana : I am quite not sure that his particular class was volunteered one, but there was this beautiful Japanese lady. She used to teach us this Japanese art of flower arrangements, which is called Ikebana. At the end of the training, when the exam was taken, to see how much we have learned, it was so surprising, that I have made it to the third position. Me ? on third place ? to some thing called room decor ? Nah, but then, it was truth also, whether I like to believe it or not.

Volunteers for physical hygiene : But the most life changing volunteers were from Nepal and these people perhaps could have been from the health sector. I am not quite sure, but perhaps they were doctors and nurses. They taught us to keep our toilets clean and wash our hand after each visit to the toilets. Prior to their visit and a week long [may be], training; toilets used to be Oh ! my God, dirty. There was not much of culture also in those days prior to ’85, too flush it, once we went to toilet to relieve us. Boys toilets, used to be even worse than girls, which is very common around the world and even after training, it did not changed much.

Of course, there was a man to clean it twice a day, but 200 children plus staffs and only about 20 toilets, needed frequent cleaning and lots of water to clean it. Those volunteers changed our concept, that toilets are meant to be dirty place. At least it cleansed in my mind forever.
read more

Lost and Found

Sunita Giri 8:27 PM |

I remember one particular piece of a story, my English teacher told our class, when I was in college. It was for the policy of lost and found. I cant remember much of that story, but one thing, what I remember very clearly is, if we find some thing which we want to keep it for ourself; all we have to do is, to ask in a lowest voice possible, so that no body in the crowd hears you. It will be handy because, you have asked in front of all and nobody came to claim it. Once you are done with that, you can keep it. But if you don’t like to own it, go and handover it to police or any responsible person who will ultimately handover it, to its rightful owner.

When I was in Bal mandir, I was allergic to dust [ which I am still ] to the max and no wonder, it used to make me so sick, most of the time. The dust allergy used to give me runny nose all the time, during winter seasons so, Vick's and inhaler was some thing, I have to have by my side on regular basis. As I told you, I was in Bal Mandir. Some times, we could not have some basic things, like Vicks and inhaler of our own. It was not that we were barred, from the easy access to the medicines, its only it was not for personal use.

Durga Pokharel, was younger than me and was like my sister. Okay, calling her like sister is some thing not very much understanding and giving much respect to her feelings. The mother side of a woman like loving and taking care of others, grew faster in her preteen and then teen years. Luckily, it was me, she was mothering; so undoubtedly; it was she who used to love me more than I. She was kind of caretaker for me and loved me like anything. One day, when she gave me a nose-inhaler I was surprised, so I asked her, “from where she got it ?” she said, she had found it but the story behind that finding is pretty interesting.

It belonged to other girl, lets call her Shanti. “..... It just had fallen from her hand, then I stepped on it [to hide] the Vicks inhaler. I kept standing there and pretending I had not seen it.” when the whole time she was standing on it.

She is nice to all and does not talk to anyone with loud tone and manner. Respects all and expects the same kind of behaviour from others too. She being very decent and docile person and has very unsuspecting character also to bluff others at times like this.

I asked her, “...how can you say that, this is what you found ? then she replied very innocently, “…..well she lost it and I found it.”

This is ridiculous and more ridiculous than that, was; I used that as my personal properly since then; as as she had found it for me; right ?

I bet, you have not heard any funnier story than this, about lost and found.
read more

Reunion Picnic

Sunita Giri 10:33 PM |

At the beginning of this year 2011 first Saturday of the first month, we went to picnic at Dhulikhel. It was pretty normal for Nepali to find themselves, in any picnic spots on any given Saturdays. Almost all the picnic spots are crowded with picnic enthusiasts.

But a picnic at Dhulikhel was organized by the new committee members of new bread of Ex-Bal Mandir students ( where ex-students from Shifal and Panchkhal also automatically falls. It in fact, was a reunion gathering, which was held to reunite, all the lost friends and their extended family members. So this picnic was giving us opportunity to catch up, all the lost childhood friends after more than twenty years time.

When, a middle aged man came to me, asking for “did you recognize me ?” I was clueless, it seemed I know the voice but not the face. I did tried to remember, but could not and I gave up. Then he said, I “I am Raju.” Around me, the same kind of events was going on, when we gathered at the Shifal’s big ground, which was a meeting point; from where, three bus was leaving for Dhulikhel. Fifty unexpected people had showed up making the total of the crowed to 200 plus. Every body was so excited, to catch up, with so many childhood friends.

Ramsaran, came to me and asked in mellow tone, “Sunita, don't look back at there, but tell me, who is she who is with Junkiri and others?” I have just heard the loud laughter and the phony anger in Sanumaya’s voice, for he, not remembering her; so I was sure that he was asking me about Sanu. When I told him, he quietly went back towards Sanu, and pretended that suddenly, he remembered her. Of course, it was not easy to forgive them, when you have shared the same kitchen and had gone to same school and played in the same ground for so many years. Everybody was surprised, that it was not easy to recognize, many standing in front of us and we had spent time together in Bal Mandir for so many years.

Whenever, I find myself in this vast circle of group, I feel so secure and comfortable. We have nothing to hide from each other, about our past and pretend, who we are not. Everybody knows, others problem and understands it. No doubt, its over crowded but still, its fun at the same time. There will always be, many small groups, on that big crowd and everybody finds their own group, in all that small groups.

At the picnic spot, it was very nice and sunny day. I danced more than three hours. I danced mostly on the young crowd. On the dance floor, a girl named Nisha, kept complaining me that, “how could I not remember her ?”, her disappointment did not wore off, even though, I joined her on dance floor for almost the whole time she was there. The idea kept nagging her, whole day, that I have no idea, she was there in Bal Mandir with me and I just could not remember her at all.

Food quality at the picnic was just okay, but who is complaining; it was almost not the highest priority on my list, compared for others. I was purely happy to catch up with so many childhood friends and danced all the day.

Nar Dai, was busy video taping my crazy, whakey and funniest dance, which he had never seen before. There were other guys also, who were holding their mobile phones high above their head to record my dance. As I was doing some Govinda steps and then some Shila ki jawani with a dance director friends of ours and then there was this drunkard on the dance floor, to copy. It was pure joy and fun to copy him and more than I was enjoying it, it was the viewers, who were having more fun watching me and my exaggerated move to copy him. He had taken some alcohol on an empty stomach and he was trying to do some somersaults on the dance floor.

I just love watchting guys dance under the influence of alchohol . Its more fune to watchg them rather than join them, or perhaps copy them.

I have seen a lot of people behave like crazy under the alcohol influence and dance them even they are scared of dancing. Please protect them when some people within the group like to take undue advantage and at times, some even try to tangle in an unnecessary argument with them.

We had a late lunch. While returning back home at bus I was with different group of people, [ not my age and time at Bal Mandir ] however, I could not change the bus. The young bunch of guys bored me to death with singling, ‘Pan ko pat, maya timilai samjhachhu din ko rat.’ They repeated this line for umpteenth times, under the influence of alcohol. Without much of break stop or bumpy ride, they were swinging back and forth and at times on the sides of the bus too, like a leaf. They were about 8-10 such guys there on the last bus.

Nisha, was with me on that bus. When a boy younger than her, came to her and greeted her very warmly, then asked her, “do you remember me ?” she could not remember him at all. He told her, who he was. She felt real bad after this conversation with the boy. She said sorry to him again and again.

Then she turned back towards me, saying you know what, its because I was angry with you whole day, so I met this boy at the end of the day only to remind me, we do forget some people in our life, who once used to be, so close to us. Then she said, “I am sorry.”

Well, I am looking forward, one more picnic this Saturday, with the same group. Cant wait to see them again.
read more

Who raised these monsters ?

Sunita Giri 9:33 PM |

In the mid ‘80s Bal Mandir was an apple of the royals. Of course, it was royals who was ruling the country so Bal Mandir, was the brain child of royals. That was also the time Bal Mandir was getting huge donations from the westerns countries. It used to get truck loads of goods, nutritious foods, best animal fat and sugar from America and some food like can foods and then hot chocolate drinks called P.V.M [protein, vitamins and minerals] and more things got lost in my memory zone. Although, I was bit young to get all the information in my hands, but the way we were eating variety of foods, in our daily menu was purely, because of loads and loads of donations pouring in for Bal Mandir. Normally, we Nepali, eat plain rice with lentil and curry as staple food, so it was the same case with us too. Days snack is also not so fancy, but in those days it was, at least in Bal Mandir.

It was purely, because the donations just poured in to support the 200 children in Bal Mandir and many more of its small branches around the county. During that time, some very smart teenagers in the Bal Mandir, mostly in there mid teens, saw staffs of NCO taking the donations meant for us, in their homes. They took clothes, foods, or whatever they could have hands on. It is said that those donations used to get distributed among the staff according the position they held, not the equal distributions. It applied to that flour and fat which came from America, regularly even though other stuffs were put on hold; in due course of time [perhaps due to chronic corruption inside the NCO].

It was that time, when I remember one preacher was arranged to give us special sermons, every week [perhaps], as it seemed too long for me. I guess it was not easy for me to remember, the preachers name, as I am not so religious even today; forget about when I was in my early teens. But my brother, who is very religious and who became christian at the age of fourteen tries to get it, saying, “may be, he was Khem Raj Acharya, as he was very big name in those days.” Today, my brother preaches across the nation, about the Christianity. The preachers was not the small time preacher, instead he was very famous in in those days. Even in those days, he used to preaches in other western country also to spread ‘sanantan dharma’. He was fluent in English and Nepali.

Unlike many, I am not much interested in sermons, as it does not sooth my mind, for some strange reason, those sermons do not have, its good impact on me. Instead, it works just the opposite. All, I want to do is to run away from the places, where such sermons or preaching goes on. I rather prefer to read it; if I want to, not hear it, when I am not in a mood for those preachings. But those were not the days or ages also, I could do what I wanted to, so we were needed in a big lavish looking living room of Bal Mandir. This particular room was called ‘baithak kotha’, used to get open, only for royals, but for some reason the same room was arranged for those preachings.

Imagine, how we survived those preaching from world famous preacher. When my full concentration used to be on his uneven moustache or tweaked lip while he was delivering his sermons. I don’t remember much of those preachings, neither I do remember how it helped me or others in the Bal Mandir.Llistening sermons is something like participating to release all my yawns at one go.

When I look back, I am trying to understand, why those intense preaching for teenagers ? My guess is, the children [including me] must have become very uncontrollable and undisciplined. They must not have shown the due respect towards the staffs at NCO also, who stole goods and foods meant for the children. Their stealing such stuffs, worked as an agent to diminish the respect for the the authority figure. Then must have not obeyed them also for the things they were told to do or follow.

Instead of realising what seriously went wrong or trying to understand its true reason, they were choose preaching children, to be nice and good. It was the character issue in the authority team but; they were pointing towards at the children for all the problems associated with this. Some children must have, called names from back, when they were heading back home after office. Things could have gone beyond imaginable, so one of the staff must have come to this conclusion to call some body to preach us, so that we will regret and realized our mistakes and then go through the cleansing method at that age.

Today, it really makes me think hard, why do we have to go through the cleansing process, at that age [all teenagers], when it was the authority and staff members of NCO, who were on a looting binge and loosing respect, in the eyes of children inside the Bal Mandir ?

They are right, when they say, its easy to point out, rather than self search.
read more

Meet Sunita

Sunita Giri 10:04 PM |

“Meet sunita, she is from Bal Mandir.” was one of the line, I have heard many many times during my college days. It seemed that, it was Mrs. Shrestha favorite opening line, and she would not give it a miss to say this line whenever somebody from her office caught me with her. She grabbed every opportunity to say this line to introduced me, to them and those were the people, I have hardly encountered again in my life. Lets say about 99.9% of them, came never ever; in in my life. Still it was an introduction line, which never changed. It all happened, when I have just started attending College.

It was the wake of ‘90s, in the midst of all political stir in the country, which had caused her to leave her job from NCO [ Nepal Children's Organisation]. For some time, she was working in MS Nepal a Danish project, where I used to go to visit her. Those visits were meant to collect my rent and college money from her. Due to her busy office hours, I was needed to go and collect it from her office at Kamal pokhari.

Bernhard Rutz, a kind heart Swiss man, who is now the Founder of Prabina Foundations, used to send money, to her, and then she used to give it to me so that I could continue my college.

Then, for very long long time, I did not get it; why those were her opening lines. But, a couple of years ago, in a board meeting of Prabina House, I was casually telling, a senior member of the board, how our life was in Bal Mandir, especially how we ate those insect filled, shoddy and smelly rice, non-vegetarian green vegetables. Then Mrs. Shrestha remarked that, “I thought, you never liked, to be reminded you are from Bal Mandir.” Then, I said, “of course, I don't like it to tell people, to whom, I will never ever going to meet again, in my life but I do tell people I keep meeting them in this or that way.”

Honestly speaking, I was never embarrassed or conscious of being raised in Bal Mandir but now it hits me that there were people who were around us to make us feel embarrassed for  our situation. anyway I was not aware of it then.

Long before, I started writing my blog, I used to tell my close friends in Hotel [ I worked in The Everest Hotel for about seven years]; “you know why I am so strong ? its because I was fed all insect filled and stony rice, during my childhood and that made me so strong, mentally and physically.

Me, not being so smart to understand it fast, I did not get it right, there, in that meeting room, but in my private time, while reflecting her line, it slowly sink  in my mind. Some thing in my brain cracked opened, clearing the blur vision, from my memory lane, which had happened almost twenty years ago. Its now became so clear, I mean crystal clear. when she said I never liked being introduced as a girl from Bal Mandir. the next two years or so, as I used to go to collect money on monthly basis, she kept introduced me that line to every possible person in her office. She knew it, with my body language that, I was not comfortable with that opening line. I was raised in Bal Mandir, so I lacked the confidence to tell her how I felt about it. I could never ever open my mouth, not to introduce me like that, but watched her helplessly; as she kept introducing me like that again and again.

Now, I get it; she did it intentionally, she must have taken joy and pleasure when she did that. It also could be it did not matter to her how I felt it. But, how come it can be fun to shrink somebody's self esteem, who is already too shrunk ?

Note : Read Greed has no depth, to know more why we were eating such food.
read more

Wild strawberries

Sunita Giri 9:32 PM |

During the long winter vacation and when I was preteens, there was not much to do in those days, no television to pass time and almost no books to keep me busy during those days and hold my restlessness. Knitting was the only option to keep us busy, but doing it all day and week and months was definitely not fun. So, I used to sneak out, to take a stroll in the forest; which was behind the back yard of the Bal Mandir. For a girls of my age, nobody expected me to take a stroll, in that forest, all alone. I was not aware then, but today I know it; why I was there all alone to take a stroll. I was a restless child, as well as fearless also. I was fearless, not only with the people around me but the unknown things around me also. Wheather, it could have been the eerie silence in the jungle or the things nobody prepared for, in that the jungle.

Bal Mandir was well protected from tall walls around the four boundaries, so there was nothing but different kinds of birds in the forest or some sneaks too. But to scare us from the unthinkable nannies used to tell us, that the forest was filled with all kind of wild creatures. It was not, except for that small and harmless insects. However, it is another fact that, even a smallest caterpillar is enough to sent me in almost into like half coma.

But otherwise the forest had nothing, as such to harm a person of my age. Nothing that was which a real jungle have to pose any kind of threat. It was a different kind of feelings, to stroll alone in the forest and even try to cross some half broken wall to go further. Some times, we used to be there with other boys or some girls also, and some body had already made some holes or bring that wall from one side of the corner to make it easy, to pass to another side of the forest, which was more inside and more quite place to be and of course eerily silence area. Except, some birds used to make noise and I was definitely, far away from the daily noise Bal Mandir. Ever so crowed and noisy place, but who is complaining ? we got used to of all those noise. But at the same time, taking a stroll in the forest, was quite fun. It was very tranquil place and I can not describe more in words, how peaceful place that was; to be. It must have offered me the much needed silence, from all the time chirpy and noisy crowed of Bal Mandir with 200 children to make it, all the time.

Its not that we did to do any thing, during those vacations but I was restless and very restless kind. reading and knitting always was not enough to hold me for long. Because staying at one place while reading and knitting was also boring, even though how good pattern you are learning or doing or how good book you are reading. So sneaking out into the forest was a good and much needed escape for me. The forest in fact it was not that vast as a normal forest should be, its was big for me when I was growing up in Bal Mandir, as a child but now its just the vast property, which was unkempt properly.

Occasionally, I used to find some things to eat on the grass floor, besides some fruits, like wild strawberries, or the other wild fruits. We used to taste it not even knowing it may be poisonous and might be fatal to my health I used to eat it. Wild strawberries are of course, much smaller than the strawberries we can find in the market. I came to know about it only recently when this Mike Hawk was talking about this small berries in his show Man, Woman and Wild, which pulled me back in my memory lane.

We used to eat all kind of grass and roots when we were in the Bal Mandir and its so strange to learn today that it never made us sick or killed us. We do talk some times those things only make our digestive system strong that people thought otherwise. And look at us we are so healthy regardless of our so unhealthy eating habits. Our digestive system is unbelievably strong than other wise, it would have been. In fact its stronger than those, whose eating habit was a lot fussier than ours.
read more

Illegal child

Sunita Giri 10:27 PM |

I was watching this crime show on TV. They were showing a story was about a girl, named Neha. She was from a small village of India, who killed her parents, both mother and father. She first smothered her mother and then suffocated at her throat, until she died and then stabbed her father on his chest with such force it killed the old-man. The investigating police team, started their work, what came out was more eye opening, than the actual killings, which she had committed of her own parents.

Although, I did watched, this story more than twice, yet I did not get it clearly; why her mother was repeatedly telling, her in such a manner, she was an illegal child. However, it was quite obvious, if her step-father treated her very very badly for being the unwanted child in his home. Apart from she being treated like the unwanted child she was denied the basic things in her life while she grew up watching her step-brother [younger] getting all that without much effort. Basic things means school fees or extra course to enhance her skills, which she needed to be normal in the society. Not just that, she was vanished from all the family pictures too.

It was years of watching them treat her so poorly and badly made her feel like a rejected person in her own home by her loved ones. One day, Neha visited her mother, after two years, when she needed help from her mother, to pursue her study; which was already denied from them turned out so bad, the situation took such wrong turn, it ended up killing Neha her own parents.

The boiling point, in this all, was some time ago Neha had married a guy, Abhishek the step brother of her best friend Seema. He was equally abusive to Seema. Besides all other things to treat her badly, he also used to sexually abuse her in the name of teaching her some family manners. As Seema, occasionally used to snap back towards her step-mother, and then she used to tell it to her son and then he used to go to the the kind of extremes, only a man like Abhishek can understand how and why side of it. One day Abhishek, took the unwanted benefit from Neha, when she was waiting for Seema, in her house and then raped her. Neha, had no option but to marry this guy. He belonging to the lower caste or so the family of Neha did not allow for this marriage but to Neha the decision was already made. Abhishek had raped her, so he had to marry her too. When Neha visited that day to her mother she wanted to tell so many things that went in her life in these two years and also the truth about her marriage and rape. Just then her mother snapped, “you must have invited it.”

While I was watching this, story narration on the television, I was so thankful, that I was not raised by such parents, especially mother, to go through such situations; as I am not known to have tremendous patience to tolerate, such kind of abusive behaviour on me not even by parents.

This was very disturbing story, its not easy to shake my head and forget it, in a matter of days, and then move on in my life. Then it pulled me back in my memory lane. I have my share of experience living with an illegal child, not only in Bal Mandir, but I also shared a room with her for about two years, when I was in college.

Thank God for our growing up process in Bal Mandir is ten times better than any family like this. We become tolerant towards any kind of background of a person and do not judge them; the way, people judge them in society. Beautiful part of it was, we were not raised to treat anybody, like the girl [Neha] was treated in her own home by her own parents. This was the best part of being grown up in Bal Mandir. We give a damn to the fact, who is legal or who is illegal even today not just when we were in our teen and innocent years. Such upbringing can only happen in the family, as they say it, in society. Personally speaking, me, not being a social animal, can say it so proudly, society my foot; where people judge other people, purely, based on their backgrounds. Society is filled with fake and pretentious people, who form the opinion not what i think but how they think.

First time, when I heard about she being illegal child, is long before, I even knew the meaning of illegal and to go and see it on dictionary. A housemother must have mentioned about it, which one, I really cant remember now. But the word illegal stayed in my head and somehow I figured, it must be some thing not good.

In Balmandir we call our inmates from all kind of possible nick names. like lean, thin, lanky, fat, fattu, black, blacky or find your own nick names so I used to call her Bhote, I used to call her this way for so long, when I wanted to change it, by calling her in her real name it was she, who was not comfortable. so I still call her Bhote.

She was a child of a domestic maid and the father of the child was her master. She kept Bhote, with her until she was about five or six, but when it came to her whole future she could not keep it with her for long and then admitted her in Bal Mandir. However, she had been working on the same house. When Bhote was left on the Balmandir, she was posted in Bombay house of the same master, where her mother was required to do only dry works.

I did not like Bhote’s mother. She was not the joy to be around, as she was hungry for sympathy and scared to death that her daughter will end up like her. Now I understand it, but then I did not get it; why ?, instead it only irked me to the max, why she was so finicky about Bhote’s boyfrined, which she had, when she was only in 10th grade.

I used to tell Bhote, how I felt about her mother, and she used to say to me, that she to was not comfortable some of the things about her [ teenagers they do not like their parents, even if they meant the best for them]. There was no mention about her father, never ever. As for the Bhote, she knew only what was said to her. He died, when she was very young. But the truth is she is an illegal child. But her visiting relatives leaked the information to the staff, although, her mother was tight lipped about this bitter truth about her life. There fore, I get it, now; why her mother used to behave strangely towards her only boyfriend ? It was hard to have answer then, when I myself was in my teen years. There were so many dots, which now finds it link so easily, but then..... it was not easy to link it to the missing points to make a full connection to all the given dots, which I have already got, and which was always there right under our nose for us to link it.

Bhote’s boyfriend was very decent and sweet guy, It was he, who sent her school and then picked her fees and her room rent as well as food cost during her stay with me. However she was a beauty without a brain. All the educations, she got in her life but she became exactly like her mother, ended up being a domestic maid. What a wastage of education. No body needs to go to school and then college to be a domestic maid. She did marry the same guy whose name is Amrit. He was a national champion on the swimming and used to teach, the then crown prince Dipendra Shah also. Today, they are still married and they have two college going children now.

The stark difference, between two illegal child here, is one who was raised by her parents in the cozy and comfort zone called home, ended up killing her own parents due to harsh abuse, which she had to go through out her life... but my room mate in Bal Mandir and during my college, found a man of her dream, much earlier and marry young to become the youngest looking mum. There are people, who still tells us in vauge but different language, that we are out of the society, we are some body not at par with them.

Again, I say this loudly, society, my foot.

Good news for Neha and to us who are looking for better society to live our life always is, Indian court gave bail to her and her case is under the court. She was not punished for life sentence, for what she did and may be out from spending her whole life behind jail if, only if; she gets good lawyer to defend her in court. Her logic to defend her was.... they always said “I was an illegal and unwanted child, so I did the illegal and unwanted work.” One police personnel asked her, “why did not you reported, about the abuse on you ?” she replied that, “parents are the face of God, so you don’t complain about them, not even to God, right ?”
read more

Street Language

Sunita Giri 9:50 PM |

I could have been around ten or eleven years old when Bal Mandir, cleansed Pashupati area for the homeless and the child depending on them. Most of their children landed in Bal Mandir, at that time. When they came, they came with one more language, other than that of being horrible potty mouthed. It was street language.

It took us, some time to understand thier language first and then learn their language, but every body knows it; children learn and copy fast, and faster than adult can imagine. This fast learning applies so truly, in case of language.

This street language, just allowed us to say the nastiest things, to the Didis [room nannies], housemothers and other roommates or class mates, who took time to learn this language, than some of us.

This allowed, us to say, she is bitch, she is fat, she us ugly or he is just too smelly, right on the face of the person; yet the person would not know, what we were talking about. They would only get the hint of it, when we took pride in laughing after that. Then, it was fun. Do I have to tell you, how much it irritated them; when we took pride in being potty mouthed and they did not get it what we were talking about.

In this language, we used to take any letter followed by a vowel sound and then we used to make a new word with this, adding that in front of each broken word. Suppose: She is bitch, would become like this, sa-she sa-is sa-b sa-itch. In the beginning, the learning process, would take time, but once you get fluent with it, we used to speak it like anything and more, we became fluent more it used to be a problem for adults.

First we took time in learning this new language but once we did this, we made our own different code language, with different letter and sound but the choice is yours. How hard you want to make it. The most hard to get it then was starting from Cha. Suppose, we wanted to call somebody, slut on the face, then we had to say it like cha-slu-cha-ta.

I don’t know, how come, they learned such language but this is the kind of language the drug dealers or the street thugs use to talk when police are around them. This kind of language is also spoken by criminal people, who are involved in some kind of racket business and can speak in front of police and yet they don’t get it, what they are talking about.

When I look back, it really makes me wonder, why those children were fluent in that kind of language ? Okay, their parents must have been involved in some kind of criminal act. One more core point which, I must have mistaken until now, those children were not from Pashupati area, instead they must been from the jail clearance, who were staying with their parent[s] and so, they learned those language. But you know what, I am surprised that, not a policeman have ever called me, to help them to decode any criminals code language.
read more

How can you eat it ?

Sunita Giri 9:52 PM |

Now, whenever I watched Andrew Zimmern, tasting Bizzare foods from around the world; it pulls me back in my own memory lane. Although, I too make the face or switch the channel, if its so hard for me to watch more; when he is saying, its yummy or its delicious, when I see him eating foods, I will never ever try in my life. But then there was a time, I myself faced the question, how can you eat it ?

Junkiri asked me exactly when, I was about to eat it, “how can you eat it ? I have heard that, there is, this small black insect in it .”

“Yes I know, but Shova didi made this.” I said and took a spoonful of puwa in my mouth and then to ease it down my throat, I sipped some tea. She made her face with disgust, and then asked me again, “How can you eat it ?”

“I can, because its so delicious and tasty.” then I took another big spoonful of it and then again sipped some tea to ease it to swallow. See, Puwa is very dry food in itself and needs some liquid to have it, otherwise its not easy to swallow it down the throat.

I could have been studying in eighth grade and around forteen. It was afternoon time, time for a day time snacks. Generally we are suppose to go down in the main kitchen and finish our ‘khaja’ there. But because it was winter vacation time and we are big girls and in our teens. So, we used to smuggle the food in our rooms and then used to have it, there with our roommates, chatting and taking our time to finish it.

So, on this particular day, I was sitting on that small space in front of the window and eating my snacks. That window faced the front yard. That was the very small space, where only two of my age girls, could stay and chat. Just on the right side of me, there was a row of beds [bunker] and one was facing the window, there on the lower bed, Junkiri was lying on her belly and watching me eat my khaja, which of course was ‘Puwa’.

Puwa is a kind of food for which, flour is fried on high heated fat first and then, some water is added and sugar from on top of it but sugar had to melt in the food not be seen onece its ready, its still very dry food even after its ready. The flour is what American agency used to send NCO, as part of nutritious food and that used to rule almost all our snacks and breakfast, with very few exceptions.

“Why don’t you put all of it, in that tea and then eat it ?” Junkiri, suggested me, still making her face in a creased form.

“No, I wont do that” I retorted, “cant you see, if I do that all the black insect will float on top of tea, and this will spoil my mood to eat it ?” She nodded but her face is still in creased form, which made me smile and be angry at the same time.

I took one more mouthful of puwa and took some sip of tea, and watched Junkiri, made her face, creased. Watching her made this easy, for me to read her face, it was not easy for her, to watch me eating my food.

“Are not you hungry ?” I asked her, “I was....” she replied and said again “.... but when I heard about it, I lost my appetite.”
Again I filled my spoonful and about to reach it on my mouth but the look of Junkiri forced me to bring it down on my cup. “Look, I am eating my food and you are making that look, its not good.” I confronted her. “And you are eating all insected puwa, saying its made by Shova Didi, is also hard to believe, delicious or not; it still has those insects in it”, she had readymade answer for that.

Now, it was kind of war between her and me, she was amazed that I could eat it and I was shocked, that she did not respect the fact, I was eating it without any complaint. “Look food has to be delicious and tasty first, then the insect or other things is secondary matter, can other didis make this good food, without any insect in it ?” I asked her. She nodded her head meaning ‘No’. “So, her times comes, once in a week only, and if I give it a miss, I have to wait for this good and tasty food for whole next week.”

And then, I took a last spoonful of my puwa and watched her face again. She was really surprised that I finished my meal, knowing it had all the small black insect in it.

Needless to tell, for her, no insect made more importance; than the taste of foods. You know what, that food which I devoured was a lot more delicious and tasty, than other didis may have made, without any insects in it. So its clear, for me, its the taste of a food that matters; not what is inside of it.

I am sure, once in their life, everybody must have faced this question, how can you eat it ?

Note: you can read about locked up to know more about Junkiri Tamang and Me on I am not Alone to find out how we landed in Bal Mandir.
read more

Thank you

Sunita Giri 10:35 PM |

As a teenager I used to read a question in many movie magazines, which used to go like this : who would you be, if you are given a chance to be the person you want to be ? The option would vary as magazines vary. They used to give options like, in next 24 hours, in a month or in your next lifetime. I used read the question with a very blank look and I was clueless in my heart, besides I could never come up with the exact answer, when I was young.

My response was to stare this question with a cat’s look. There used to be all kind of response, I used to read the odd and absurd answers from readers in response who used to respond the question, saying I want to be the poodle of a celebrity, in my next lifetime as I get a chance to be patted with beautiful people and be in so many nice places and eat good food and kiss the girls the whole world loves to.

To some my blankness might be the sign of me being from very privileged background, that's why, I would not want to be or would not have to be some body else even for a day forget about whole lifetime. Well that is some thing I am not, its quite sure; but there are reasons, why I don't would not want to be any body but me, myself; in many more lifetimes to come. Perhaps for that very reason my brain never worked better to imagine; Who I would like to be in my life for next year and in my next life.

This next life, kept me thinking though for quite some time yet I was clueless who and what; I would like to be in my next life ?

In fact, I am thankful to God, that, I don’t belong to any family; which comes from broken relationship and so the heart is broken, spirit is broken and house is broken. Yes, I did not get a chance to see my biological parents and the tragedy happened when I was just too young [only 3 years old] to understand the gravity of the word tragedy. I am thankful to God I was young to see their face and be attached to them or perhaps be habituated to them. Yes, I grew up in an orphanage [Bal Mandir]. But; my parents could not have been able to provide me that big palace to stay and equally big ground to play.

There were people around us to do the work for us, I did not have to cook and spend time in kitchen until I finished my School. I doubt I could have got the same easy life anywhere else. I like the freedom of not having parents around me. In fact; I regard parents as control freaks, and honestly speaking, don’t want them around me for many more of my lifetimes not just this one. I am not jealous, of those people; who have and what they have because of having parents around. Never ever, missed them and wished; if only I have them and my life would have been different. I only wish I could have understood it when I was in my teens or in my 20s and so that I could have enjoyed my life with the full freedom rather seeing this it from very different perspective which was never mine and not knowing, it was not even mine; instead it was injected.

This believe was an injection, an idea I grew up hearing in the Bal Mandir. Today, I am thankful that those didis [room nannies] who believed that we were cursed and that is the reason, we have to spend our lifetime in Bal Mandir, away from our loved ones and not in the lap of mother. Besides those didis, there were those male staffs, mainly cooks and other junior male staffs, who nodded and added to the core believe, holded by the ladies.

Thank God ! they are not related to me; not even remotely. There were people, mostly some ladies around me; I grew up with, their mothering only smothered me and their concern about us, then it discomforted me but now I know it, why. It only suffocated me [us] to the max, though as a teenager I did not knew about this smothering and suffocation; now, when I know this, I am so thankful to God.

I honestly think; I would have run away from family, if people were so control freaks, and telling me to do this and do that; just the way they wanted it. Thank God ! I am saved from those run aways. As a teenager, I hated lectures from anybody directed towards me, and I walked away from it. The housemothers thought, I was impossible child, now I get it, that it was Gods’ wish, that I hear none of it, other wise why do not I have parents ? I was orphan, they were the one who is ignoring the fact and it was not me. God; how I wish, they could have got it earlier than me. Its Gods willingness; we [orphans] are free from any lecture[s].

I feel truly and honestly feel sorry for them, for those who grew up hearing all those do this, and do that and don’t do that and No, No for this and definitely ‘NO WAY’ for that. Thank God, I can do what I like, and not answerable to anyone for any thing. If something goes wrong with me they say I don’t listen any one but I did not created the line, which says, too many cooks, spoils the food.

There were many woman; I grew up watching, but not wishing they were my mom. Thank God ! they were not my mom. I think, some things in life, like warm clothes on the body, education in good school and decent and warm food on the table is also not worth it, if it means to give up my liberty to do, what I want and how I want, not even parents, who are official naggers and try to control you the way they want. And for this very reason I am ever thankful to God.

There is this famous line in Bollywood, which has been used for so many times, and years later also; its still has the same charm, and as new as it was yesterday. “Aaj mere paas building hai, gaadi hai, bank balance hai. Tumhare pas kya hai. Kya hai tumhare pas ? ……………. Mere pas … Maa Hai.” [Today, I have a house, a car, a bank balance and what do you have ? .............. I have Mom].

I have to, twist it slightly; as per my situation. First i would like to request them repeate the question again please and then who ever things its so important to have parents and thinks, “I have parents, house, warm clothes and food on my table and went to best college........what do you have ? ......I have Bernhard.” But the truth is I have not got a chance to use this line. I still feel it; so strongly.

I am thankful to God for sending Bernhard in my life. Life is a package deal, what you have is all you have; so its your decision how you take it. If I had all those things, I would not have Bernhard and having him pales having all other things. Damn, I did not get it right on time ! I mean in my teen years but still, I kneel down and bow my head on the floor, to say my thank you to God for the choice you made for me; and your decision to send Bernhard in my life.
read more

The lost smile

Sunita Giri 9:45 PM |

Mrs. Shrestha, the chairwoman of the Prabina Foundation, Nepal, repeatedly passes comments that Amrisha and Era has very ‘sullen face’ and they never smile, “I don't understand, why they have such face” she wonders, every time she pass that comment.

First time, when she passed that comments, it must have gone above my head. Second time when she made the same remark; it stayed in my mind and and third time when she repeated the smile less face it made me think.

I have to be honest, I do not visit Prabina Home, as frequently as she does. But by that third comments, I have visited and interacted with the girls and I did not find them, that ‘sulleln face’. Visiting Prabina home reminds me of my own time in Bal Mandir, we were just like that. ignorant of the people around us.

Vira*, Amrisha and Era are three sisters. Vira, being the oldest one now attends college, while other two sisters are still in school.

Their mother, Nira, is a single mother. I know her, since she was with us in Bal Mandir. When she was only in seventh grade, she was pulled from Bal Mandir, by her aunt to assist them in domestic work. Then again during my college days, Mrs. Shrestha made me to share one that too very narrow room, with her and her young child and her younger sister for about 6 months. Nira, already had her first daughter by then. Now, when I complain about it to her she gets stunned or perhaps stung. Finance was the major reason I was sharing room with them. After that, I know her updates through our big circle of friends. Even though, we are not in contact for long, yet we do get full information about each other from this or that person.

All her immediate circles, who ever; she is in touch knows, Nira’s three daughter are from three different men. This information, made easy for most of them to judge her as very characterless woman. However, It was not easy for Nira, to raise her three girls. She was not well educated or trained to support her as well as her three young daughters. When the situation turned out to be like this, she did all kind of domestic work to keep food on her plate as well as her three girls.

Nira, comes from a family of five, her parents and two sisters. She is the middle one. Their father died within a month of their mother’s death. After the incident, Nira and her younger sister Seetu was enrolled in Bal Mandir, however their eldest sister was kept as a domestic maid by their aunt. This kind of arrangements at times made easier for the close relatives to have full hands on the property single handedly.

During Nira’s hard days, off all the domestic works, doing laundry was one of the thing she did most, and at times cleaning rooms also. When her daughters were young they used to follow her at work place also.

My fear, behind the lost smile or repressed memories of these two girls is; it could have been that; they have seen something, which they should not have seen at that age. Amrisha, was about 8-9, when she was enrolled in Reliance School supported by Prabina Foundation. Era, was about six when she had followed her middle sister in the school. Vira, their oldest sister was already studying in Reliance School under the same project.

Now, both of the younger sisters are in Prabina House, however Vira has already left the house and studying in Delhi. For younger girls staying in a hostel, with girls of their age has not changed much of their behaviour. They don’t open up like other girls and they don’t smile like others as well. One might see them smiling occasionally, but sure, it lacks the luster of a child's smile and twinkle in their eyes.

Their is one more fear in my mind, which is of course; bigger than, what I exactly fear already. I fear that, they not only have seen some thing wrong; but some of the man their mother was involved must have done something horrible [immoral or unethical act] to them. Therefore, these two girls have locked themselves up. Look, I am not a psychologist to come up; exact answer to this kind of behaviour but labeling them as very unwelcoming face or sullen face is grossly ignoring the past, they share with their mother.

Its just that I know, some very inside story about their mother. Strangely; it was Vira, her oldest daughter, who let the cat out of bag, about her mother’s private life [bedroom] as well as her aunt’s. When she she was talking about all this, she was only about eight or nine years old.

Its easy to shrug shoulders and definitely not easy to try to figure it out, some answers behind the lost smile and twinkle in their eyes. Amrisha and Era are the only girls, who are very poor in their studies among the twenty plus group of girls in the hostel [Prabina Home]. When other girls gets 60% or more than that on their report card. These two girls, hardly finish their exams without failing that too on more than two subjects, with poorest marks on all other subjects; even if they make it.

This year, Amrisha was enrolled in a Nepali medium school; due to her poor grades. Era will follow her soon to the same school. Just wondering, how come these two are the poorest in their study too and who can not open up like a normal teenagers with other girls and their smile is also missing from their face.

Some people presume that, if they provide food, shelter and clothes, it will bring the drastic change. Yes it will, who knows this better than me. What if the problem is rooted on the mind of a child ? then will those things [food, shelter & clothe] solve the main problem ?

Surprisingly and perhaps interestingly, Vira the oldest sister was good on her studies and now, she is pursuing her study in nursing and doing well in her college also. She too had seen it all, and been there. Vira has proved it that, some can take some extremes, just as normal and to some the same thing has extreme impact. But we cant ask why they could not take it so easily.

*All names are changed to protect privacy.
read more

God’s justice

Sunita Giri 9:17 PM |

Last Friday night, I was watching this regret and recover, a dramatised version of a ex-criminal’s story. A doctor, by the day and a kidnappers and looters by the dark. He also used to publish a daily paper; where his photographers was also a sharp shooter, and other staff was involved in his work. One day he got caught and then landed in Tihar jail, which is very notorious mainly, because the kind of inmates they allots to keep here. There in the jail they bring swami to preach criminals. Its impact on this particular criminal was really surprising, who in fact was planning to escape, from this most secure jail of India and was wanting to continue his work outside of the bar. But, one of his inmates persuaded him to attend and listen the preaching. While relating one story swami called this person and demanded his undivided attention before telling this story. This really struck me.

Greed : there was a soldier, who was leaving the village to fight for his country. Before leaving to protect his country, from the front line; he left some big cash to one of his village businessman and told him to invest it in some good work and then also provide his families as per their need. But immediate after the man left, the news came, that he died; while fighting for his country. This made the businessman greedy and he did not give a penny to his family members and spoke no one about this money. Some time later a child was born to the businessman, but the child was severely ill by birth. They were rich, so they could spend any amount of money on their child's’ illness and did everything; that was possible to keep baby healthy and alive. Some time passed by like this but the child’s health never got any better. One day, the child smiled and died. Before his death he said, “I have taken, what I have left with you, and now its time for me to go.”

This story reminded me of another real life story, which one of my friend, recently had told me. The recent and current update about a man, Arjun Basnet, who was a staff in Bal Bandir. He was a very greedy storekeeper, who also had a serious character problem. Besides that he was a childless man also. After several attempt to have his own child, he had adopted a boy from Bal Mandir.

His boy had grown now and have became a drug addict. The house, which he had build from stealing foods stuffs from Bal Mandir or purchasing cheap, low quality fruit and vegetables and clothes for us had all gone to his son’s addiction. They are now staying at a rented apartment. Some people here in Nepal not only adopt, to pour all the love they feel, but there is also one more reason behind the adoption. People need one person to take care of them, when they get old. Arjun Basnet, the father of the boy is definitely not going to enjoy the secure and peaceful retired life, when he gets old and needs it most.

The swami’s line is ringing in my ear, ‘if you take it from others, it will be gone just like that.’ So Greed is bad. Remember this same story also has impacted as a mile stone in this particular criminals minds. He is now a social worker and out of his criminals world - murder, kidnapping and looting people. He gives more and even goes out to meet to those, whose life he once had made hell !

When my friend, told me the story about the storekeeper, she did not missed out to add that; “he had stolen from us, so a boy from Bal Mandir, took all from him. This is Gods’ justice.” After hearing her verdict; I could only stare at her silently.

Note : to get more stores about the store keeper read our earlier post on him : SSSShhhhh don’t tell, Greed has no depth.
read more

A thief

Sunita Giri 10:53 PM |

It was Saturday afternoon, cleaning day of the week, for every body. Bathing and washing dresses have already been finished and sun drying our beds and blankets have also finished. So we were back of the kitchen garden which was located at the Statue yard. Because its time for us to clean our head, from our room nanny. It was one of the most painful task. They used to use very sharp hand made bamboo comb specially designed for this task to pull the head bugs and at times it used to made bloody scars on our head. Needless to mention, it used to bring tears in our eyes due to sharp pain. If we seek any opportunity to avoid the cleaning process, it should not surprise any adult.

I was not the exceptionally clean one, in the group, not needing that cleaning but I needed to escape from it, due to tear jerking process to clean our heads. Just then Moti Didi, came to rescue me. Its not that she could voice against me with nannies, but she needed my help for one task, and that work helped me to get out from, my turn of the cleaning my head. If my room nanny saw them borrowing me then they would not allow me to sneak out from this so, she pretended that she is checking her clothes; whether its dried or not but her intention was not to check her dress, she gave a gentle nudge on my head with her hand and as I looked up she spoke with her eyes to follow her. I did quietly sneaked from the place and then followed Moti Didi, meekly. On the way, we were joined by one more person but I do not, remember her name as in future also Moti didi, was the only one with whom I kept doing this work. ‘Work’ may be the wrong word here to use, in fact I was about to involve in an act of theft.

There was this room, when I grew up then I came to know, that it was a storeroom for the Magazine ‘Balak’, which NCO used to publish every month. Then again the word storeroom does not suit here exactly. Old stocks of magazine used to be dumped in that room from the upstairs storeroom and mouse used to run all over it down under.

I could have been around ten years old and I needed at least two more persons help to climb on the window, which glass pane was broken and from where I could enter in the room. The pane was so small that first, I had to insert my head to enter in that room and then my body. Moti Didi used to give me instruction to look for a particular story in that magazine or the color code of the magazine and then I had to look for those particular magazines under the piles of dust covered room.

In that room, there were not a single space available where I could keep my feet without stepping on top of book and the books were thick enough on the floor, and on the stairs which let it to top floor, it took me, many years to thin it out. I never asked them what they did with this magazines, or I was just too small to ask them, “why they needed it ?” Their pay for my work was like a prize money, which was more than enough. All I asked for was to let me read all, I mean all the old stocks of magazines from each steal, which they agreed easily. Old publication was ten times better than the latest publications in terms of story, paper quality and binding point of view. After reading it, I used to return it to her. Later on as I grew more, I came to know that, she and the others who were involved in this kind of act used to sell magazines to their class mate at Rs 1. per magazine.

I think she and the other who was involved in this case was selling just the old stocks of magazine for their pocket money. There was particularly demand of a magazine, which contained a story about Rupa and Raju’s story. It made all the readers cry, yet they loved to read it. Some of the boys and girls were involved in selling sneakers and clothes, which of course was donated by big organizations, of course stolen from the storeroom’s and at times from their own room mates.
read more

Two Travellers

Sunita Giri 10:43 PM |

When I was young, occasionally, housemothers and nannies used to encourage us to do something, as we wish during the Saturday evening, before our sleep. People used to take part in it voluntarily. Some liked to do group dance, some body used to sing, some liked citing poems and some telling story and some took part in small drama. But most of the people liked it watching from and then commenting. I do remember loud claps, after each performance.

There were, no shortage of audience for such shows in Bal Mandir. For this, one of the biggest room was used and bed served as seats and front of the remaining space served as stage, as well as seating huge crowed. Mostly those shows used to be, more than houseful, it was overcrowded and some really had to let their head only in the room, where the show was going on.

What I remember now is, this small drama, my brother had performed with the help of his friend, Basanta. He could have been around twelve years then.

Both of the boys appeared on the scene, both of them were carrying some package. carrying package would be very wrong words to use here. In fact they were carrying something, which was packed on the cloth and its top was tied with the help of some rope, so it looked almost round shape - its called potali. Besides it was also tied on, one side of a long stick, which rested on their shoulder while they walked, it seemed that, it made the carrying process easy. It must have been the copy scene of Hindi movie, however; I doubt, that we had exposed to Hindi movie then.

These two young boys, were acting as travelers, who were traveling from one place to other, who happened to encounter at the night stay point, both were spending. Before they went for a sleep, they had their meal together from their respective potali and also had a small chat.

Sukdev asked, “do you make noise while you are sleeping ?”
Basanta asked, “what kind of noise ?”
Sukdev responded, “ I mean snort or some thing like that.
Basanta replied, “no, I am the kind of very noiseless person when I sleep.”
Sukdev, “Oh, but when I sleep they say, I make noise, its something like munching you know, so when you hear that in your sleep; just ignore it. And one more thing, I have to leave tomorrow much early, perhaps earlier than you also, so lets go to bed. So they went to sleep.

While Basanta, was deep in his sleep, Sukdev was eating the food from Basanta’s potali. Basant, mumbled from his sleep, in a groggy voice, “what is this noise ?” Sukdev, replied, “Oh, that my sleep sound.” He was munching food -beaten rice - with over exaggerated facial expressions, so we would understand what he was doing, which made us laugh.

The next day, when Basanta woke up, he found out that his food was missing which his wife had made him for the trip. He pretended a bewildered look, in most possible way, which made us laugh even more on his stupidity.
read more

My pride, my passion

Sunita Giri 11:11 PM |

This year, winter season did not crept slowly, but it seems it came with a jump. This is the beginning of November, not December to be so cold here in Kathmandu. I am quite not sure how cold its going to be, in the late December and beginning of the January this year. I can only guess and prepare for the worst.

Unlike for others, for me winter is; a long day as I have the habit of staying till late to give a complete look to the new work I start. I do knitting as soon as the winter creeps in. In fact, saying I do knitting is not fair , knitting is my passion & pride too. Its my favorite pass time also, which helps me to get rid from stress; so knitting is kind of a meditation for me, it works as a stress buster also. During winter season, when I watch my favorite programs on television, most of the time I find myself knitting. For me watching television and doing nothing is pure waste of time.

Its really hard for me now, to remember how young I was, when I started knitting; I could have been as young as eight years old or younger than that. When I started knitting I started broom stick as a needle and the wool. I [we] get a chance to work thrown by others only and it must have been joined from hundreds of places, but we used to wear those hairbands and mufflers anyway. We have made it, so the satisfaction of wearing those things, was thousand percent higher, than the one; which could have from the best designers of the world or high priced goods.

Now, if you give me small balls of five different shades, my mind instantly stars working, how I will use those colors and blend it, into beautiful designs. However I was not much appreciative about the beauties of rainbow colors, then, we are not happy about that rainbow designs, instead it reminds me [us] that I was growing up in Bal Mandir. I [we] grew up, doing the needle work on umbrella, then barn yard wires. It was not easy to make our custom designs needles, from those available sources, but still we did it.

Who had money to buy needles or new ball of wool ? It was years later only, I got a chance to knit on real needles but while learning it was okay. One more good thing while learning knitting was its late 70s or the early eighties, so there was not much television to distract us to to waste time much. We used to do this during long winter vacation, like all others I started making hairbands and then mufflers as these two are the easiest to make one.

Being able to convert a thread, into a dress is some thing gives me so much satisfaction and pride too. I, not only get a chance to pick up my choice of color, but pattern for it and then design for a sweater. I knit, all kinds of woolen wears, like sweaters, even if I really don't need one. I have to see, the design, that comes in my head. As soon as it comes in my mind and have to see it in real and touch it and feel it also. Its not that I can come up new designs for sweaters, every year. Some times its time for caps or dozens of new bandannas or try out new patterns or designs for mufflers. If there is nothing to do and make new one, I make woolen socks, even if I already have one, for every day. All I have to do, is to knit.

I have so many caps and mufflers and socks and bandannas and of course sweaters too. Normally, I give it to my friends, who are nice and kind to me. Usually, I give them small items, like mufflers, caps and bandannas. Everybody appreciates my work and designs and color blending so much. They speak very highly of my talent and skill, but if they want some of my designs, they find it very expensive and choose not to pay for it. So, now I have a huge collections of woolen wears.

After reading Loren Cunningham, on his book ‘Daring to live on the Edge’, to give and not ruling out giving, even if I myself at the receiving end, gave me an idea, to give those stocks to a charity. Yesterday, I went to a church, which is in my area and gave some bandannas, caps, mufflers and tubes.

I also remember, a line from Rich Dad Poor Dad, God does not need to receive, but we need to give, so before next Saturday, I am going to give a dozen sweaters also. It so happened that church runs an orphanage also with about 15 children. Rajan Neupane, the Church Leader asked me, “is it for children ?” I responded, “Yes, but sorry for sweaters, because they are big enough, suitable adults only” then I added, “but those caps, bandanna and mufflers can be sued by all age people.” I am sure there are some adults, who needs to wear some decent sweaters during this winter; when the winter is so ruthless than before. Or, this is some thing I am thinking, but I keep asking people around me and then they agree with me, that this winter is very cold and it has not even started yet.
read more