Locked up

Sunita Giri 10:40 PM |

“When our mother died, after giving birth to our sister, in just six months”, Junkiri Tamang, recalled her childhood memories, “we were admitted in the orphanage. My education was normal, until, second grade but since my sister was sent for adoption, to a foreigner, my study was hampered. My mind was either with her or in my homeland.”

“Whenever, I remember the time, my mother had died, that always makes me angry with my oldest sister.” She went on.

“Why are you angry with your sister and not with your father, who left your mother, when she was pregnant; with his fifth child ?” I ask her, remember, her father had left her mother to marry another woman. For more read: Shadow of Ghost.

“My concern was, if she had called neighbours, while my mother was ailing on her bed; that small act might have, saved her life.” she said and then went on “...but that ‘nakkali, instead used to vanish in the village, to play with other guys. She was the oldest one to look after us, and she should have been, more responsible in the situation like that.” she said.

“How old was she ?” I asked her. She cant remember but figures out that she may have been around eleven to fourteen years old at that time.

I thought, teenagers around the world are known to be careless and carefree regardless of their back ground and country, why on earth her sister would be different ? Then, I asked her again, “Don’t you blame you father ? because your mother was abandoned by your father when she was pregnant and that could have caused her poor health, I mean mentally and physically, which ultimately killed her ?”

“Its not my father, but my grandmother who forced him to leave her; because he was Chettri and my mother was Tamang”, was her response.

“After four children, your father agreed to leave her and marry another woman; because of cast difference ?” I asked her in surprised with angry tone.

“Of course,” She replied fast. “And its your grandmother, who persuaded him to marry with other woman of their own cast.” I pressed her to find true answer. “Yes !” was the prompt answer from her side again.

“And when she died, it was your sister’s mistake ?, because she did not take care of her when she was ailing.” I pressed her more hoping to find some kind of understanding from her as a wife and mother.

“You never know, our mother could have been saved, if only; somebody had taken her to the hospital, which was nearby.” she replied wondering, why I was pressing her too much.

“Can’t you see, its your father who caused your mother that much trouble ? who abandoned her when she was pregnant, with his fifth child. She had to leave her home and travel all the way to Dang from Pyuthan, to work as a farm helper, in a rich man’s house and to look after her other four small children.” I pressed her even harder, with seemingly frustrated voice, while giving her my way of seeing the whole situation and desperately hopeing she might understand it now when she herself is a wife and mother of two grown children.

“How come I know all that, because, I was only seven years old then.” was her prompt response.

“I am asking you now and you are a wife and a mother of two college going children. Why you are blaming your grandmother and your sister and not your father.” I persistent and at the same time could not hide my anger, when I was asking this question to her.

“Our father used to take care of my brothers, that is something for me.” She replied, and then went on “….when I visited my homeland, after getting married, my brothers had told me he had helped them this way or that way and he also had taken some responsibility to get my oldest sister marry.”

“But, not your mother ?”, now, I am demanding more than asking. “No, he married again and from second wife also he had five more children.” She said.

At this point I was so angry with her answer, I was about to say, some thing really nasty like your father is a man-whore ! but did not say that.

“And you still think its not his mistake that your mother died and you and your sister had to find yourselves in an orphanage ? I pressed her more. Now, she cant answer, but used the word ‘prostitute’ for her own sister, even years after the accident happened. She still holds her sister responsible for the death of her mother.

“Today, cant you see your sister, was merely teenager ? you are old enough now to see the trouble your mother was going through, but your father was an adult man and already a father of four children to leave his wife, who was pregnant again with his fifth child ?” Now I thought, I will make her understand my take on the situation and I was not planing to leave her one room apartment, just like that.

She is still not convinced that its her father, who is responsible to make her and her siblings orphans. Her college going daughter was listening quietly, my hard questions to her mother and in desperation to find answer, I turned towards her asked, “tell me whose mistake it is, its her father or her grandmother or sister ?”

“Of course, its your father’s fault.” She replied turning towards her mother. Her response was very prompt and there was no confusion while answering the question. When she said, ‘your father’ there was no feelings in her tone, to give him the respect of a ‘grandfather’.

Her daughter’s answer confused her, even more. She choose to remain silent in returns of my all questions after that.

Now, I see that, why she was not seeing the whole situation as I was seeing and even her college going daughter understood it, as I was pressuring her hard to understand the situation with grownups way, after decades of the situation that made her orphan ( she refused to accept that she was or is an orphan ). That single decision, which her father took to leave her mother, made her orphan.

How should we see this situation ? when his own daughter is blaming it to her own grandmother and calling her sister by names including the word like ‘prostitute’. She is the one, who is refusing to see it from differently. Some where down the line her growth seem to have stopped, in that seven year old child. A seven year old child seemingly lacks analysing situations. The time had frozen for her, when her mother died which changed her life upside down.

No wonder, I could not make her to understand my version of seeing the situation or lets put it in other way, a mature version of understanding the situation and she is so locked up in that immature state of mind that can not see others point of view in this regard as clearly as we are seeing it.

Physiologist call this kind of condition as a traumatic phase, due to life changing incident that had happened in her life, I mean very early stage of her life. That traumatic phase locked up her growth from inside her head.
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Pranksters and their victims

Sunita Giri 11:05 PM |

Junkiri and Parbati Magar, intently watched Anita Thapa, a seventh grader, taking out all the barks of a slim stick, with so much hard work, which she had pulled from a branch of a tree. Then she dipped the stick, on the open drain and then she saw, Shyam Sundar, in a distance. She called her with the gesture and then invited him to play tug of war. In fact, word invited, is not the right word, she had challenged him saying, come on lets play the tug of war and see who wins.

Once he took the challenge, she was holding the other end of the stick and let him catch the remaining part, which he greedily caught from the almost touching her hand, hoping to win easily. But once she started pulling the stick, he was so surprised the stick just slithered in his hands and at no time, he lost the control over the stick as he lost grip from the stick. It did not took him much time to figure out, that he had been cheated, with dirt's on the stick.

He got furious, and started chasing her. She started running like crazy.This run and chase game lasted for about ten to twelve minutes, but to her it seemed like hours. Ultimately, she was able to outran him. The big lawn was surrounded by big trees and bushes which made it easier for her to run and hard for him to find her.

Her others friends and class mates, who wore watching them play the tug of war laughed hard and then rolled on that lush green carpeted lawn with so much fun.

Anita Thapa, was very sharp girl, contrary to this boy, who was deaf and spoke in a way you can hardly figure out, what he was trying to say, unless you were his close family circles. His intelligence was average and who wore thick glasses. He could not attend schools for higher educations due to his disabilities.

When Shyamsunder’s mother came to know about this prank, she was so mad not only with Anita, but all the girls in that orphanage ( Balmandir ). She started using all the words in the dictionary or out of dictionary to curse orphans. Luckily none of the girls ever, got a hint of the words she used.

Years later, whenever the incident was mentioned, they all laughed and it really rekindled the fun moment of their childhood.

Radha Pandey, used to catch releasing gas on her fist and then mostly used to released it on the nose of a girl named Mira Upadhayaya, who was mildly, mentally retarded. When she released it, she used to hold the victim girl very tightly and then keep her hands on her nose so that she won’t be able to escape easily, and then slowly used to release the smell, making sure that she inhales most of that foul smell.

Radha Pandey, was normal teenager with average intelligence and she used to pick up an abnormal teengirl ( mentally retarded ) to have fun. But some times, of course, she used to pull the same prank to other girls too, who ever was nearby her, whenever the gas came. They could only figure it our after inhaling it, in very suffocatingly held nostril by her cupped hands, then she released the smell slowly as per her own timing.

I could have been very young because I can remember only one name among the crowd, who gave me that ‘big belun’, when I was a child, we used to call ‘belun’ for a baloon.

Some big girls, who were only on their late teens, saw me blowing it. What followed was something, which I had not expected. There were war of words going on with big boys and girls. Girls were verbally attacking boys for the rude act. Specially, Balkrishna Dai, who had given me that ‘big belun’ to play. Some body snatched my ‘belun’ and throw it on the face of Balkrishna, who gave it to me to play. I was not quite happy loosing my ‘belun’. Somebody consoled me, that they will give me, more bright and colorful ‘belun’ someday.

I really have to wait years to understand, why they made me to throw that ‘big belun’. Did he really pulled prank on me or I am really naive and young enough to understand the mischievous act which he did when he was a teenager ?

I am not sure, I will ever get the answer !
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Tongue twister

Sunita Giri 11:03 PM |

When I was a child growing up in an orphanage, my English was very very poor. I used to go to Government School, and you tell it and people here will figure it out how poor any ones English would be. Then was the time when we used to start learning English from fourth grade only.

We had one teacher, perhaps American because then we presumed that everybody who speaks English is American, who used to volunteer to teach us English. I could have been on sixth or seven grade then.

Some times he also took us in his rented apartment for refreshment. I think he used to stay near by where is Mikes’s Breakfast is today. But that again is my guess only. Though this area is very close to Bal Mandir, but we hardly used to go outside of the orphanage, so I do not have that good sense of road map.

During the same time one of the officer asked, Radha Pandey, to write on the black board; a task of a tongue twister, tell me a tale about a dog’s tail. He just wanted to see how much we have learned English, and how much of that class is helping us.

We were so thankful that he picked Radha Pandey, because she is the only one among our group, who used to go to St. Mary’s School. She did write all the spelling and words so correctly. I was so stunned how come she knew. For me then knowing all that was one of the biggest achievement of life.
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Small wonder

Sunita Giri 10:30 PM |

Knife - kanife, Know - kanow, Knob - kanob, Knock - kanock, Knit - kenit.

Some young girls were mugging it, in a rhythmic way, but in a bit loud voice, as children read; when they are in lower grades. These girls were asked to remember these words by their teacher, for tomorrow’s class.

Radha Pandey, along with her two friends, happened to be passing, these girls room, who were mugging it. Out of curiosity, she entered their room. Reeta Gurung, saw her first, so, she asked her, “what is the meaning of know ?”, she pronounced it, as Kanow. In Nepali, it means scratching.

She could not hold her laughter, but the other two laughed even harder. When they were done laughing, she explained the meaning of know, to her and after that, she also corrected them how to pronounce it.

Radha Pandey, was the student of St. Mary’s School, that is the reason, her English was far better than the ones, who were mugging the above words, as they used to go to government school.

“But why ?” Reeta asked, and then wondered “where does the ‘k’ goes ?” “It does not go any where, its just, you don’t pronounce the first letter; when you say it”, Radha responded.

“How come you know ?”, she wondered, while other just listened, with curiosity of a child.

“Oh, I just know this, because, I have already studied this in my school and I am in higher grade than you”, she said.

But then one girl asked from behind, “is that the ‘k’ is not in taking term with ‘n’ ?” Before she could say any other words, another question came from curious Reeta, “If the front letter remains silent, does that mean my name is pronounced as ‘Eetta’ ?”, which means brick in Nepali.

This time, all three girls erupted in healthy laughter and Radha responded, “No” for the both questions, wiping tear from her eyes, which was due to good hearty laughter.

“Then, how come you know ? when it remains silent and when it does not ?” Reeta was even more curious now, than before.

“Oh, for that you have to study and study hard”, she tried to explain as much as her 8th grade knowledge permits her to explain to any fourth grader.

“If we take Rita’s logic to omit ‘R’ from her name, then your name becomes ‘Adha’”, which means - half - in Nepali, Nirmala, said from behind. It amused Junkiri, and with that both girls started laughing again.

“What”, Radha asked with creased forehead, but this time she did not find this amusing.

Then onwards, it became Reeta’s greeting kind of question as and when she saw her, “Radha didi, why can’t I say, kanife and why it is said, nife only ?”

Junkiri, whose English was very poor, used to turn towards her and ask can’t you say “I don’t kanow”.

“Perhaps, it may work in your case”, is all she could respond scratching her forehead.

This naive questions, pulled them closer, than ever before.
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Ikebana - an art of flower arrangement

Sunita Giri 11:43 PM |

When I joined, The Everest Hotel, back in 1996, the flower kept on the front desk pulled my attention. Of course, the bunch of flower looks beautiful, anywhere and anyhow, yet for some unexplained reason some thing was nagging me. I simply could not figure it out what was that.

Chinia Kaji, the man, who arranged the flowers, was not only very decent and humble man but also was very experienced in his work. He has spent twenty plus years in this line of work. He has been doing the work ever since the Hotel had stared, under the world renowned hotel chain management - Sheraton group of Hotels. Before that, he used to arrange flowers in Prime Ministers office. Still, the flowers, which he arranged kept pulling my attention. Of course, not for good reasons.

There was some thing missing, his arrangement was missing the basic rule of flower arrangements. But, what makes me to pinpoint, because, he has years of experience in this line than me. How can I say this, I could not figure it out.

His style of flower arrangement is going to remind me of something, something which, I have forgotten, totally; I am not known, for very good memory power. This also became clear once I Joined the hotel and my bosses started complaining about my absent mindedness.

One day, I mentioned about the flower arrangement, to my boss, Subhashini Rana, who was Sales Executive and also added that, its lacking something. We were about the same age, so, we could talk about anything. She was the only one in the hotel, I have revealed; that I grew up in an orphanage.

It so happened that, she had done some training of ‘Ikebana’, a Japanese art of flower arrangement, from a Japanese lady, years before.

She started taking about the training  and also when she had done that training. When she was talking, I was surprised to learned that I have done the same training and by coincidence from the same lady also at the same time.

Except, I had got the training in Bal Mandir, the orphanage, where I grew up, along with others. The same lady used to take classes to other interested group of people, but this particular group was, more posh class of society.

I have done the Ikebana training, which I have totally, forgotten; and Chiniya Kaji, the flower arranger of the five star hotel's, his lacking basic rule for flower arrangement had reminded me of that training, but only after I talked about it with my boss.

Oh ! I have almost forgotten to mention the missing rule which pulled my attention, when you arrange flower there has to be triangle shape on the arrangement, which his arrangement lacked and is a must and a basic rule of this art.

When I was in the Bal Mandir, it was under the royal family and they were the ones,who used to look after us. They made sure, we get so many training, so that it will help us later on in our life as part of survival skill. For us those were the survival skill and for my boss it was a hobby.

Ikebana, was one of many training, which I have learned during my childhood. When Royals was the one who was running the orphanage in association with UK royal family, days were a lot better for orphans like me.

But today, there are news, government shows their back, when it comes to do some thing to orphanages, which faces financial crisis, refusing to take any responsibilities, for those who need help.
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Drug, overdosed

Sunita Giri 10:48 PM |

We keep reading celebrities, specially Hollywood celebrities, dying of the over dose of drugs like Michael Jackson, Brittany Murphy, Heath Ledger etc. In my case drug overdosed is something, that is stamped, in my early childhood memory and perhaps the one I was so young enough to remember events as such, as it is very daunting one, of all my childhood memories.

We were very small then, I could have been about five or six years old. It was morning time and just the beginning of the winter vacation, around 8:15 am or so. There used to be one separate room for daily medical checkups in the orphanage, I was growing up.

That particular day, the medical room was unattended by the sister - medical assistant, for about, may be 10 - 15 minutes. Where she had gone, we children had no idea, but she had left all the medical drawers open when she had left. Were about 6 - 10 children, who had been in that room and some of the children started taking some medicines, a white color tablets, which shape was round. Perhaps, it was Citamol tablets. One girl, whose name was Urmila, who was as old me; liked the taste of that tables so much. So, she chewed some; and more she chewed, more she liked and swallowed all the tablets she chewed.

Other children, also started taking some tablets, whatever they could find in the drawer. I also have chewed some, but I did not like the taste, as much as Urmila liked it, so, I spat it immediately and for the very reason; I did not take or swallow any other tablets.

When, the sister, came we ran out of the room as children of that age do. We used to take our morning meal at before 9 am. Schools were closed, for the winter vacation. Before 10 am Urmila had started foaming, from her mouth but she was hiding from fear also as other children were scared so they did not report it to the room nanny. But, some how the room nanny got the news and there were hustle and bustle for some time. Other children also started foaming but by this time the color of the Urmilas’ face had become so blue and purple. She along with other children were rushed to the hospital.

Before noon, the news came; Urmila, had succumbed to death, due to the over dose of medicines. I did not see her face after she was rushed to the hospital; perhaps adult knew what not to share with children of my age. But I still remember her face. She was angelic looking girl and had the haircut just below her ear and with a fringe touching her eyebrows.

Oh ! yes, after that, there was another sister, but I cant remember; both sisters ( medical Assistance ) name.

One thing for sure, today I am still not very much fan of any medicines, specially oral and avoid it to the abnormal height. Sometimes i think i should ask expert is this ok to avoid this much of medicine ? I am quite not sure, this has anything to do with my childhood memories and my room mates death. Whatever the reason may be, its clear that, I hated taking medicine since I was a small child.
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The Japanese social worker

Sunita Giri 10:12 PM |

At around late 2005 or about early 2006, a local newspaper had flashed a news, that a social worker from Japan, was molesting teenage girls from an orphanage. At that particular time, he was one of the biggest, probably the sole contributor, to the Nepal Children’s Organization; which ran an orphanage, Bal Mandir, under its roof.

The news came with bit of surprise to me. It was, some thing hard for me to believe but the news flash, compelled me to visit a good friend of mine, who had gone to Japan with one of the adopted daughter by Makimoto, who had picked all her bills during her stay in Japan, to study fashion designing for about a year during 1996 - 1997.

The man, is known only by the name Makimoto, to all the people, who knew him. He was a very successful businessman, back in Japan. The man was married with a daughter. Apart from doing business, he also was involved in many charity works, here in Nepal. A book collection of Japanese social workers in Nepal; dubbed him, as a Japanese Hero of Nepal. He had done so many charities not only in Kathmandu base organisations, but in the some rural areas of Nepal too. He had done remarkable contributions to uplift the needy peoples conditions in Nepal. Honestly, rest of his contributions is not known to me.

Me, being the product of the same the orphanage, we do keep getting news good or bad, that is associated in this organisation, through vast circle of childhood friends.

So, when I visited my friend, I asked her about the news and more importantly I asked her, could this be true ?

She knew the man by then for about 10 years and ‘Maki’ as she calls him, used to visit her during his regular visit to Kathmandu. In fact, Maki, used to visit the other girl, with whom my friend shared the room.

Lets call her Dhana, is the name of the other girl, Maki had adopted as a daughter. He used to visit Nepal once in every three months for many years. It was also because, Maki had ran one project, within the organizations premises first of its kind by any foreign sponsors to support the organization. This project supported only girls, married too with very few exception; who were discharged from the Bal Mandir.

The girls, used to make sweaters, caps and some freshers used to make some mufflers too, from the catalogue, which he used to bring from Japan. Finished product used to make its way back to Japan; where he used to sell them in high prices. In return he used to contribute handsome sum, to run the organization. This friend of mine, was also involved in knitting sweaters for some time for Maki’s project.

When, asked about the news flash, she revealed the other side of the social worker, which I was not aware of. She said the news, is not just rumour, it has truth in it too. She said the Japanese social worker, was very selective while choosing a girl for his lust. He only choose very shy, introvert and timid girls for his lustful needs; for example the daughter who he had adopted, was also being used for his physical needs.

As she had mentioned, Dhana, was Junior to me in the orphanage and was very timid, shy and introvert girl, I have ever seen in my life. She would not dare open up what was gong on in her life and not dare to talk about it, to even with her closest friend. No, not, even in her wildest dream. Oh ! yes, there were many like Dhana, in the orphanage.

Profiling his victim, was very careful task for Makimoto. He do not had to worry about the leakage of his lustful act, at least not from the girls he picked up for his physical needs. A father of a college going girl only picked girls in their teens or early 20s. Dhana, must have been, older, only by some years than his own daughter.

Teenage period is very fragile for both physical and emotional growth and known for being irresponsible and immature act any time. Well, how the journo sniff on the news, I have no idea. But, may be, thats what is the journalist work. My guess is one of the girls from the orphanage must have felt jealous for the gift showers along with occasional lunch/dinner in the five star hotel, these girls enjoyed.

Before his death by cancer on 2009, he was the sole and biggest contributor to the Organisation. May be that is the reason, when I read the news about the molestation charge, my mind was zapped for the first time. I could not decide whether he should be thanked for his contributions or cursed for whatever, he was doing to these teen girls. Or may be, I just wanted to overlook his, lustful act in front of his contribution. This is not some thing like me.

But, wait a second that definitely makes me the needy one accepting the bad act; just because that girl is not me. I am not being sensitive enough about the physiological traumas those girls may have, ever gone through.

Should girls accept the assault under such circumstances ? or the more serious question here, was there any way, they could avoid it ?

Whatever the situation is, once again, the knives are out for a sharpened debate on the acceptance of the gratuitous assaults on girls/women by those who wield power and money.
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The new hair style

Sunita Giri 9:24 PM |

Four girls were standing with their head bowed, on the veranda, in front of a room of a housemother, Sabitry Basnyat. All four girls were confused and frightened wondering, why they were there standing in front of her.

The housemother, was a tall and heavy woman, she was about 5’6” tall but almost 80 kg and when you have seen her in mid 80s, it would not have been usual sight like today. So to the teen girls, who were studying in grade eighth or ninth; she, sure were very intimidating and over towering to those around her. Especially to girls.

Then, she broke her silence, clearing the confusion from the girls and other girls watching them from safe distance by asking the four girls “do you go to school to study or be fashionable ?”

Still bowed head, one barely audible voice came from a girl “to study.”

“What !” she raised her voice, seemingly angry, that the answer coming from the girls. It was regarded as a disrespectful manner to answer back your seniors and they were the girls from an orphanage. They were not supposed to answer back at least not so quickly.

There was a long silence and the girls were very nervous with the thought, what she was going to do to them and for what ? As she was very abusive and never hesitated to bang or smack girls for the drop of the hat.

She was holding a long and big thick stick. It was her idea, to tame children in that orphanage. Like others, she also thought its, the only way, they can be tamed. Girls knew she hated answer back and yet she was repeating the same question “why do you go to school, to study or to be more fashionable ?”

Rita Manandhar, mumbled amid fear “… to study dijju.” The housemother, was on the side of Narayani Sigdel, so she smacked hard on her right side with “what” on her mouth. presuming, she is the one, who had answered back.

“Aaiya !” Narayani cried in pain and they could hear the sound of Auh ! from the girls watching from the distance.

“Why do you go to school ? what do you think, why you girls were sent to school; to be fashionable ?” she raised her voice in anger. She poked the each girls, with the tip of the stick in search of an answer.

All the girls remained silent, which tested her patience limit, then with frustration of not getting an answer, she smacked all the girls one by one with two slap sticks each. Rita and Narayani started crying but Shova Acharya and Babita Rokaya tolerated the sharp pain.

Then, she changed her question, “how much money you paid for the cut and who gave you money ?” This is one of the main reason, which has angered her to the max.

“We did not pay for the cut and it is a free cut.” Narayani summed up the guts to answer even at a cost of a sharp smack of the thick stick.

The lovely hair cut, was sure a free of cost cut from- government run Skill Development Program, which was on the way to these girls school. Students of the institute loved to see these girls, who gave them opportunity to work on their hair.

“Who gives you this good hair cut at a free of cost ?” “are they your relatives ?” she asked back with a loud shout. It seemed that, she had made her mind she was not going to believe them, even though, they were telling her truth. No body can help those people, who already had a preconceived notion about the truth. But then, with that answer, she was even more angry and then she smacked them, with more force this time. “Aaieya ! Aaieyayay !” she let out a sharp cry in pain and then sat down on the floor.

Every time there were a smack of a stick, the sound of Auh ! from the girls watching from the distance could also be heard.

Rita, slowly raised her eyes from the floor to look at Babita and Shova, still her head bowed. Their eyes met at one point and then it followed back to where Narayani, had fell down on the ground. She had peed on the floor. Then all the girls eyes met again and then they looked down at the floor.

Shova and Babita remained silent, even with all red scars on their hands and legs. Because they had tolerated so much pains, so now their face also had became so red and still they looked straight ahead, instead on the ground now, and ignored the piercing questions coming from the housemother.

Now, she was sure, she was not going to get any answers from these girls; So, she gave them the ultimatum; “if, I see you girls flaunting this kind of hairstyle next time, you girls are going to find yourselves in hospital, now, you go !”

How much she meant that threat, only she knows.

Her smack, was far less painful, than the hairstyle; which we used to get from the man the orphanage authority selected, always a man, from Medhesh area, who did the work not for fun but as a living and when he used to come to give us the cut, he did not have to worry about getting work in his saloon for a whole week.

Later that evening, most of the big girls - age range from fourteen to seventeen, were trying to find out some answers, whats wrong with the good haircut ? Just because they lived in an orphanage, does this meant they should not even have better haircut; even at free of cost ? what the housemother or any of the authority of the orphanage has to loose or will it harm girls in any way ? Does ugly haircut is associated with better brain or more responsible behaviour ?

They could not find any answer then. So, in future, they were more careful hiding the haircut, than to think of going to school with that horrible looking cut, which they used to get from the barber.

Girls, go through all kinds of pains and troubles to stay in tune with the pace of time. No pain, is too much for them to bear. Oh ! how we wished, that tall and heavy housemother and other authorities of the orphanage, had this much conscience.
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Pink Nail polish & My first make-up

Sunita Giri 10:49 PM |

One day, a girl, whose name was Rama Sharma, got pink color nail polish. Kind of pink color, only rural Indians could have prefered. Not today's Indians, but 70 - 80s bollywood choice of pink. She must have stolen it, from her rooms’ nanny’s collection. She was shaking the bottle hard trying to mix the thinner with the jammed polish and with some mischievous thought, she called her two friends; Sanu Maya Upadhaya and Moti Tamang, who were chatting with other group of girls nearby. She shared with them about her ideas, which other two liked immediately, nodding their head vigorously, with a sparkling twinkles in their eyes.

They needed a girl, to complete that idea which came in Rama’s head and then they spotted me playing near by. I could have been about ten or eleven years old, could have been younger than that too, but I just can’t remember. The problem is, there are hardly anyone to whom I can turn to, to tell me exactly, how old I was; then.

When I was growing up in an orphanage and was in school, people regarded me very average looking girl, easily forgettable and not even worth asking who is she. Oh yes ! except, they remembered, that I was short, fat and dark brown girl.

They thought, I was the perfect look for their mischievous plan. Sanu Didi called me first and then she gestured me to come towards her, with the motion of her fingers.

Since they were seniors to me, so, I simply followed the gesture. Then they took me to a far corner of the kitchen Garden, where other girls were busy chatting and some were knitting and some even reading books. It was the laundry drying area ( solar dry ) and after that there was the boundary wall. It was mainly behind the kitchen garden, where these girls could avoid grown ups interruption. Grown-ups meaning nannies or housemothers or the other staff.

First, they colored my hand hails, then they put a tika on my forehead. A dot shaped on centre of my forehead, not exactly forehead but in between my eyebrows. Then these three girls, look at each others and then told me to close my eyes, which I did meekly. These teens girls must have felt itchy to color me, but all they had was pink color nail polish and an ugly looking girl like me. I could not protest and there was no one near by to stop them doing what they were up to.Then, they went on coloring my lips, and cheeks and then on my eyelids too.

While they were doing this they told me not to open my eyes as well as remain motionless too. Once they finished their work, they started chuckling and then laughing and the laughter got hysteric. When you were a teenager growing up, in an orphanage, there is noting called mannerism or etiquette or being gracious. If you feel like laughing, you just laugh heartily, giving damn, what others are feeling or thinking. They only had learned the raw way of emotion expression ?

And, that's what they did after seeing my complete make over face. After hearing these three girls laughing hysterically, others joined them. Moti didi was was holding her laughter, while they were coloring me; now she turned her face and broke into laughter with other girls. I could not see myself in the mirror as the mirror area was not near by.

When these girls started laughing, I sensed some thing was wrong. I was confused, why they were laughing like that ? Should I be happy, because they picked me to give me a complete makeover or I should be angry. I was also seemingly not aware to the fact, that nail polish is not going to take off easily from my lips and cheeks. I was the reason people were laughing and they were laughing at me. Now, it was my time to pull my face long.

It made them laugh even more, first : they laughed at my all pink colored face and second: that long pulled face was more amusing to them.

Sensing something was wrong, I tried to wipe out my lips, but I did not see anything on my fingers nor on the back of my frock, like others used to. Moti Didi, draged Junkiri, her close friend to show me and my make up. Then, both of them told me to close my eyes. When I closed it, Junkiri laughed so hard, she fell on the ground and from there she asked me to close my eyes again; to which I meekly obeyed, and this time she rolled on the ground with laughter.

But, when she stood up from the ground, she had unearthed, one big size red radish and vanished with it, in another corner of the kitchen garden with some of her close friends. Again, I touched my eyelid, there was nothing, I could see on my hand. Why she was laughing that hard.

Sanu Didi came and then told me to smile, to which I stretched my lips with closed teeth and then she burst into uncontrolable laughter. I can only wonder why ?

That day, I was the free of cost entertainment to these teen girls. And Oh yes ! I cant remember again. How painful it was to remove, that awful looking pink thick nail polish from my face. Sure, It was not easy, but how tough; I can’t remember. like how many days it took me to remove that or how much flack of skin from my lips and cheeks, I have lost in the process.

All I can remember now, is all of them laughed so hard that made so sense to me. Oh yes ! until, I saw myself in the mirror but then again, I was not laughing.

Did you just say, I could have used nail polish remover ! I could have asked you then, what is that ? and No, I did not use that, to remove my makeover. That would have been the luxury for us then.
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I am not alone

Sunita Giri 11:21 PM |

It was the year 2008, on August, when Koshi dam broke down and it inundated the whole village which was on its way down. The media coverage on this issue was more misleading than informing on the subject matter. Public and the media was blaming Indian Government for the broken dam and the flood which spoiled the harvest of about 200 families in 100 of hectors of land. Farmers were helpless, so cursing the government as well as Indian government, who had helped made that dam about 50 years ago. The center columns of the dam was decayed by the force of water during the time span of 50 years, which ultimately gave up. And when it gave up it had encroached all the river embankment in its way.

The news was so much, so that; it was on every daily headlines, topics of all the talk shows on Televisions and Radio and the talk of the town.

When my favorite talk show host VIjay Kurmar, a TV journalist, helped me to get an idea through his program, that country is not flooded, but the flood is, only on the dam affected areas.

I had no option, but to find more on it, so I switched my channel to CNN to find out; what exactly is happening here in Nepal.

The moment I switched on the channel, the muddy water, gushed out from all over; it was the picture of Bihar, India on CNN.

Koshi river, is regarded as the curse of India rather than the curse of Nepal. They use the words ‘sorrow of Bihar’ as the Bihar is most affected area being the most flood prone area of the country. CNN was not informing about the people who was affected here in Nepal and about 200 families who had lost their harvest, which will effect the country in the following months to come. It was covering the same news of the Koshi river, the impact of the flood and the flooded areas, which was bigger, I mean a lot bigger, than the broken dam had affected here in Nepal, which is the origin country of the river also. They were informing that the flood had displaced about 200,000 families in India, who ever was on its way and the country had lost millions worth of harvest and their belongings, which got dampened and then was damaged in their water logged house.

No news channel or dailies had given me this kind of big picture of the broken dam and its bigger impact in our neighboring country. It was busy talking only about the effect it had here in Nepal and public here, was busy cursing and blaming the government as well as Indian Government and I was thinking, accident do happen and once in a 50 years, disasters like this is inevitable, even if we take all the precautions to avoid it.

When the flood completed its course, it had by then swept about 300,000 houses and hundreds of people from their homeland and thousands of hectors fertile lands that was about to give them, their annual corps, in India alone.

On the screen of the CNN, the water was on the street, inside the house and on the roof of a house in that poorly structured area of the Bihar. Thin people with so much desperation and helplessness in their look, clutching on anything to hang on, so that the force of the flood; won’t swipe them off with it.

While watching that muddy water coming from almost nowhere, my mind drifted back in my memory lane. Suddenly, a though came in my mind; I am not alone ! I myself have been a flood victim, which had swept the entire village and all our harvest; landing all of my siblings ( five out of six ) in two orphanages, decades ago.

I am not alone, who is the victim of the natural disaster. When the flood swept our home, harvest and dispersed the family members. I was only three year old, young enough not to understand the gravity of the situation. But the feelings with the realisation that I am not alone was so reliving and free of burden to carry the judgement people get in their mind, when they learned, I have spent my entire childhood in an orphanage. Some times, its like giving these people, a licence to treat me like a second class citizen. I find this very strange; why do they react that way ?

If you want to know; my whole story, read With love, from God

~ end ~
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Are we cursed ?

Sunita Giri 2:39 AM |

As an orphan growing up in the country’s biggest orphanage, I have huge impact in my mind as being treated like a cursed child. As if finding ourselves in that kind of condition was all our mistake.

This believe, is mainly came from the maid nannies and and other junior staffs at the orphanage; who strongly believed in this notion, and while they chatted in their gatherings, we young children just grasped it and it also stamped in our young subconscious minds forever; making this believe, like ours as time flew by .

'We are cursed children.'

As an adult a friend of mine, Manjita Shrestha, who is married to one of my childhood friend Sanu Babu Shrestha voiced it, in strong and clear words “ yes, you people are unlucky and cursed that is the reason no one can do any good work that will last for long."

I asked her in return, “Okay, I believe, what you are saying; but tell me one thing, we are unlucky because we don’t have our parents with whom we can turn if in case we face any problem even a financial problem - the major reason we always blame for our frog like progress - but you have both of your parents, why your luck is not touching your unlucky husband ? why he is so unaffected by you being luckier than hims or us ? why he has to struggle so hard to meet ends meet ?

She stared me quietly for long time, but my question really silenced her, for really long time.

My other childhood friend, Junu Tamang, who landed in the orphanage, after her mother died in six months giving birth to her last doughter. Her mother had been abandoned by her father, when she was pregnant with his 5th child; to marry another woman.

Junu Tamang, now mother of two college going children, strongly believe that notion saying “...of course we are cursed”. I am going through this kind of tough times simply because, my father or grand father did something, they should not have done. That is the reason, I am not going to do any thing that is going to cause my children any harm in thier future.

How come an adverse situations, like lack of finance, being abandoned by the parents or death of single or both parents or the being the victims of the natural disaster have anything to do with the innocent children ? and they being treated like cursed child ?

Is the notion of curse is just an individual believe ? Until the other person has his opinion, I hear and then understand its full meaning, which thoroughly changed my childhood believe.

When the father of Tirtha B. Tamanag and SanuMaya Tamang died , their mother could not think of staying in her village, so she headed toward the city and started working as a maid in a family. Luckily, the lady happened to work in the orphanage, so she got the two children admitted in her office. Their mother remained faithful to the lady and stayed with her until her two children were out of the orphanage.

After completing their education, they settled in the Kathmandu and during one of their visit in their village, one of Sanus’ uncle jokingly said “... you know the death of your father was the reason you two are educated and living in Kathmandu, he died right on time”, unlocking all the doors; otherwise would have been closed for you two, like the other children of this village.”

“I am not saying, his death did not bring any difficulty in your life...” she turned toward their mother and continued … “but the end result is not that bad, right he looked for her nod.”

When Sanu told me this conversation; this worked like a third eye opener. It thoroughly shook the believe what I grew up hearing with and what other children like me adopted it making it like our own believe in due course of time, ‘we are cursed children’.

Some death: does unlock some doors for many and some death does become shackles for some people, it is purely individual believe how we take it and want to take it.

Today, after his share of struggle Sanu Babu Shrestha runs his own printing business, June Tamang got married and take pride in being able to send her own two children to college against all odd and Tirtha B. Tamang has been teaching in school and SanuMaya Tamang is also happily married with two daughters.

Today, when I think, ‘we are cursed’ is the believe that the illiterate nannies and the junior staffs at the orphanage injected in our young minds and this is totally disrespectful thoughts towards all the people who worked so hard to provide us the good shelter, food and made sure that we get good education also, so that we can be independent and support ourselves in future.

I wonder, why they did not taught us to be thankful toward those people who did all this for us.

Personally for me, a curse is a word(s), believing in its notion; is a pure curse.

~ end ~
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