Orphanage & donors

Sunita Giri 10:02 PM |

Bal Mandir, like any other orphanage is a place where mixed human emotions can be seen in at a glance. Here greed, lust, love, power play for the position, use and abuse of authority, can be seen at one place.

Children here are from the single parents, abandoned on the street side, on the hospital or at their poor grandparents, victims of flood disaster and other natural calamities, lost love or it can also be called lust existed on earth long before the orphanage. Some children are there because it will be easier for their remaining relatives to get full hands on the property left behind by their sister or brother or the aunt or uncle it could be anyone, you name it. Then there are kind of children who were born with special needs, I mean mentally retarded children and all their parents ( or perhaps relatives ) wants to do is to get rid of them.

Here people ( junior staff ) are nice when situation is normal and they will shout at their longs on your face telling these people are the children of ‘widows and sluts’. Just because you dropped your hat or unintentionally dashed some adults on your way.

If we are hungry, half an hour later after having our meal, they presume we have a ghost like hunger, which only an orphan can have - its so clear that none of them have seen any teenagers eat before in their life - and which is hard to feed such hungry child. You will get a chance to read more on ‘ghostly hungry’ in my future article.

There were people in the management who felt and acted as if they were a lot superior in front of us. I can bet that was their bonus and only incentive they could give themselves, as orphanages are non-profit organization to distribute any kind of bonus.

But then, there were donors who were not in our direct contact but who took care, that we had full time meal on our plates, we get decent cloths to cover our body and then they also used to take care that we have roof on our head. They also took care that we get education so that one day we will be independent and able to take care of our self and the family members in future. Apart from these they also made sure we get warm beds to sleep.

Oh ! warm beds reminded me of one incident in Bal Mandir. I could have been twelve or thirteen years old then. One donor had donated big truck load of bedding's. He had bought enough to give every single child. There were about 200 children in the Bal Mandir then, at the moment there are 188 children. Perhaps the number remains almost the same. One thing very unusual about this distribution of goods was that the donor had not given the money to the Organisation to buy the bedding's. Perhaps the donor did not trust his money to the organisation but bought the stuffs on his own and distributed it to us directly. The beds were of course very bright in colors. It was bit longer than the normal bed size also but that was also seemed to be taken cared of as one child was getting two bed and if you fold two at a time it made a supplemented pillow also. Oh ! those colorful beds were so beautiful.

Though, Nepal Children's Organization which runs Bal Mandir under its roof was run by the Royals during our time. Even royals need big donors to join hands to help 200 plus orphans, year after year. NCO also has many small orphanage in many district of the country about - ten plus. At that time UK’s royal family was also involved in helping hands with Nepal Children Organisation. I do remember princess Anne’s name being the chief representative of UK’s sponsors. But one nation that stood tall, all the time in giving was America. Many white people used to come to visit Bal Mandir and some big donors made sure we get what we needed.

During those visits some of them used to ask us, trying to crack some conversation, “do you speak English ?” and in reply we used to say, “little, little.” I am sure that it really used to amuse them.

Donors were like the cool breeze on the scorching heat. I believe they are a different face of God in his absence and that's what all we needed.

I wonder, does 330 million Gods, which is believed; we have here in Nepal include those donors as well. Then how come we have that many Gods and only 27.8 million population even today ?
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Whats her mistake ?

Sunita Giri 10:23 PM |

We were talking about the abusive words used for us in Bal Mandir by nannies, housemother and other staffs. My friend Junkiri , who displays tremendous memory power and which always amazes me to the max started telling me this incident.

“You know all the girls had gone to see the ‘dukentry’*,( please excuse her English. Oh ! yes, she wont mind if you laugh hard with her poor knowledge of English ) but some how I had missed the chance to be there.”

“But NAFA art gallery only exhibits paintings and I don't know they ever showed any documentary there”, I raised a question with a doubt. “you don't know this or may be you don't remember this but they used to show some ‘dukentry’ also.” she got irritated that I doubted her.

In the middle of the ‘dukentry’ old dijju**, - Kedar Shrestha, the oldest housemother not by age but by years she had spent in Bal Mandir - saw some girls while she was about to enter her room. NAFA art gallery was on the second floor of the building and our rooms including hers was on the first floor. Separating the two sides, there was a big spacious, almost square shaped yard, which in-house school in the Bal Mandir, used for various purpose.

“Once she saw the girls on the NAFA art gallery, she kept staring those girls for about 15 minutes without moving from veranda.” Junkiry continued, the girls had sneaked in to watch the documentary and she obviously did not like that. Its natural that the more passing girls also saw her and the news spread fast amongst the girls inside that exhibition hall, that the housemother is standing on veranda in front of her room and watching them, as both side of veranda faced each other. “Next they started departing from the hall one by one and they docked while they departed from the hall, you know how we used to do this” she went on. “and you know the girls had walked all the way of the long veranda of NAFA art gallery in docked form and dijju, was watching them from her veranda and I was also there.” She kept going.

For the housemother it was a funny scene to watch and very childish behavior from the girls side because she could recognise them even they docked on the veranda as the stairs that entered the hall was on the height so they could not hide from her even the girls wanted to.

Because this housemother was sharp, so she could recognise them even if they walked in docked mode. “Before they could even think of running out from the other door, she sent me to call them to see her”, Junkiri Chhetri continued.

When all the girls found them-self in front of her, she attached Radhika Sharma, because she had seen her first coming out of the exhibition hall.

“I remember she saying to all the girls, why do you have to go their ? that ‘dukentry’ is not for the people like you”. and look at Junkiri she pointed towards me and then said, “she may be very weak in her studies, but at least she has this much common sense, she should not go to this kind of exhibition without permission.” Junkiri, today shares this incident with us like this “I was thinking how come I am not there, because I hardly miss any opportunity to be out of the doors of our rooms.”

Then the housemother turned towards Radhika and suddenly said to her, “why do you have to go there ? you ! your mother had almost buried you after you were born, perhaps she knew long before, that you would be beyond control when you grow up !”

“Radhika, had started weeping after hearing those words”, Junkiri continued telling us the incendent. Once the housemother was done scolding, I had asked Radhika, “why she said that to you ?”

“I don't know why ‘jyapuni***’ said that” she was deeply hurt and angry with the housemother for the harsh words she had used, but then she said, “the way she repeatedly tells me whenever she is angry with me, it seems that my mother had tried to bury me, immediate after giving me birth. A police man had brought me here, they also say that I am Sherpa but that police man was a Sharma, who enrolled me here, so now I am Sharma.” “Radhika was very angry and repeatedly saying ‘jyapuni’ to the housemother.” Junkiry said.

Housemothers had easy access to the files of all children, where all the details of a child is written at the time of admission. Using such information to pinch us all the time and to make us feel bad about the stories associated us and use those information to shrink us more with every passing months and years is one form of abuse they used for us in Bal Mandir. Specially this housemother had mastered on this art of abusing us.

“Radhika Didi, does not look like Sherpa from any angle ?” I interrupted her. “of course, she does, if you look her very closely” Junkiri insisted. I choose not to argue with her, but could not help to give her the evil look which she hated. She hates being questioned and only enjoys the undivided attention when she talks. She is good to capture attention with all the dramas and voice over she gives to the characters of the involved person in her tale, while telling a story.

Radhika Sharma, does not look like Sherpa, but I do also remember, she does not have the aryan look rather than brahmin's. Her nose is some what like Mongolians just like her face shape and no where close to brahmin's. Perhaps she was cross bread and due to the social stigma her mother or family members may have tried to get rid from her. I can only guess, because even today this is not accepted in normal society here and this is the case of more than forty years ago. The one who has all the answer were never in contact with her. She is one of those very few people who had no one in her life.

When I look back, a question comes in my mind, what is that innocent child's mistake, if her mother tried to bury her ? and why use those information to shrink her whenever she does a work adult finds unthinkable and unacceptable. What ever she or they did its simply any teenager would do regardless of their background. But all they did is to associate our background with teenagers behavior. Ask any parents who have more than three children and they will help you to understand how teen behaves; they don’t have to be orphans to raise your hair and taste your patience.

Today Radhika Sharma is happily married with a newar guy, the couple runs a small clay craft company along with family members and has a son who goes to college.

Note : *the word documentary is the same word in Nepali also and she has problem pronouncing English words.
**dijju is the royal word for the elder sister.
***jyapuni is a derogative language used for newar women
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The punishment

Sunita Giri 9:58 PM |

Maya Joshi * , could have been around twelve, when she was suspected of stealing Rs. five from a nanny. The nanny who saw her entering her room, coincidentally also lost the Rs 5. So she reported it to the housemother, Sabitri Basnyat. After hearing the nanny’s complaint, housemother called Maya for interrogation. Maya, denied instantly but when the housemother resorted to insist she must had taken the cash, then Maya, also kept denying that she had taken that five Rs.

My guess, today when I am full grown up now, that the housemother insisted because the room Maya, had entered was so smelly that no one would want to enter without a reason as important as cash how small ( or big ) the figure is. Because that room particularly housed three adult male. Out of three, one was I guess was well above 30 years and a serious case of down-syndrome and the other one also mentally retarded but at least could walk and go to toilet on his own and third one was handicapped with limped hand and legs but he could go to toilet and could eat on his own. Other two guys must have been well above teen age but I am really having hard time to guess their age now. I was not at that kind age to look at the person and figure out their age. The first guy was like in a vegetative state of health. He had no sense that he had peed or pooped on the bed so keeping it clean, specially odorless was definitely not easy task for the woman who was appointed to take care of those thee adult male.

As a teenager, I have mastered not to breath in front of that room and hold it for about a minute when the room came near. Luckily once the room get crossed, there came the small corridor leading towards the front and back yard at the same time. I used to hold my breath until one of the yard came, and once I am in open space of a yard I used to inhale a long fresh air.

May be because of that reason the housemother and the nanny must have connected the loss of money with Maya’s quick in and out of that room. Sabitry Basnyat, firmly believed in punishing for every mistake one made. It could have been because she had such workplace to learn. Prior to her job in Bal Mandir, as a housemother, she was in the police force, where punishing to maintain discipline is strictly followed.

There was a badminton poll, in the big round shaped front yard of the Bal Mandir, where children played badminton after schools, during summer. But this particular morning Maya, was tied there by a long itchy jute rope in one side of the poll. The housemother, took the pleasure of doing it, she was not just tied, she was tied there nude. As if tying her nude on the poll was still not enough to her, so she also sprinkled sugary water all over her, so the flies will hover around her; because she had stolen cash.

Maya Joshi, must have stolen five Rs., anybody who have been child once in their life, must have stolen this or that. Reason of stealing could vary from every individual child but every body must have stolen something. what should not be stolen is perhaps absolutely different case with different people.

It was the sunny morning, before school hour. She was left tied on the poll for an hour or more, so that; all the children see her and remind them what will happen to them if they even think of stealing in future.

Some girls had gone down to talk to Maya, to comfort her in their own way. They even tried to hide her just appearing breast buds with the help of that itchy jute rope as much as possible. But all she had on her body in that morning was that slinky itchy rope wrapped around her body as tightly as possible. It sure was; not easy moment for Maya, as well as for we girls to watch it.

She was tied up on the ground floor of the building and that was all boys floor. The three side of that yard had boys rooms - four in total and one side was the main kitchen, dining hall and store area. Rooms for the girls were mostly up stares. It definitely was not the eye candy moment for the teen boys also, to watch Maya Joshi, in that condition. It was height of humiliation.

I really don't know how many of us got the clear cut idea that we should not steal, I am quite not sure about it. That method was way beyond teaching children ‘values of moral science.’ It only nurtured so much hatred in our hearts for the housemother who tied her and the other housemother who pretended they did not see what was gong on, under their nose and did not intervened to give such harsh punishment for the sum as small as Rs. five.

After 20 plus years of that incident, one more thing is, its not easy for me to figure out how big the Rs. five was then and how many stuff it could bought for us. We grew up in an environment no money was needed to buy stuffs, as everything we needed was available. Some people might find it strange but everything in life is just habit right ? if you have it you are used to of it but if you don’t have it, slowly it becomes a habit.

I am not against punishment or saying punishing is bad idea or the big issue here but how much a child should be punished for sum of Rs five, should be matched the punishment one get.

Looking back at the incident, I think that, the punishment was too much. Such punishment can only begets hatred in our heart for the adults around us, not sorry feelings for the mistakes we ever made. For a two tight slaps mistake, she was not only tied on the poll; for more than an hour and that too nude in the sunny morning hour but was also sprinkled sugary water all over her body at the area which was surrounded by all boys rooms.

That punishment was just way far too much.

Note: * Maya comitted sucide couple of years ago.

read other articles to know more about Sabitry Basnyat. Why hate, when Yamraj loves his work and The new hair style
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Lotus Flower a symbolic language & subconscious mind of a child

Sunita Giri 10:54 PM |

Having been in a Board member of The Prabina Home, I was also in the meeting, during its inception period. Especially, when it was being registered. There was so many points to be taken care of and abide by the rules. Rules, guided by the government of Nepal, to run an NGO.

Prabina Foundation, is a Swiss project, which provide opportunities to children to get education, not just education but good education. The project also provides them shelter. All the student under this project either stays in a boarding school or they stay in a home.

Prabina Home, is a hostel for such children; mainly its is a home for girls only. Boys stay in Boarding schools. The age range of girls who stay in this hostel is seven to twenty years. Though, its policy is to accept, only orphans; but due to adverse situation, abandoned or needy children also find their way to this home or under the project.

Back to the registration rules of the Prabina Home, which required to pen down, every big or small details. Like objectives of the projects, project period, number of the children in the project, its location, board members, their professions, and its income source. So and so on.

Oh ! yes the most important reason, which made me to write this, registration policy also required at the end of its details, submission of the NGO’s logo.

As a matter of fact, logo is perhaps one of the very few things that local board members had option to add by themselves and I came to know about this during the meeting only. By then the stamp was already made and even used for the official purpose.

The logo, of the Prabina Home, is a lotus flower. A budding lotus flower, which is about to bloom.

Prashant Shrestha, Treasure of the Prabina Home, tried to explain it, being the perfect symbolic sign for this kind of project. Keeping in mind, of their situation or more precisely their back ground. I must have made him feel uncomfortable, with my unwanted loud silence on my face, which, I really can not remember now, because he did not completed explaining it clearly, leaving the matter, saying well you know it. Prashant Shrestha, was facing me across the table and his sister, was on his left side while his mother, Chairman of the Prabina Home, was on my right side during this meeting.

To some lotus flower is a perfect example to symbolize ‘against all odds’ in one look, because it blooms on the muddy pond and does not even require a perfect place to bloom.

Its not the hidden fact, I clearly did not like the symbol, because, I myself have spent my entire childhood in an orphanage. It was not the first time, I have heard the example, but this time, its on the logo of the orphanage.

To me; all so seemingly clear symbolic language, was very intentionally, kept as a logo. Reminding us always to our roots, to our background. Many people around us, never wanted us to forget that, what we were once and what is our backgrounds. As if finding ourselves in an orphanage is not enough to remind us the truth on day in and day out. There were, all the time free flow of words, to remind us about our background. This time the only difference is, its even on the logo; meaning even when some body is not using a word, we look at the symbol and get it without a word is spoken where the root came from.

Pulling is the one game crabs and frogs enjoyed for centuries. Humans should not have enjoyed this game. But the truth is they do.

Prashant Shrestha, is the second generation of a social worker’s family. His mother, Mrs. M. K. Shrestha, had been involved in social works for more than three decades by now. While he was giving the details of the logo and its meaning, I was thinking, why these people never ever change the signs and examples ? Like the root of the lotus flower, its also rooted in their mind. Why, they keep comparing us to a plant ? Should not their be, any living creature to make us understand our situation better ?

Why plant ? A plant needs peoples’ help to move places and remains rooted in one particular place as long as some one does not move it from that particular place through out its life. It becomes a buds there, blooms there and one day that wilted flower, dies in that pond. The next season it blooms again in that very same pond.

Why not a wounded and fragile butterfly or a small bird that landed on the big leaf of the lotus flower. Imagine a wounded and fragile butterfly, it could not get better and change its place, for long and long and long time due to its wounded wings. But suddenly, one day it finds, it can move its wings and take a fly to an unknown sky.

A butterfly, which fly, not very high fly, just a low yet very steady fly and with that, what it covers can amaze people. Who can think a butterfly can cover, miles and miles of distance; to migrate. For migration, it goes from one country to another country powered by with its fragile wings, which is thinner than some flower petals. Oh ! yes, very low yet steady fly.

I did not say anything, what was coming in my mind about the logo and its lasting impact on children’s subconscious mind. What can I say when its already been made and used.

Yes ! I have heard these people wonder, why the given opportunities is not changing the life of these people, even after better education ? Why the second generation of the children are also finding their way again in orphanage ? Why good education never secured any good position in the good company even for the well educated children from the orphanage with very few exception ?

Presuming that children, will understand this kind of complex comparison, between a plant and a living creature without being told, is an absolutely wrong presumptions grown ups make. Some body has to tell them, the differences between a plant and a living creature; when they are still a child. Of course, they won’t understand it then, but when they grow up; they will not only understand it, but will also apply it, in their life.

Has the people involved in policy making ever changed their own perceptions and rooted believe, even decades later ? Then, why wonder ! why orphans are so rooted ?

Needless to mention here at this moment, Oh ! how much I miss that person, who could have told me the difference, when I was a child, but its seems that, I am not going to find one yet, not yet !
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Smoking Lizard

Sunita Giri 10:13 PM |

When I was a young child, there used to be a pond on the back yard of Bal Mandir. We used to call this yard as statue yard, because there in the centre of the area was the life size statue of the Rara ruler. Perhaps this is the right time to tell you this, that Bal Mandir, once used to be the palace of a Rana ruler. I am great fan of the building and its structure, the way its made. An example of a beautiful British architectural work. Needless to tell you this, when I was child I was not much aware of all this, because I just get a chance to live inside of the palace.

The building has spread in such a huge area, it covers three different areas of the locality. From the front gate which is west side of the building, its Naxal, the north side of the entrance gate touches the Tangal area and from east side, where now a days there is entrance gate of the Brihaspati Vidhyasadan falls on Maligaun and the boundary walls on south of it touched the area again Naxal.

The rooms & verandas are big, the 20 step stairs is huge, the front yard is big but the back yard which shared kitchen garden area was even bigger. It never looked narrow to play for all of us. I was enough to play around 200 children at a time. Yes the huge kitchen gardens for different seasonal vegetables was also on this same yard.

Do I need to tell you this moment, how beautifully the backyard was made ? There was a pond on almost the centre of the yard, and in front of it stood a life size statue of the Rana ruler. His name was printed on all the bricks that was used to make the whole building.

Okay, I am not talking about the area it covered or the architecture or etc... sorry for off the off the track talk. But this particular day, some teen urchins had caught a lizard from the garden and then somebody inserted a cigarette on its mouth, then placed in on the center place of the pond where there was a small island. Poor lizard, was the victim of these urchins pranks today. Probably, it was trying to breath but it looked like it was puffing a cigarettes as the smoke went up in the air from its mouth. We the children, who had started to surround the pond in the middle of it and started to clap and chant in unison, ‘in-this gene-ration li-zard is-smooooking-a-cigarette.’

Some teens were busy laughing, I mean laughing hard. Some even rolled on the lush green carpet of the yard.

Some adults ( nannies and male helpers ) came to see hearing thenoise, what had happened there and could not hold their laugh, seeing a lizard smoking.

The lizard was placed on the centre island of the pond. The pond could have been at about 300 cm diameter and the island inside it could have been around 120 cm diameter and the rest was filled with water with colorful fish inside it. Some teenage boys, could leap outside of it much easily, from center of the pond to the boundary wall.

Today, there is no more pond in the back yard as it has been buried because in the later years some children fell inside the pond and the muddy water make them sick as they unintentionally swallowed the dirty water while gasping for air. For some there used to be small garden but that too is not there anymore. Now a days, it has bring to normal ground.
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Sssshhh... don't tell

Sunita Giri 8:50 PM |

"Asha, Arjun Sir is calling you to clean the store room”, Myli Didi said. “I won’t go and clean the room”, Asha retorted fast. “ But he has been calling you to clean the store room”, not understanding what to say back to the store keeper, Myli Didi, persuaded her to go. “ tell him I am not feeling well” Asha, retorted in a very disrespectful manner.

Myli Didi, could not understand her behaviour, but meekly went to say to the storekeeper, that she is not feeling well. He only shook his head and said, “okay, let it be, may be she will clean it when she feels well.”

Just a couple of days before this call, Asha, was showing her carbuncles, which was all over her body to a group of teenage girls ranging from thirteen to nineteen. The group of girls were from different rooms of Bal Mandir, an orphanage under the roof of Nepal Children's Organization.

“How come you have these things in your body: Junkiri Tamang asked her. “ I don’t know”, was her prompt response. “why are you showing this to us and not to sister - Medical Assistant”, asked Nirmala Tamang.

“It keeps coming and the medicine she gave me is not helping much”, Asha, responded blinking her eyes faster than normal, and she also repeated the lines, which is common with her.

Asha, may have been over her teenage period but because she was mentally retarded. Perhaps, that may be the reason, she still was in the orphanage; otherwise girls of her age hardly finds themselves, after the age limit of sixteen. Because she was mentally retarded, so she never went to schools or any vocational classes which will enable her in future to support herself. There was one more possibilities, there was no one, to whom, she could have been handed over; after the age limit she crossed. Therefore, she still was there.

Apart from, she being mentally retarded, she was also very ill and suffering from serious kind of fits & seizures; which used to catch her without any warnings. When I was in sixth and seventh grade, I was sharing room along with 17 other girls, the seizures used to catch her even at nights. Those fits, which used to last only for 7 -10 minutes but the effect of it to vanish lasted for hours. No, girls or nannies knew what to do, to comfort her during those moments. But sometimes, some nannies used to keep the smelly shoes on her nose to get her back from her unconscious state of condition.

A group of nursing students, were on their vacation and was chatting nearby the group of girls, where Asha, was showing and talking about her carbuncles. Anybody who ever had one carbuncle knows how painful this is but she had those carbuncles as many as fifteen to twenty in her body. One would be nurse quizzed her, trying to find better answer of that disease.

Bidhya Sharma, another nursing student, who had heard of sexual abuse case to her by a storekeeper said, “ I have heard that sperms on bare skin of the body may cause this kind of illness.”

Seeing so many question mark look in their eyes, who suddenly turned towards her, she gave them a quizzical look, as if trying to ask have not you heard of it !

Now, Asha, started telling the sexual abuse which had been going on for years by the storekeeper. “He normally calls me to clean the storeroom.” she started.

Because of her retardation, she never went to school therefore she never had to do her home work also. So whenever asked to clean the store by the storekeeper, she had no option but to obey what is asked her to do.

But the truth is the store room was so crammed with goods, one could hardly broom or dust that room, and even if one does it, it could take only a couple of minutes to do so.

Arjun Bansnet, was a storekeeper,who was in his late 30s or early 40 then. He mainly kept grocery inventory and at the same time issued purchase order as per the need. This store in particular had nothing to do with anything like grocery. This room contained mainly cloths and can foods, which the children hardly tasted.

Besides, this storeroom was also on the first floor of the building where two big girls ( age range from 12-16 ) rooms was and nearby the office area, instead of ground floor where the main kitchen was.

His office was nearby the storeroom, so he often used to enter in this store, hours before the other office staff resumed their work day.

Due to the crammed area, normally it could have been taken only 10 minutes to clean the whole area but she used to find herself in that store for more than an hour.

“What he tells you to do”, Anita a nurse in training asked her. “clean, but...” she looked around suspiciously, trying to find no grown ups were around. “He tells me to retrieve things from very inside areas, so narrow that I get stuck up there.” she continued.

“Then...” the whole bunch of girls got so curious. “he comes right after me, blocking my way back.” Asha, went on. “he pushes me from the back, and keep doing that.” She felt uneasy to open up.

“And …” now this bunch of teenage girls were all eyes and ears in her talk; all of them suddenly forgot to breath.

She paused in hesitation to reveal the whole truth even with the only all girls crowd aged less than twenty. She was mentally challenged, yet the uneasiness was still there to talk about the issue.

“How often he does that to you ?” Ratna Karki, another nursing student asked with much concern.

“Quite often, sometimes it happens almost daily but some times after months gap and then again he does this almost regularly.” while answering the question she was not looking straight in the eyes of the girls.

“Why those carbuncles in her body ?” Dhana Thapa, another nurse in process asked in curiosity with other nurse student, who shushed her and then gestured to listen to her first.

“He does it with his pants down and pulls my dresses too and then he goes all over my body.” she said, still looking at the ground seemingly, feeling so uneasy to talk about the issue and hoped that this might give them some answer to Dhana’s question.

“Oh my God ! he does that to you ? ” they reacted in unison and then they were angry with the storekeeper. Some girls added that, “that's really disgusting, and he is a dog.”

“He is so disgusting” Nirmala said. “I think his penis should be chopped off in so many pieces and then he should be hanged after that for his act.” Junkiri said in angry tone.

“Why she is not pregnant, instead why those carbuncles on her body.” Dhana, asked wearing more serious look, which she did appeared under her thick black rim glasses.

“I have heard that he can not bear child and he is childless also.” the room nanny who had just entered in the room and had heard half of the talk by the girls spoke from the back.

All the girls were startled and repositioned them in uptight position due to an adult presence in the room.

“This should be reported to higher authority.” Junkiri and Anita said in unison. Other girls show their agreement by nodding their heads.

“Sssshhh... don't tell. Who will believe her ?” the nanny spoke as a matter of fact way. “What will you say, if they ask you, have you seen him doing this ? what kind of prove do you have to support the charge ? if she was pregnant then the things would have been different. talking is easy but to standing up as witness is tougher task than you can think ?” the nanny raised many questions.

Asha, got confused, and the other girls got furious with this helplessness condition.

“He may have chosen Asha, because she is mentally retarded and nobody will believe her even she wants to tell the truth” Anita said it with concern on her voice, others only shook their head in agreement.

“Bhagbati Didi is right, who will believe her.” Dibya Chhetri who was silently watching all the girls talk, from the top bunker of her bed, where she was half reading a novel and half listing the girls talk; broke her silence for the first time.

“But her carbuncles...” Nirmala Tamang asked. “It may be that, sperm all over her body had caused this kind of disease.” Ratna Karki responded. “I have read it some where about it.” she said.

She tried to remember it hard, scratching her head, she had read it or heard one of her colleague talk about it in her college. But then she shook her head, and said in confidence, “the carbuncles are because of the sperms on naked body and there can’t be other reason for that.”

All the teenage girls were frustrated for not being able to help Asha, in anyway possible. So they told her “don’t go to clean that room, its really not your work also, and besides its not good for your health.” that's all they could tell to her.

Refusing to comply the request and ignoring to take simple order; ruled rather than finding the true solution and to punish the culprit for sexually abusing the mentally retarded girl.

When grown ups act irresponsibly, teens resume to act in more immature way like not obeying seniors or not showing them the due respect they deserve, regardless of the position they held.
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The coin Collectors

Sunita Giri 10:07 PM |

Every time Pramila Thiebaut, of France gets some coins, she puts it in a jar. Its same thing with her husband Nicolas Thiebaut, also. They have married about 5 years ago, here in Nepal.

One day Nicolas, class mates passed comment about his color in primary school, when he returned home, he asked his parents, “why his color is darker than his class mates ?”

His parents sat down both of the children and then explained that both of them were adopted and luckily they were twins - a boy and a girl, and that is the reason their color was different than other children.

When Nicolas, became a teenage boy, he told his parents that one day he will go back to Nepal and will marry a girl from the same orphanage he was adopted.

In 2004, he did return to Nepal and found a girl Pramila Harijan, working there in the library, after two years of long distance relationship, they got married in 2006.Nicolas Thiebaut is also known as Chudamani Neupane, here in Npeal, to those of his close friend circles.

Back in France, after their marriage, they started collecting coins and during five years time both of them have accumulated enough coins to do something for the children of the Bal Mandir.

When Pramila, returned Nepal in 2011 April, there was one more thing she needed to do this time. Visit Bal Mandir and then treat the children something of their choice.

Pramila, wanted to take children to the picnic for refreshment and also have light moment with them but when she asked children what they want, they replied, they rather have meat; so their wish was granted. Of course, Pramila and Nicolas Thiebaut, did chip in some extra on their coin collection but that treat was possible because they have collected coins for years.

After college Nicolas had worked as a tattoo artist for couple of years but now a days, he has been working as a manager in an old age home in France and Pramila, she has improved her halting french to fluent one so, she takes any job that is available.
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A mothers’ fear

Sunita Giri 9:16 PM |

“Aunti, give us that pencil”, young children behind the ventilation, called out. A woman who was so engrossed collecting green grasses to feed her cattle, did not hear the call from the children.

“Aunti, give us that pencil”, they raised their voice to a bit louder. Now, the woman, raised her head and turned towards the voice. The voice was coming from behind the wall to wall ventilation, which also served as a window of the class room. One of them have dropped the pencil and without her help the pencil would be lost in due course of time, as children are not allowed in that garden owned by NAFA - art gallery, inside the Bal Mandir premises.

Somehow, she knew that the class room belongs to an orphanage and she stopped her work and then headed towards the window to search for the dropped pencil. While she was searching for the lost pencil, a fleeting thought flickered in her head, ‘it would have been my children, there asking for something to somebody helplessly.’ Because she herself was a mother of two young children less than five years old.

She spoke softly to those children, while she looked for the lost pencil as guided by the children. At last she found it and then handed it to its right owner.

She hurriedly cut some more grasses and then made a tight pack of it so that it won’t spill on the road as she had to cover almost an hour to reach her home to feed her hungry cattle. She did not shared ‘the thought’ with other women with whom she was cutting and collecting green grasses.

The faces of those innocent children, kept coming in her mind all the way back home and weeks that followed and she tried to brush it off in vain, because the thought really had frightened her.

Coincidentally, within a years time the woman was suffocated first and then killed by her husband with the help of her mother-in-law. Then she was hanged on to make it look like as if she had committed suicide. While the husband was sent to jail, her two young children was landed in the orphanage. Call it bad luck or call the nightmarish thought which came true was what she feared most but that exactly happened in her life.

When her two children was admitted in the ‘Bal Mandir’, they were about five and three years old.
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Apple Thieves

Sunita Giri 10:10 PM |

It was afternoon time, and today some thing special for children. The housemother, Kedar Shrestha, was sitting on the door of her room, in front of her was a big bucket, which was filled with clean water and to her right side, there was a big basket; full of chocolate apples.

First she started filling some apples in that bucket and then called the girls from her right hand side room and told them to pick one apple for each. Next she called the girls from her left hand side room, once they were also finished picking apples, she told them to call other boys and girls to have apples.

Children started coming one by one and each used to pick one apple and then left quietly as she is one of the most strict housemother out of four in that orphanage.

Still seeing plenty of apples in the baskets, she went towards the window, which face the front round shaped yard, and then started calling boys and girls to come for apple. She saw one nanny, so told her to call the boys or girls, who were busy playing in the back yards or lawn or they could be anywhere, to come and collect there shares of apples. When she returned from the window towards her door, where she was distributing apples to children, she was surprised to see the bucket was almost empty.

The girls in her left side was big girls room comparing to her right side room. When they heard her calling for the boys then they went and finished the applies from the buckets and some even from the basket just in a minute or so time.

There still left many children, specially boys who had not come to collect their share of weekly fruits. So she was angry with this kind of behaviour and did exactly what she does in this kind of situation.

“You beggars ! if you want to have more than we can provide you, you should better be with your parents home. May be they could provide you food up to your throats.”

The girls in the ‘Sukunda room’, listened quietly every words coming from her mouth. Nirmala Lama, had just taken a big bite of that juicy and succulent apple but upon hearing the words ‘you beggars’ ! she threw it immediately, both at the same time, what was on her mouth and her hand. Usha Gautam, her close friend watching her, rolled her half bitten apple on the floor, but swallowed what was on her mouth. Some girls just hide the apples to eat it later when the words that was targeted towards them will wears off, which obviously is going to van off, in an hour or two and definitely not more than that.

However, Kalpana Maharjan and Rita Manandhar kept on taking big bites of that enticingly juicy fruit, amid the showers of the words coming from outside. Kalpana, looked at the apple and talked with it, “why you are so tasty and juicy ? other wise I would not have picked you from the bucket”, then she took one real good bite of it. Rita, watching her was encouraged by Kalpana’s way of talking to the apple and said to her apple, “why are you so delicious, red and tempting and begged us pick you up ?”, and with that she also took one good bite of her apple.

Other girls watching them started laughing in muffles, fearing that it might irk the housemother, who was still angry with their behaviour.

Nirmala Lama, looked at them and thought, don't you have anything called dignity ? But instead she asked them, “how can you eat this, have not your heard, what she had just said to us, “Beggars ! if we have our parents, we would not be here, hearing such harsh words, which pierce our hearts, more than a sword has power to cut it into pieces.”

“Why take her words seriously ?, she did not pay for the apples, and if she could we would not get one to have it, so eat it” Kalpana, replied with ‘give it a damn’ attitude towards her harsh words and took one more good bite of her juicy apple.

“Yes, she did not pay for it to use such harsh words for us”, Rita, agreed with Kalpana, and other girls could only nod their head in agreement.

The girls also started calling the housemother by names in a hushed tone and started chuckling, because the two rooms wall was the same. So they knew she might hear it all.

At this point Kalpana, looked at her other apples, which she had hide under the blanket near the pillow, and said, “Stop staring at me”, and then she hide it deep under her blanket. Other girls just could not help but burst into big laughter, this time they could not help them self to burst out.

Parbati Karki, asked “how much you have taken Kalpana ?” with out saying a word, she raised her four fingers, with a grin on her face. “I only got two” Rita said with regret.

Nirmala and Usha, just watched them but did not say a word, then they left the room together. They walked quietly for some time but then Nirmala, broke the silence asking how come those words did not mean to them and went by their ears just like the water on a ducks body, its so hard to believe !”

Usha, looked at Nirmala, and nodded her head, a sign to agree with her yet some where down the line her heart felt that Kalpana and Rita, was not wrong either but she did not say a word to her friend.

when I look back, what surprise me is, the housemother used harsh words to make them feel inferior about their condition and background. Every body loves to have a bite of an apple and who does not like an extra bite of it ? Even if they have to steal it ? But what she never did was to make the group of teenage girls to realize that because of their behaviour the other children like them was deprived of their share of apple.
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