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.


naimishika said...

nice blog.. good (real) stories...

Henry Scobie said...

Nepal Children's Organization (Bal Mandir) -- Victims of Balmandir:

NCO/Bal Mandir has an evil reputation.


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