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

2 comments:

BILABH said...

Sunita ...its a nice blog but i want to correct something... jyapuni is NOT a derogating language used for newar woman. Newars also have many subcastes like jyapu, sessya, tamrakar , pradhan, according to their profession in early ages...So jyapu and jyapuni particularly refers to a sub group of newar like Maharjan, dangol, awale, singh,.... it is because in newari "jyapu" means the man who works and "jyapuni"means the women who works. This sub group of newar used to get more involved in agriculture so they r given this name. "jya" means work ........ i think its clear now :D nice one though i appreciate it

Sunita Giri said...

When I was growing up in Bal Mandir, I did not know the details of what you have given here. We just used this to tease the other newars in the group; and very few knew what you have penned down here. Thank you any way its very helpful.

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