I love you - just like my daughter

Sunita Giri 10:15 PM |


I was only on fifth grade and I could have been, about 11 years old then. I was one in a small group to learn how to stitch and sew but for this we have to go to Shiphal - a branch of NCO for boys only. It must have been arranged during the long winter vacation, to keep us occupied because on normal days we have to go to school.


There, I have first met Mrs. Krishna Shrestha, our new teacher, who was to teach us, how to stich and run sewing machine. I was so young to run the machine, that I do remember I had pierced my middle finger by the thick needle of sewing maching during my initial days at the sewing room.

By the time, I was on seventh grade, she had already moved in the Bal Mandir. We used to to make all the cloths we needed for our daily needs. There in the sewing room, we have to sew all kind of dresses for 200 children. Like school dress, nighties and dashain cloths. Therefore, it was one of the busies room and her job was to cut the clothes, so we can run it under the machine and give it a complete look.

Despite the age difference, she and I were compatible and comfortable sharing our thoughts with each others. I am very short tempered and she is very cool by nature or she can hide it so well her feelings from the people around her, whatsoever so we were easy to talk on any thing. I was her confidant also in some cases.

Sewing was never my favourite work but if you had listen to her then she had no complaint about my work and thought I loved it. In fact, I don’t like it at all and pick up the needle once in a blue moon for sewing purpose, until the situation gets pretty ugly. My favourite pass time work has always been knitting, but hate the part when it comes to stitching it to give it a complete look.

On the contrary, then she had all prise for my work my guess is, for that very reason she must have liked me. Occasionally, she used to say that I am just like her daughter, Ruby her oldest daughter was only couple of years younger than me. How much she liked and loved me came pretty close, when I was in seventh grade. Perhaps, its been only months she had moved to Bal Mandir for her job. I was around thirteen then.

One day she sat me down and asked me a serious question; she had been wanting to ask me for long, but was not quite sure of it. She asked me to be her domestic maid. She said she will send me to school and all I have to do is to help her to do her household chores and stay in her home. Her logic was, I was sharp, I was good at my work and bright also to cover my study even if I do all the household chores.

She perhaps was the first person in my life, who had said she loved me, liked me and feed me and now she was telling me to be her maid in return. “You are just like my daughters” is all ringing in my head and even today, whenever I see her, this lines reels in my mind and the meaning of it along with her intentions.

I do take some of the big decision of my life in just 3 seconds without even blinking my eyes, and this one is one of that. Damn ! my poor memory power !! I cant remember how much she feed me in the following weeks to change my mind and hear ‘yes’.

When I said ‘NO’, she talked with Bhagbati Sharma. I do not know, wheather she had consented for this work or not but she was allowed to leave Bal Mandir to work as a domestic helper. The person who sealed this deal for the final approval for this work was Mrs. M. K. Shrestha. If Krishna Shrestha, was the neck Mrs. M.K. Shrestha, was the head and everybody knows this, without neck; head can not nod. I have never ever in my life seen a person who is as manipulative as Krishna Shrestha. If she needs something from a person, she wont have any problem kissing that person feet either.

In the following years, I did detach myself from this lady, who loved me like her daughter and wanted me as her maid. But I do remember the face of Bhagbati Sharma. her look was the perfect face of a lost child - she was still playing the dolls when she was taken as a domestic maid - and one more thing, I have not seen such malnourished person here in Nepal, such face is something you can see only on CNN when they are covering stories of drought and famine effected Africa. Some say its her face which is very thin with sharp features and body wise she is not that thin, but if you see her face that hardly vanish from your eyes without lingering there for long to keep you wondering why ? She hardly stepped out of that narrow home of Krisha Shrestha, Babar Mahal, during her stay in that home for about 15 years. That home was the whole universe for her. So much to that that she was not even allowed to talk to her close relatives who were staying near by her home. She is very private person and knows very well, how to keep secrets of her home within the boundary. Bhagbati Sharma, was never sent to school either.

When she was sent off from her home only after she was married to a guy couple of years ago, she left the home with cheap bedding's, you have to use your wildest imagination to see how cheap it was.

Every time I see her, one thought never leaves me, I could have been in her place and that condition. Normally Bal Mandir, is a rescue shelter for such children and never sends any one off as a domestic maid, to my knowledge this perhaps was the first case from Bal Mandir.

And in the following years these authority keep wondering what went wrong ? What did we to these people and why they never shows an ounce of gratitude for us and why these children are so disrespectful ! Why ? not even for the position they held !

Here in Nepal, keeping a minor as a domestic helper means the person is very sympathetic towards such people but does this applies to the one which one gets from the orphanage, Bal Mandir is a lot better, in fact 10 times better place to be in rather than the Mrs. Shrestha, house as a domestic maid.

No other domestic helper lasted in Krishna Shrestha’s home more that a year once Bhagbati, was sent off. Who will last if she has to pay them as per the market rate ? and who will stay if one has option to stay or not ? If only you get one from Bal Mandir, you don’t have to pay them as long as they stay in your home, do you Mrs. Shrestha ?

4 comments:

Henry Scobie said...

Corruption at Nepal Children's Organization (NCO/Bal Mandir):

http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/48144

A new article at Pound Pup Legacy -- the adult adoptee group.

Aakar Anil said...

It takes time to understand the hidden meaning!

Lea Hunt said...

You were a smart child. This is why you went off to college opposed to assuming that fate.

Sunita Giri said...

When I was a child smart was not considered, but I was sure strong headed; which even today I am. But, still even today, those words does make me feel so good. So, thank you so much for those two words. College and education is a lot better option than a domestic work. And hey ! for that very reason they run such orphanage, right !

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