Run Sunita Run

Sunita Giri 11:14 PM |

It was Saturday afternoon and most of the girls were studying under the shades of big maple tree at the south west side of the big lawn. Those tree makes a round circle on of that lawn from the border of it which is just in front of the Bal Mandir main gate. During off days, we were allowed to roam in this place.  But we were not supposed to play in  this part of the ground during office hours. Our mid term exam was on the next day, so we were studying like that.

The main gate of the Bal Mandir used to remain closed on those days also, so that none of us sneak out and then get lost; for this very reason stray cows or other stray animals hardly used to wander inside the Bal Mandir, although it had plenty of green grass to feed them.

But, on this lazy saturday afternoon, a cow entered inside the gate and the old gatekeeper was trying to shoo it out from the gate, but in vain. It seemed that it was not inside the Bal Mandir in search of green grass, but something else; and please don't ask me what, because I don't know the answer.

As we saw the gatekeeper chasing cow, we found this amusing and started laughing ; but soon, it started coming towards us. Seeing this, we girls scattered so that we don't get hit by this cow.

When I was child, I was a fat like pumpkin. I came third in ranking of all children, inside the Bal Mandir. So I guess, I was regarded one of the fattest child in the lot, specially looking at my height and when there were 200 children to be compared. Needless to mention, when that cow approached us closely, all the other could get out its sight fast; but I found myself facing the cow, on its horn not eyes from by some distance. I was so closed that I was frightened by hitting with its horns. So I started running away from it, and cow chased me from behind, just within a meter of distance. All the girls now somehow relieved that they were not the one, but it was me. They started shouting from my back to encouraging me, “Run Sunita Run, its just behind you.” That encouragement made me run harder than before. I was running on the narrow lane that circled the lawn, Later on I came to know that, my running ahead of cow just amused the girls. Told you, I was one of the fattest girl.

“Sunita, throw up your [red] skirt, it's the color, this cow is chasing, not you.” one girl shouted from behind. “Seeing red color, just agitate cows, so throw up your skirt” another girl shouted from distance again. But, unlike other girls, I never used to were shamise , so I could not do what they were telling me to do. So, not having any choice, I had to run harder and run away from that cow fast. However, me being a fat girl, running sure was not made for me, so I started breathing heavily. It could have been less than 10 minutes of running like that, but, I was already breathless like anything. At last, seeing no other option; I risked crossing that thorny natural  bar, to enter inside the lawn again, which was located at the east side of the lawn which semi circled the lawn. This just distracted the cow, as it could not cross the bar. As I entered inside the lawn, I was straight on the ground lying on my belly and was sniffing the strong earthy smell coming from it; of all kinds of summer grass and plant that was on the ground, that was so close to my nose. There could have been light scars on my hand and legs, and perhaps some bleeding also but that I can't remember now.

I raised my head to see towards the other girls, just to see what they are doing,  where we were sitting and studying for our exams. All of them were laughing hard and some are even rolling on the ground. It really angered me, but I still had not caught up my normal breath to utter anything. It may have taken about 5-10 minutes for me to catch up my breath and regain my normal breath to walk towards them and shout out, “why are you laughing instead of distracting the cow ?”

Junkiri, spoke amid laughter, “the way you ran, was so funny sight for us to watch and it was more interesting for us to see you run like that, rather distract the cow.” and with that; she tried to copy how I looked, when I was running. She is the master caricature and its really impossible to hold my own laughter seeing her run like that. Of course, as always she did it with little exaggerated version of me running but, that part exactly made it more funny and laugh at it.

Its really hard to understand some people find it funny; and laugh out loud at it when others are in real trouble. Well cow chasing may not fall in real trouble to adult, but when I was about fourteen or maybe less than that, and fat girl amongst the group, it was a big trouble for me to face at that young age.

But today when I see bullfights on TV and when bull gets upset and throws the jocky out in the air, I am the one who laugh out loud, and at the same time it keeps me laughing for many more days to come.

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Prostitute ! who ?

Sunita Giri 3:17 AM |

When my article ‘Thankless Job’ was posted on my blog it created an unnecessary buzz in my immediate circle and, the brother of the victim Raju Lama, whose story that article covers; called me saying that I have fabricated her sisters [elders] story and I have no  knowledge about what happened, in real to her sister. He requested me to delete the story from my blog. He asked me, how much money you made using her name ? ” I did not ask him back, how much money you make from her name.

Then, it followed more calls from my childhood inmates from Bal Mandir, who were not much in touch with me for long time. Let me tell you one thing straight out, they hardly give me a ring to ask, how are you ?

A group of my old friend circle, they all objected unanimously to the post on my blog and  requested me to delete the story from my blog; citing that the women whose story is in this article has recently married and her husband being of Indian origin he can not take it lightly. Your post will ruin her newly married life. Apart from that, “ also did not ask for her permission to write this story, did you ?” one of my friend demanded to know. Other friend, who made call to me, when Raju requested her to tried to reason with me, “you know she was very forward in every work she did, her husband might think she may have invited the molestation by her foster parents.”   

Then the call came from Sharmila Lama* herself from France, when she did not see those local calls were not having any effects on me. Her tone of talking to me made me realized, that she was more angry with me than all those, who already made calls to me before her. When I picked up the call, she started talking to me with the same language, tone and manner, with which she could have done with me, when we would have been in Bal Mandir. That disrespectful manner just got my nerve rise high. So, while she was demanding to know, why her story was there, I kept my silence.

I don't have to explain myself for what I write and need anyone’s approval when I am so sure about it being authentic. Contrary to their thought, I had not posted that article to defame her, nor to insult her. It really surprised me, why they seem to be presuming like that ? It has a a lot more other issues to it than just her name and of course her tragic story. But all of them seem to be reading just her name and not the whole picture I have covered.

As far as, I can remember there is no one in the Bal Mandir, I would like to defame or insult.  I have no reason, whatsoever to do that kind of work. It's very strange to read that kind of mindset. Then, she asked me, “where did you get all the information about me ? from that lawyer ? my husband wants to know this now, he is listening. I could hear a french male voice in background. I replied then, “from the same source, you got my cell number, she had called me after 20 plus years later.” She said she got my number from google. Ha, she can be smart but not smarter than me to come up with that kind of answer. In fact, I know exactly who gave her my number.

As usual, I give all that request a deaf ear. But at the same time what really got me thinking more than their anger was, all this all of them were mad with me. I mean very mad with me yet they were not half the mad with the rapist, but me ! Why ? This got me thinking seriously hard.

Why ? what wrong I did writing or posting that story on my blog ? they made me feel like it was more bad work, than the man who molested her, when she was taken care as a foster child ?

What kind of mentality was that ? but more awaited me; when I actually faced the source who shared half of the story with me.

The time came for me to face the friend of the victim, with whom she had shared the story and everybody attached her in suspicion, so it was natural that she was angrier than all.

She is the one who shared it with me and I could not resist myself to share it with you. She was out of valley when all this happened, and when she returned to kathmandu. She gave me a call to ask so many question at one go. I cut short her call, telling I will visit you soon to discuss on this subject matter.

On my next visit to her she had a volcanic eruption of questions to ask me “why did I posted the story on blog without anyone’s permission and on top of that why I am not deleting when everyone is against this post of yours ? How much money you made using her name ?” again this question come. What  does this means ? were these people more concerned to know that how much money I make telling stories to others or they simply don't want to see their name in my childhood memories ?

“How can you write something  like that kind of story; it's something we should hide it from the rest of of the world; not share with them”, she tried to reason with me.

“Really, how come that kind of exploitation by a foster parents is just her story and we should not tell it to anyone ?” was my response.

“She has just married at this age and it really has not been even a year of their marriage and how come you can write and post in your blog so that the whole world read it, that she was raped by four guys at a time ?” she lost her cool, so her voice raised  high with it. But then it was my turn to loose my cool, “I did not write four guys raped her while she  was tied on the bed at that time.”

I know my friend does not read English and whatever I post on my blog, she was told by our connections, of course our childhood friend. But, yet she was insisting; as if, she is the one, who read it understood it. So, she was damn sure about that. Specially when I know she was giving me somebody else version and perception and making it sound like hers. She was trying to cover her up, but in vain. But she sounded more confident in what she was told to her, than what I was trying to tell her; which added fuel to my thin patience.

In the fits of an nager she blurted out, “you should have written about your boyfriends and Bernhard and his projects [I will cover it up later on] and that old Japanese man’s story and those prostitutes from Bal Mandir.”

“Prostitute, who ?” this really stunned me.

She was talking about the japanese social worker and his molestation victims; meaning young mid teenage girls, who were still living Bal Mandir, when those incidents took place over many years. Read my earlier post ‘The Japanese Social worker’ for more detail.

“Did not your friends told you, that I have written about him also ?” I asked her in angry tone, because her attitude really angered me now.

As if that was not enough; she continued, in more angered tone “those girls slept with that old man [Japanese] for money, those prostitutes.” She was really spiteful for the young teenage girls.

It kind of froze my blood running in my veins, and I could just stare at her for some seconds without a word. Her attitude and perception of the situation towards the girls, who was profiled by the experienced molester for his lust. How can she derail from the track ? When the same thing happened to her friend she was innocent victim; and when the same thing happened to other teenage girls, while they were still in Bal Mandir. “They were prostitutes ?

This is one of those moments, I am really embarrassed to call myself, I am from Bal Mandir and these are the people I grew up with, went school together and shared room while I was growing up. My classmates, roommates, and playmates. But when we grow up then we know more clearly that, wow differently we see and think about for a same situation.

No girls from the Bal Mandir has to sleep with that japanese social worker, just to feed 200 children in Bal Mandir. Why would they risk their virginity  to an old man ? To feed  children, who are not even remotely related to anyone of them ?

“See Sharmila Lama* is not the whole world to me nor she is the whole Bal Mandir to give her so much importance as you are giving to her. So you better don't have this kind of argument with me. This is not worth and yes, I will not pull her story from my blog and no one can remote control me like this. Its only I, who decide what goes in or not in my blog”,  I tried to cool her off with these lines.

“Everyone is so angry with you”, she said and her angry tone made this statement more clear to me.

“I do not remember you telling me before, anyone was happy with me; besides I don't know to please people, so it's really not going to matter more to me; whether they are angry with me or not”, I replied in response. I could see, I was unnerving her with my answer.

“If you sound like this, one day they are going to come and beat you up”, she warned me.
I then blew a flying kiss to her and shook my fat ass and body in front of her with my both arms open in the air, “tell each of them; I will welcome them when they come to beat me up. But also remember to tell them, with that kind of attitude and mentality, no one is knocking my door.”

This was all about mentality and perception toward a situation. Honestly speaking I am not apologetic posting anyone’s story, they are resenting. Especially when the same group of people think the other molestation victims [who are still in their mid teen years not even late teen years] are prostitutes.

*name changed to protect privacy.
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Where does the donation money goes ?

Sunita Giri 11:10 PM |

Couple of years ago, Rakesh Wadhwa had tried to answer this question through his column on The Himalayan Times. I really miss his columns now a days.

There was an example on his column, how UN staff reacted when the management was trying to cut down on cost by not providing ice water during office meetings. A hot discussion got lingered so long; that the another staff member started to calculate the cost of electricity running in the building, while they were discussing to pressure management to roll back the decision.

Long time back, when I was still in school, a flood swept some villages in its way down; and the news made the headlines. But, remember it was at the time when only one channel was on air in Nepali sky and just couple of dailies. Still the impact of the news was so much so that the donation drive was carried out from all walk of life to help the flood victims.

Some of my friends, from Bal Mandir used to go to Padma Kanya School at Dilli Bazar and this school also had took part in fundraising drive at that time.

Pattern to raise fund was like this: these school used to go on the streets blowing on mike about their arrival and then reason to collect fund and then the people in the house threw money from their rooms, which at times from as tall as 5 story building. Some of them came on the street to hand over the money but some just threw from their room. They collected the money on bedsheets and buckets and anything that could hold money. Most of the denominations of bills were small ones yet, as a matter of fact, people did gave money for this cause. They were very generous in their givings also. Personally I honestly do not know how much the school collected and calculated. But they sure must have given it back to the one, who where in the main in-charge of it; and then it must have gone to the flood victim at last.

Later on, girls who were studying in the school shared their story with us. How they hid the money inside of their upper undergarments and under their belly, which their school belt protected from falling and then some of the girls hid the money under their lower undergarments too.

At this point, I need to clear this out  here, that it was not just the girls from the Bal Mandir, who dole out that donation money; it was their classmates who grew up in family, too did the same thing as some of the girls from Bal Mandir did.

How many can come up with exact money, how much of those fund got misused or leaked in the process of collection, before it really found its final destination ?

Many years back, I was watching one special talk show on Nepal Television. It was an interaction programs with some top donor agency. One of the man who represented all the donor agency was giving his statistic on the show. How many loss during all this year flood and natural calamities had caused and how much money donor agency had given for the same reason. The help money for the natural disaster outcrossed all the damaged during all that period. This only reminded me one more conversation I had heard many years ago.

I do remember a line from Bernhard Rutz, a kind hearted swiss man; who said years before when I was still in college, “if you give a 100 dollar to an organisation here for a charity the needy will get exactly 9 dollar out of it.” Bernhard has devoted his life, to provide better life to the underprivileged children; who has been working in Nepal for more than 20 years now.  He was talking to a social worker here at a posh hotel in Kathmandu. Then, I was the one of two in his project. His zero tolerance on corruption for his work to run his foundation and education projects including others, has earned him so much respect and reputation in his immediate circle that, today his foundation is helping close to hundred people in a year. Now his foundation also help run a small children’s home here in Nepal.
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Tomato curry

Sunita Giri 11:42 PM |

There is no doubt that tomato is my all time favourite curry. Although, it actually falls on fruit categories. However, I do not eat it like a fruit , I mean raw like other fruits. I love it as a curry king. Curry king is because, we can add this on lentil, on any curry, on meat and make a pickle of it raw or cooked or barbecue and then make a curry of it. curry also can be made with so much varieties. You can add anything here and then call it tomato curry with. You can add this on salad and what not. List goes on, it all depends on your mood and choice and do as you wish. There is no limit to its use.
When I first read, tomatoes falls on fruit categories; my first reaction was disbelief. I thought it was a curry king. Tomato is the only fruit, that out cross all other fruits  grown on earth. It sure does not surprise me at all. I guess there are plenty of people on this planet, who loves it as much as I love it.

Whenever I see my favourite Italian chef, David Roco on my TV set  using plenty of tomatoes on some food when he cooks, it only gives me a feel, how sparsely we use tomatoes on our curries or any specific food. But perhaps we can not compare TV food and the foods we eat at home specially, when no camera is focusing on our plate.

But today I am not going to talk about its various use and purposes. I remember one such incident behind, why I like it so much. I am quite  not sure, that it  could be because of that reverse psychology; behind this and me liking this curry or maybe not; but who knows, why I like this curry so much and make this one, one of the most eaten curry of my life.

This story is something Radha [Pandey] didi, just could not forget it from the conversation she heard, and when she used to talk it, it just stayed in my mind, like forever. Satyal Dijju, as we used to call her regardles of the position she held in the office; was one of the highest ranking officer at the NCO. Her full name is Bhubeneshwory Satyal, she was the Manager of one big department. As a child, I have passed thousands of times in front of her office, reading the  position she held, umpteenth times, yet now I do not remember what was her position then.

Officer of that kind of high ranks, normally do not take part in, what curry we eat or not. It normally falls on House mothers to decide, what curry at what day and time. Sometimes even room nannies can take this decision, based on what we have on our kitchen garden and which one should be used first. So my mind runs fast how come she gave her verdict that, “they [we] should not have tomato curry”, adding that, “when we, at our home do not eat it.” I am guessing now, she must have been just around and one of the house mother must have asked her permission and that must have been her reaction.

Personally, I do not remember having tomato curry during my stay in the Bal Mandir. But I have very bad memory power and its just one of the curry. Perhaps it was not my favourite curry then. But that line just stamped in our mind and it seems that it’s not easy to forget it even after so many years passed by.

Its not very unusual, to hear the staff members of the NCO, pass such comments on our food. They sure would have passed such type of comments on our dress also, if only it would not have been the donations from rich nations, I bet we grew up wearing a lot more better dress than most of the staff of NCO, with some exception.

Here is one more children home, I am associated, and this line, “they eat a lot better, than what we eat at our home”, from staff should have given me some food to think better.

It feels good to say this now, that we were not their children but then, that is the point from where on the quality of the food or dress keep deteriorating; until it comes to the point it matches as of to staff’s children get as their salary can provide to their own children, or a little worse than they get a chance to wear or eat, if they are to buy things all on their own. Thank God it was not the case always like that.

Thank God ! donors were more generous to meet our needs, than those greedy or discriminating staff towards our needs.

Oh, by the way I would like to tell how I make my favourite tomato curry :
Take 250 grams of tomatoes, and then big three garlic clove and equal amount of ginger, take medium sized spanish onion [red] and the most important timur and they call it chinese black pepper also. Some green chilli and salt to taste.  First, I fry one big garlic finely chopped on the hot oil and then I add all the finely chopped onions. stir  it  and then add the paste of ginger and garlic until you get a nice smell of it or it becomes fried properly. Now add  chopped tomatoes and green chilly and then season it as you like. make it like achar and then just add a bowl or two water to make it more soupy; so that I don’t have to make lentil extra. Sometimes I fry some soyabean nuggets on other pan and then add it in just before I add water and then I let it boil for about 7 minutes and then keep it for about extra 10 minutes so that the nuggets soaks all water in it and it becomes juicy. This new try gives me different taste on different time.
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