Five fingers are not equal

Sunita Giri 5:05 AM |


It was the end of 1988, when there was a first of its kind reunion meeting of the people who have left Bal Mandir in all these years. Coincidentally, this was also the year, Nepal Children’s Organization had organised the 20th anniversary [perhaps] of Bal Mandir .



During one of those early meeting held by the big boys who were recently out from from Shiphal, another branch of Bal Mandir, but this home housed only boys. What I remember clearly even to this day, is one core issue that was the topic of meeting; which was held in  the rooftop of a house nearby Shiphal’s boys home.



The major issue of the discussion was of the life support method Binod choose. Like each of us he had spent time in Bal Mandir, got all the education, trainings and facilities. After that, all he is doing now to support himself is, working as a shepherd in a house. This was something, no one had expected to end up like this, for him or for anyone. It was enough to break anyone’s heart and moral.



Hari [Pandey] Dai, who was heading that meeting as a president of the union of this group, wonderd, “why Bal Mandir did not take care of us in a proper way, that one of us has to end up as a shepherd.”  



I was freshly out from Bal Mandir and still in my teen years at that time; meaning I yet had to grow up more from my careless and carefree age to give much of thinking to his condition and life after Bal Mandir. But I still did not get the clear idea of that question. Why it was so hard for them to accept life after Bal Mandir ? The big boys, who may have been in their mid 20s raised some other issues, which I don’t even remember now.



Life in fact, was indeed quite easy as a child in Bal Mandir for anyone like me who was growing up there. Never seen money, but never needed any; as it was not up to us to worry about anything we needed in our daily life. Of course, there were things, we did not get when we wanted all the time when we needed. And the ugly part of all that came with a line, “you have to be in your parents house to get what you want.” Although, today when I am all grown up, know that it is not true; at least not all the time. Having patents is not the end solution of world’s problem as it was made believe to all of us when I was a child.





Today, I am quite not sure, does Hari Dai, still thinks education and  training in Bal Mandir was not sufficient enough for some children, that when they grow up, they can't be self depend enough to self support with dignity. Being a shepherd is not the dignifying work, not at least when one had got all the education and trainings.



Binod, and his elder sister both were in Bal Mandir and long before I can remember; what was my age she died of electric shock.



In my blur memory, my guess is, I could have been around or less than 5 years old when this incident happened but as I mentioned earlier it’s not easy to guess how old I was then when this happened.  At that time, when they used to run the Rana era machine to fill the water tanks, it meant all the children should be kept away from the running water taps. I don’t know the scientific reason behind it as my knowledge of science is still very poor; but touching it meant hugging instant death.



I wonder today, how did they managed just one dead child only; in all those years when they had 200 children and water needed to be passed daily on many water tanks. It was the time when the electric current used to grip the person in its power, not like today which throws you out of its power. A/C or D/C whatever the system is called was made available inside the Bal Mandir to save more lives to succumb to death, after her death.



No, I don’t know, how old she was, when this fatal incident happened. The rumor lasted long for me to know when I grew up, all she did was to went on towards the water tank, which was located at one corner of the front yard and opened the tap when the machine was running to fill the water tank, the electric power gripped her into her death. She died, before anyone could do anything to save her.



But, does anyone kept any track to keep any kind of proper record what was the impact of the incident in young boy’s mind, when all he had was his elder sister ? Don’t even ask; I don’t know, how old he was, when his sister died on that fatal day.



When children are brought up by parents, does all the children enjoy the same kind of success ?  when a reputed school can’t give 100% success result to achieve high career to all of its students, how come a children home can generate all educated children with equal success rate ? when there are children all with troubled family background with so many history to be delved with ?



Was the naivete of the age Hari dai raised this question or we are too self conscious that its too hard for us to accept that one of us, our inmates or the childhood friends is someone who is doing such a menial work ?



I remember one such example, perhaps by a house mother - Kedar Shrestha, spreading her hand in the air and saying look, in a hand there are five fingers and they are all different size. Not all will make same kind of success in life even if they are raised by same parents and they go to same school and gets same trainings.



Why it does not surprise me now but this was what I was thinking when Hari dai raised his question  some 20 plus years ago. But then I just did not give him a hint what was in my mind about Binod’s condition.  



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