A Shepherd’s son

Sunita Giri 10:45 PM |

 Manju didi, is not sister by age but we call her that way anyway, because this is some what; kind of culture to call anyone, who is woman and older than us, when I was child. In fact, she has many children, who were older than me, except her last one and perhaps the sixth one. She lives with her family just outside the gate of Bal Mandir, worked in the school where I went as a child, which of course, is inside the Bal Mandir premises, as an admin assistant and took, part time job in the Bal Mandir as the lady who grew vegetables for us.

One day, about a couple of months ago, when I visited my friend, she also had dropped by to see her. I had not met her since I had left Bal Mandir in ‘88, so naturally the talk went back to the time, when we were small and that undoubted the memory lane of Bal Mandir, staff, children and all  other things that surrounded our life there.

To my amusement, it turned out that, she has a lot to share making her kind of story teller. Its not that she did not cover many other issues but that day, she mainly talked about Bharat dai in her talk. Because, once he was my crush, so my ear perked up to know more about the guy of my dream once. Naturally, I wanted to know more about him. “I knew his father” when she started.

“You knew his father, how come ?” I asked her. “His father was a shepherd in a house there at Gyaneshwor, and my sasu [mother-in-law] put tika to his father during tihar, before Bharat was admitted to Bal Mandir.” she went on. When some people get more closer then they choose to lock some unknown relations in family relations. Putting tika on somebody’s forehead means that the person is like a brother to her.”

“... and his mother ?” I wanted to know more. “I don't know about his mother, she was never there [ in the picture ]”, she responded.

“was she dead, when you knew him or she vanished ?” I was curious. “ I really don't know about all that I just don't know anything about her”. Its bit strange for me to believe her what she said. Like all other ladies she too was good to dig information and then get it. How come she did not know about the mans wife who was so close to her family ? but I have no option to dig more. It turned out that they had helped Bharat dai to get admitted in the Bal Mandir also.

“That teacher from the Budhanilkantha School must be very smart to choose Bharat dai for her daughter. its good for her,” I remarked.

“No, thats not true, it was the neighbour’s daughter of ‘Rawal Dijju’”, she washed my earlier knowledge about him on this side. Rawal Dijju was the manager in Bal Mandir when I was there.

“Really, but until now, I thought he got married with his school teacher’s daughter; and it was love marriage.” I wanted to be sure what I have just heard.

“No. No. It was arranged and I knew all this arranged things” she cleared my little bit of remaining part also, which I thought for so many years that was the truth, and whole truth for so many years, but at the same time she did not tell me; in details of what all she knew about all this also. But its okay.

“Bharat dai is the only person who became doctor from Bal Mandir, and no one till date, had broken that record”, I said again hoping more from her.

We were having all this conversation in an apartment of a friends of mine,  Junkiri, who was also listening all my queries. we were sitting on her bed. A friend was in between us and keeping her loud silence and I could see from the corner of my eyes, that Junkiri was trying to stop Manju didi, not to tell me anything, as I was digging all this informations. It sure will go on my blog . She is smart, her doubt was correct.  She knows that Bharat dai, does not like anyone in his life who were not part of his childhood to know that he was raised in Bal Mandir. I snapped to junkiry for what she was doing and turned to Manju didi for more info about him. It confused her what to do, but she did not see any harm, to tell me what she knew, specially when she knew it first hand. Beside, Bharat dai was very close to her family also.

“Oh, I remember recommending his name to Narayan Bhakta [Shrestha] sir, to get the scholarship seat in Budhanilkantha school, because he was the one who was selecting a student to get that seat, when Budhanilkantha school wanted one name from our school.”  she went  in her  memory lane to tell me the incident.

As I mentioned here in the beginning of my post, she was the admin assistant and knew all the teachers and it seemed that her personal recommendation did work in favour of Bharat Dai. Besides she is kind of weepy lady and tears comes to her eyes faster than words falls from her mouth, even though she is very talkative person. So, sometimes she lets her tears do the talk, at times when need be. I am quite not sure, she may have cried at this point but I bet, she must have begged to Narayan sir, to give that seat to Bharat dai.

Budhanilkantha School used to select one brightest student from many school, perhaps nationwide and give scholarship seat to the brightest student from many school in that school. It sure has a lot to do with Bharat dai becoming a doctor today; a good school background, a good foundation. He may have moved to that school when when he was studying on fourth grade.

That recommendation which Manju didi, did for Bharat dai, may be purely due the family like feelings her family shared with his father, seemed small gesture but until it changed the real face of reality and made a shepherd's son to a doctor one day.

Still I can't understand why Bharat Dai does not want the people in his life know that he is raised in Bal Mandir. What good in the education if it does not give us some common sense and some kind of understanding that, people will not insult you without your consent.

Last time when I know about Bharat dai, he has moved in Ireland and living there with his family.

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No lecture please !

Sunita Giri 11:08 PM |

Growing up in Bal Mandir was not easy, specially if; I was the one, who hated being lectured or told doing things right way.There were four house mothers, and twenty or so room nannies, all having their own strong option of their own, when it comes to doing this  way only and making sure we follow the right way.

It so happened that, I was [am] not the meek and obedient child to follow the rules laid on my way. Even today, if you want me to do something, just try telling me, you can't do this. I don't like being lectured, I give the lecturer or advisor kind of a cold and strangers look instead of appreciation for the unwanted advice and concern. Kind of the look that cats give to us as if saying, “why should I care ?”

However as a child, I did not know, why I did not like being lectured. I do remember, walking out of the room, when we the mid teenage girls were being lectured by a housemother, Kedar Shrestha. She was so strict by nature, nobody would have dared what I did that day. She did watched me, from the corner of her eyes, when I walked out from the room, when all other girls were silently listening her, with their heads down and some even staring her blankly.

Later on, in my life after Bal Mandir, matter of factly speaking, sometimes, I was not even being lectured. Those were kind words, they were saying out of concern, all in my favour, for my own good, hoping I won't make any mistake and end up in trouble. Because there were no one to cover it up for us [perhaps]. Those simple concern by the people around me,  was also enough to annoy me to the max. It simply perplexed me.  Not surprisingly, I always gave them the cold and strangers look.

When I was hearing, “you should do this or do that or you should not do that” gave me the clear feelings that I am being treated like a minor or the one who lacks the common sense. How come people can presume that I lack common sense ? Do I look like stupid of the millennium ? to follow only the safe way of doing things ?  Its for those who can not take risk and enjoy blaming others for all the things that  go  wrong in their life. I am not the weak one to nag.

It took me years, in fact, decades to understand; why I am paranoid about being advised. First, it was because, I was mostly lectured by those people in my life, who never ever ruffled my hair; when I needed that more than their shallow advice, yet they felt comfortable to lecture me ? why should I take it so easily ?

And my second reasoning amuses my friends now, when I finally was able to put it in words. why ? why I am not expected to make mistakes in my life by doing things, what I want to do and how I want to do ? why can't I do things, the way I want to do ? Why can't I do this my way. Why can't I do things, just my way ? It does not have to be right or wrong way. Even if, my way seems to be risky and not so safe and not perfect. I want to do things plainly, just my way, just for the pleasure of doing thing my way to express my individuality and taste my true potential at times.

Is not is the main reason, I am gifted from God; life without parents, and even grandparents; so that I don't have to keep hearing from them, again and again; do this and do that and this is the right and that is the wrong way of doing things.

For years, I wondered; why I don't have grandparents too, if, I don't have parents ? In fact, when I heard, some middle aged people talk about, saying “my mother or father” it simply annoyed me for perhaps angered me. Asking again the same question to myself, why they have and I don't have who they have in thier life.

It took me almost my full life [now at this age] to understand and then truly appreciate the real value of gift from God. If I don't have parents, then it means; no lecture and if I do not have even grandparents means, I need no lecture in my life. I have liberty to do, things my way, fun way not the right way. Its the pure freedom of life,  not having grown ups around  telling me to do this and do that all the time and every time.

I do watch people, who do not do, wrong things in their life, make no mistake in life and yet wonder why ? when things go wrong in their life. So, I ask myself what's the fear or doubt in self when the results of no mistake and and take all kind of risk has almost the same result ? I strongly believe in doing,  anything my way not the right way. Nobody knows what is the right way because nobody knows, why some things works and why some things does not work. I wonder why over protecting parents don't get it, when they look at us. They get all other kinds  of message but miss this major one.

Those who felt compelled to lecture me, ignored it purely; the God’s way of teaching us to see a situation from the different angle. It is his decision, that I hear no lecture, how come those lecturing me did not get this ? I was child but they were not. Although, I have regret for, I not getting this angle from God, when I was a teenagers, but, I guess this is why we grow up, so that we understand things  today a lot better than yesterday.

Thank you God, thank you so much for the greatest gift of my life, which of course, is freedom. But I am curious God, just tell me how come you know, I hate being lectured ?

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Not Expected At All ?

Sunita Giri 11:19 PM |

Sometime ago one friend here on my Facebook circle, was nagging on her status for she  being expected too much, than she could actually deliver. Then, my response was, it's ok when someone expects something from you, think about the one when someone is not expected at all ? Then I thought the second option is more worse than the first one.

But, now I understand, why she was perplexed, when she was expected too much from her loved ones. The reality show I am addicted to watch on my TV, helped me to understand it, a lot better way than I thought I could. Recently, I have been addicted to watch crime show. Interestingly, not everytime it comes about the person who tends to commit crime for are from the criminal background. How come people from a decent family also can find themselves in police station ? It so happened that, a young school girl  committed suicide. As for me, ‘why’ is the most important part of watching it anyway.

Zia, was the only daughter and youngest one in her family. In fact, her family was very small anyway, she, her older brother George and their parents. Her brother was bright student and doing good in his work due to his good marks at school. So it was natural for her father to push Zia, to go for good percentage.

She herself was a very bright student, third in her class with 89% and was studying in class 10. But her father seeing tremendous potential in her, started pushing her to get better than, that much percentage. At one point, he wanted her to promise, to get 98% in the final exam. That 89% was just not enough for him.

Despite being a bright student, Zia, was a very good painter also but that was not good enough for her father; who was being very pushy for her to get more percentage after every exams. When it became more unbearable for her to take it anymore, one day she committed suicide. Before committing suicide, she wrote a letter to her brother and father. “..... I am so sorry I could not fulfill your expectations. I can face death but do not have courage to face you if I won't make that 98%........”

Even after the death of his only daughter, father did seemed lost and shocked,  yet he was saying, “she had tremendous potential to achieve the highest percentage and I was only encouraging her”, just stunned me.

While I was growing up in Bal Mandir nobody expected us to get this or that much percentage. No one encouraged us to go for this or that. All we were expected was to pass, good mark or bad hardly mattered. At some point of life, I thought that was bad condition. I was average student with just ok marks on my sheet that declared me pass with good marks not so flying colors and not so worse. But if it had been fallen in the hands of Zia’s father he would have gave me good complex for no reason at all.

My God, I was never ever, even remotely close to that kind of percentage in my life; the one Zia used to achieve. What I did not realized was; too much expectation is just too much to bear. When no one expects anything from me, what I can and how much I can achieve. It means a total freedom to do with all my power. Even when I was in College, I was never ever expected to achieve this much percentage. Thanks to Bernhard, he was so supportive during my college days. I remember him saying at one time, “marks can be very decisive” and I did kept that line in my mind for as long as I can remember. When I see this Zia’s story on TV then value of Bernhard, his role and importance in my life for not forcing me to do beyond my capacity, became more clear. Now, I understanding the value of not expected does not mean you are not loved but let your wings spread beyond the limit in the long run.  

Sometime we just have to see others condition to realise how gifted we are in life. Thank you Bernhard, but I guess I need to thank Zia’s father also for making me realise the true value of your importance in my life.

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Greedy, Corrupt but Who ?

Sunita Giri 11:12 PM |

As a child, who grew up in Bal Mndir, I have heard it umpteeth times, that particular staff of NCO is corrupt and this staff of the Bal Mandir steals stuffs meant for us, he made fortune stealing all the donations and she is rich purely because she was the incharge of that department; which receives huge donation [of foods].

Some of the big boys [ who study in 9th or 10th standard] did vocalized it saying, loudly when ever some of the high ranking officer paid an official visit to their children’s home at Shifal. They used to say that, “she is wearing gold bangles, because she stole it from us.” This kind of comments naturally angers anyone, so it did to Mrs. Shrestha also who was in the management of the NCO when I was growing up.

But, when I look back and try to understand; why she used to visit children’s home flaunting her gold jewellery and her best silk sari ? How come, there are social workers who loved to flaunt such things, that to at wrong place ? She was not going to any party to enjoy flaunting those stuffs, was she ? But, leave it here, who am I to give my opinion of her personal taste and choice, she is the one who comes from well-to-do-family, to have some basic know-how-knowledge of what kind of dresses and accessories to wear for any occasion.

But, here I am not going to focus on some managers or staff indulging in some kind of corruption or greed driven motif. In fact, it came from very unexpected place and it came from my side of the coin.

This last December, I had a meeting with Bernhard when he visited Nepal with his team of trusty and some sponsor, during our conversation he casually told me that now money is not a problem for his foundation to do the kind of works he is doing here in Nepal since 1989. One of his trusty gave him 150,000 swiss franc, this perhaps was the third time, he gave his bonus money to Bernhard’s foundation. After meeting him, on the way back to my place, I stopped at one of my friends’ place. As we women do it, sharing anything and everything at odd times and hours, I told her that trusty [Bernhard strictly forbade me to mention about this in my blog] had given 150 thousands swiss franc to his foundation.

Honestly speaking, by this time my brain was yet to work properly to calculate that this much amount make about a crore in Nepali currency; as I yet have to assert myself properly after my meeting with him.

My friend opened her mouth to say, “you know these founders [she meant Bernhard] also take good share of this kind of givings.” Her statement was enough to stun me, although it stunned me I did not think it necessary to give her piece of my mind, instead I just stare at her in complete silence. I could and would never ever think anything like this for Bernhard.

The people around me knows, I am very vocal person and give my strong opinion on anything that comes on  my face and perhaps for that very reason my silence must have compelled her to share the secret, which she had been keeping from me for long. That revelation just stunned me even more. But, then it helped me to understand why she had doubt about Bernhard. She thought, he is her reflection, it's so hard for me to swallow her perception. But at the same time, her candid way of baring her soul out, forced me hard to think about the concept of greed and corruption, which I [we] believe as a growing up child.

She is the friend, who had kept Alisha with her for about 5 years when she was still very young, in her one room apartment. Her father paid very meager amount to keep her. One day when she could take her no more due to mounting expenses, she had arranged to enroll her in a the children’s home Bernhard’s foundation is helping run it here in Nepal. When Alisha was sent to this children’s home. She kept this news secret from me until I saw her in the children’s Home.

Now, she was telling me that sending Alisha to this children’s home was a secret deal; which she had done with her father. If she manage to send her to children’s home, it will save thousands of money of her father, in return her father should provide a piece of land to her. It's really been a couple of years, she has been dreaming to have her own house, as she got tired of staying in rented room.

But now, when Alisha is in the children home for a couple of years her father denied to give her what he seemed to have agreed upon earlier. This behaviour of ‘Loke’ just boiled my friends patience and now she is angry with him.

This is one of those moment, when she was the one who was doing almost all the talking, it seems that I hardly have anything here to dig in. I did not ask her what ? why ? when ? All I did was just looked at her in utter silence, in fact, in disbelief of what I was hearing. My mind was so zapped; I could not even judge her for what she was sharing with me. She was just candid on opening up her dark side. Seeing me silent, she asked me a question which I had no answer, “look, she is staying in hostel, going to boarding school and does not have to spend a penny on school dresses and stationaries and all the food cost and other involved expenses. Ultimately, how much money it saves of her father ?”

After witnessing her open up like that, there was so many questions that was going on in my head. So when she asked me that question, I still had nothing to reply. “It saves thousands of Rs annually of Loke’s money”, she herself answered that question making this easy for me, “ ...and  now can he denies giving me a small piece of land ?”

“You know people are very selfish and it takes a lifetime to know them”, she concluded her story with the above line. It seems that I really have not seen life as much as she had seen it but sometimes people like her do make it a lot easier for us, when they open up so candidly like that.

Honestly speaking, I choose not to judge her for one reason, I like her because she has nothing to hide and I don't like her because she has nothing to hide. Just because she felt so comfortable to show her deep dark secret with me, do I really have to judge her ?

But, my brain won't agree with me without asking a question. There are whole lot of missionaries, donors across the world to make life better for a girl like Alisha [ and me and she herself had stayed with me in Bal Mnadir], whose parents won't keep her in their home even if they are financially not in bad shape. If they are; then the majority of Nepali are in bad shape financially. This foundation or all other children’s home provide everything for free to make life better not only for today but for tomorrow also for someone like Alisha. What my friend had given her to expect, something like a piece of land in return from her father ?

Who is corrupt, what is corruption and what is greed and  who is greedy is something not up to me to find out. Does this matter, who stole what from us when we were growing up  ?  and personally to me it seems that, the idea to curse each other  was a kind of luxury for us to indulge in some kind of pampering. Blaming them that they stole things for us only gave us some kind of joy. Maybe I am wrong , but maybe I am right but I don’t know the truth hidden behind it.  But then it's also fact that the manager and staff of the NCO and Bal Mandir showed less respect for us; as if we are  not the human’s children. Using the kind of language which was so demeaning, derogatory and degrading, disrespectful as if it was a luxury for them to treat us like that. I guess it was some kind of retaliation mentality more that what was the reality behind it.

At this point I remember reading following lines from, Daring to live on the Edge by Loren Cunningham. When we think of greed we think of a rich miserly man. However, greed is more prevalent among the poor and not-so-rich. The one most consumed with lust for ownership are the one who have the least. Greed, leads parents in India to break their infants legs so they can use them as beggar, eliciting more pity as cripples. In America inner city kids are killing other youths just to get their expensive athletic shoes.

For more details read, Alisha, and  poor are more greedy than rich, .

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