Haunted or being watched ?

Sunita Giri 10:51 PM |


Last year, I met Manju didi after almost twenty two years, at a friends apartment; where we had gathered a day after Ritu’s death. She was very hard working lady. She used to work in as an assistant to the school  I went as a child and then as a part time job, she grew vegetables at the kitchen garden in Bal Mandir.

When she told us, that her monthly pay as a school assistant was Rs. 70 back then and she used to make almost the same amount of money working in Bal Mandir in the morning and evening during vegetable planting seasons only. Because we needed all kinds of vegetables to consume for 200 people and there was plenty of lands to grow vegetables, it was almost 6 months of job for her. She used to make Rs 1 for one times work, whether its morning or evening and she was also paid, a time’s meal after that. That was the time, money seemed to have more value than, that of today now.

She had to support five or six children, with her husband.  But may be for that very reason, she really worked hard to put food on table.Her husband also used to work but I guess with her hard work she used to make more money than her husband. When I left Bal Mandir,  she was still doing her hard work and growing vegetables for us.  Because of her we were able to get the garden fresh vegetables everyday and that was for throughout the year.  Except for potatoes or and some spices like ginger, turmeric or other stuff, almost all the other vegetables including corn and soybean for daytime snacks, were grown internally.  

She continued further that, “when the manager was changed maybe somewhere during the 1990 era, she was told not to do the work, telling that this is the work some other people also should get a chance and then they hired somebody. The other person, did not last long and then, they again came back to ask Manju Didi to do the work.”

By this time, some of her big children had started working and making money, they thought the new management specially the manager, treated her like as if she do not have any dignity. They can hire her anytime and fire her anytime they want. For this very reason, her children did not allow her to do the job, even though she wanted to take it anyway. They told the new manager, “she is aging and its not time for her to work hard like this.”

Then the manager was Mira Upadhaya, who was the principal of nursery school for about 15 years may be, where we went as a toddlers, they call this kind of school kindergarten now a days.

During her gardening days, housemother Kedar shrestha used to supervise her work very closely and keenly and even staying with her whole time chatting and instructing. Every vegetables in Bal Mandir went on rows and rows and rows of beds, not just couple of it. Whether it be radish, cauliflower, cabbage, green leaves, eggplants, garlic, onion or big black eyes beans, which we consumed green. And lots of other varieties of green beans, tomatoes according to seasons. On top of that the leaves of cauliflower and radish were used as to make gundruk for summer seasons, Besides they used to grow plenty of cauliflowers and radish that it was enough to slice and sun dried it for summer use.The vegetables were plucked at the time its needed and then used to chopped  and make it ready to cock.

It seems the land remained barren for years and now they must be buying vegetables when the whole land is staring at the face of every mangers who works in Bal Mandir. Last November I went to Bal Mandir carrying some caps for all the children and at that time when I was waiting at the gate for a staff to appear, I was quite stunned to see the wastage of  vast land, that was once served to grow vegetable for 200 children for whole year. That was not just one year. it was during the time when Kedar Shrestha was Housemother.

The housemother died during late ‘87. Manju didi, then added that even today she, sees her in her dream, asking her, “why  are you not working in the garden to grow vegetable   ? See its so barren, and if only you would have worked on that land; they would have got to eat fresh vegetables.”

When she mentioned that seeing the housemother Kedar Shrestha,  in her dream, it reminded me that, I also used to see her in my dreams for almost two years or maybe more now I forgot. Seeing her in our dream is not just limited with me all of my other friends of the same time used to see her in their dream and some of them still see her but not me.


I have once mentioned about it to Mrs. Shrestha who was in the management and knew housemother. Both of them were headstrong just like me. Her reaction was, “maybe you are haunted.” When she said that, I didn't know the meaning of haunted, and was too lazy to go and see it in dictionary. It should not have surprised me but then I did not knew the negative meaning hidden in it. As she is one of the most naysayers, I know in my life and everything has almost negative meaning.
But, when Manju didi mentioned the above lines, I felt lumps in my throat and now I get it. The housemother was not haunting us for years but her souls is still hanging in the Bal Mandir and she was watching everyone even after her death. 



This is some thing new to know !

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