New Housemother

Sunita Giri 11:26 PM | ,

 When I look back in my childhood, one thing I remember distinctly is that there hardly used to be change of staff in Bal Mandir, not only in junior level but in middle and top level too. At least I grew up seeing the same faces for years. Its not that the Bal Mandir never used to see new staff over the years, but it was rare. We know this that change is life and of course, there used to be occasional changes of staff. One that has power to play huge impact in my life is the position of Housemothers.  

When I was in about seventh grade Sabity Basnyat the most notorious housemother in the history of Bal Mandir moved to her husband’s home. Because she was the second wife and the man was taking her to the same house where he had his first wife. It was what she was avoiding but when she felt she could not do it anymore, [ she was pregnant with her daughter when she was in Bal Mandir ] then she moved in with him. Because, in those days abortion was way too risky and was not available easily.

When she left there was one housemother,  her name may be Rajju Adhikary; I am sure about her first name but not sure about her last name. She did not last that long. She resented job like anything and pretended she is so superior than us. Her behaviour and body language was the mock story for us and sure amused us as long as she lasted.  I don't even remember how many months, she worded. She must have left without completing her probation period.

And then there was another housemother Durga Pokharel, who replaced Rajju Dijju. This new woman was newly divorced and needed a job to wrap ups her dire financial need to support her and her young child, just don't know how many she had.  She wore so rejected, defeated, and desperate look and her eyes always seemed like blood shoot. May be she used to cry a lot in her solitude; but in our teen years we were not wise enough to read minor things like that.

She had trouble adjusting in new environment. Because she was thrown out from her husband [that's what adult used to talk about in muffled tone], that rejection which she carried in her heart is what became so much trouble for her to adjust with children in Bal Mandir who have their set of troubles to live it. Sure the children were not in mood to take the troubled adults rejection anymore.

She was harsh with us and oh, yes ! we sure made her time harder there in Bal Mandir. Did you just read ‘we made’ ? Today, when I look back, my understanding of the situation is, it was involuntary, but strong reaction of the first action only.

There was time when situation got too worse and her patience wore off. She started resorting to physical abuse. But by this time even the courage of girls had swore off high and they got more bolder facing her physical abuse. I do remember once she got tangled with haring pulling with girls. I was just there at the venue when all that had happened. And I too wanted to get physical like hitting her hard and pulling her hair as she did it and like    other girls did it without even thinking for the consequences.

At that very moment, I remember thinking with my eyes still glaring and my brain thumping in so much anger for finding myself in such condition. I was strong physically and was mentally too is something I know now. I could have thwarted her so easily than other girls but I just swallowed my anger and composed myself with whatever my teen brain allowed me not to get tangle in that kind of messy abusive and uncivilized human behavior.

Again, when I look back try to understand, why she resorted to that kind of abusive behavior towards teen girls ? may be she was angry with boys too but sorry I cant remember theirs story ! I may fail to get it completely, but; I still can try to figure it out. She was thrown out of her house by her husband [ that's what adult muffled] with her young child to take care of and teenagers around the world are very troublesome not just in Bal Mandir. They do have their own set of problems, to face, in life, and where on earth careless bunch of teens have brain enough to understand what is going on in the mind of troubled adult or she was going through ?

When adult do have their own set of problem to sort out in their personal life, they do see problem outside, and outside we were there. So many children like me.  Housemother like Durga Pokharel believed children in Bal Mandir are most uncontrollable, untrainable and disobedient. Before that Sabitri Basnyat believed we need to be tamed like wild dog, remember she was employee of Police force before her posting in Bal Mandir. What she saw, what she practiced.

These housemothers and room nannies we had to call them didi always wondered, why we did not give them due respect ? when they were injecting hatred and treating us like less than human, they were expecting respect in return ! Hard to believe !

Little did I knew it then, I what I am writing here with clear conscience. Clarity was never there in my thinking, when I was in my teen years or even in my mid 20s, which comes so naturally now. Everything was so fuzzy and confusing. I thought, we hated them or I hated them, but why would I hate them where there was absence of love and respect ? I know now, I did not hated them, none of them, it was just I just could not give them the respect they expected from us.

In a moment like this, I remember Kalpana [she was mild mentally retard] who used to tell this line again and again to those who treating her like crazy and called her like that also, “if you treat me like one, I behave like one.”

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