Where power collide with vulnerability

Sunita Giri 10:02 PM |

If I dig Google about the definition of vulnerability it says, its a weakness which allows an attacker to reduce one's self confidence to face them. So it also can be understood that vulnerability is attack surface. Having been grown up in Bal Mandir, my own condition placed me in a position to observe this ever since I was not even curious about it so keenly; not wise enough to pay attention closely and smart enough to study deeply. Yet, my own condition put me in a situation to observe things unintentionally that went around me. So, for this very reason am not new to this kind of situation and condition. It's only that I was not the attack surface or must feel thankful to God for not finding myself in a situation that anyone who came in my life enjoyed exploiting me. At the same time, the reality is places like children home provides many a good opportunity to exploit vulnerable under the disguise of social worker who has a big heart for poor, needy and desperate children.

Maki Motto as I know him by this name, was a japanese business man who entered in Bal Mandir as a social worker. He also created job opportunities for young girls who needed job after leaving Bal Mandir. It was his knitting business.  This social worker’s job worked as a mask for him. As a social worker he enjoyed a status of a donor which brought him pride and prestige in society. Beneath that mask,  he used to pick up a vulnerable young teenage girls for his lust. He did that for many girl from Bal Mandir over the period of 1996 - 2008 during his social work. One Japanese Magazine described him as a hero for Nepal  for his many charity work which he did for various parts  in Nepal for very long time. Bal Mandir was not just one place he used to do his charity work; there were many other social organisations   which he used to run in Japan and here in Nepal. But, very few people knew the reality, putting that mask  of a social worker, behind all that good guy image and philanthropic person, he was the one who was looking for places where vulnerable women can be found for his lustful act. He died of cancer in 2009. You can read my full story coverage on my earlier post The Japanese Social Worker.

There was a man named Sharad* who ran Sharad Shelter Home in India. This was exclusively for mentally challenged girls only. For many years this is the place, many parents left their young girls under the care of this man, who posed himself as most sympathetic and compassionate man. Under the cover of his very caring and compassionate person who enjoyed a very good status in society; until there was an investigation in the area to nab a fake and multiple suicide case. This man was very meticulous in his side to exploit and then commit the crime. It took really long time to crack the case but at last a mentally retard girl could point her finger towards him to identify him as a victim even though she could not utter a word a  against him. They were dead scared of this man. Most of the girls in his shelter were exploited and the staff could not say fearing they might lose their job if they reveal the truth to this society. But when this news saw the light of the day court punished him death penalty and even three staff was sent to jail for ten years each for hiding the truth and those girls were moved to other shelter homes run by nuns.

Fahim* was a nine year old boy who lived, played and slept on streets of mumbai. One day he was rescued by a man named Alfred Jacobs* to his orphanage. He was washed, clothed and then well fed. This was all boys children home founded by man and ran by all male staff only. Fahim’s happiness of finding decent roof over his head and clean cloth on his body and then food on plate on time did not lasted long when he came to know that why he was needed in that orphanage.

He was needed to please the customers Alfred Jacob welcomed in his children home and he charged them handsome money for satisfying them. His customers, mainly adult white men   got a chance to select the one they like most among young boys bunch.  Fahim did not like being abused sedually and then bring plasure to adult man when he was in pain. He also had to escort these men to the many other Indian tourist cities like Goa during their holiday. In his painful and resentment mood he thought  street life was not much different than this decent living here in the orphanage. Speaking or fighting for all this meant that end of the orphanage and many boys back on street also. Still Fahim decided to speak what is happening to him as well as others in this orphanage. So one day, he picked up a help line phone and then asked for help to rescue him. Most the young boys thought this life was better than the life they had to live on streets and they also accepted cash bribe to remain silent from the lawyers hired by Alfred Jacob, but Fahim choose to fight for his right, to live life his way despite all the odds he has to face not what others thinking, what is good for him.  

With the help of an NGO he fought the case for almost ten years but then at last he won the case. The orphanage was shut down.

Its really hard to believe when people see their own personal benefit in places and peoples vulnerability but people around the world must have noticed by now that there are writers, Directors, TV producers also who sell tears because its still is the highest money spinning machine and there are plenty of business where people make money on the widow's tear and a desperate children’s need and cry.

I am not saying there are generous people who pour their heart out for vulnerable people yet majority of all those generosity gets blocked by these very people who are in power whose prime concern always clashes with the interest of those who are actually in desperate need of help.

Nore : * Names are changed due to privacy but cases are real story which happened in India, I picked two stories from Savdhan India.

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Dark Side of Superiority Complex

Sunita Giri 10:40 PM |

Having been grown up in Bal Mandir, I am very curious to study inferiority complex or those who would let people to belittle them. Strangely, despite my own background this is not what I allow anyone to do and then they say I have serious attitude problem. They may be right in their own way, but I would like to say that, I don't have low self-esteem to allow any Tom, Dick and Harry to inject inferiority complex in my thinking.  

Recently, I saw a very sad crime story on TV. It is about a rich man discriminating behavior against a poor boy who shared his son’s age as well as name. This rich man who lived in posh area of India treated very badly a young boy of a iron man, who had no option but to share the same playground with rich kids of the area. But that too was not acceptable to the rich father who in due course of time corrupted the mind of his young son too.

We all know this, as this is universal law, if we are not born with money then we will have something extra than the rich people can buy with money; like excellent brain. It so happened that the poor kid was extremely bright in studies in comparison to the rich kid. Rich kid used to go to expensive school and could hired expensive tuition class yet the poor kid could catch everything a lot faster than the rich kid, without spending much money. Therefore, when a kind hearted lady of the society went to the nearby school he got instant sponsorship due to his excellent marks on text. As time passed, it so happened that the poor kid joined the same school where this rich kid used to go and it also happened that they found themselves in the same class too.

Although, this rich man did not like the management’s decision to keep the poor boy in school yet he could do nothing to stop him to attend the same school. When mid term exam result was out the report card of the poor kid which had all the excellent marks was mistakenly handed to the rich kid as they shared the same name. It boasted the pride of this father son until the class teacher realized the mistake and then switched the report cards. The rich man felt insulted and humiliated in front of the class and even in society due to the good performance by poor kid. In the heat of the humiliation of fake pride and prestige he pushed the poor kid in society’s big swimming pool and the boy died instantly; because poor kid did not knew how to swim. This happened within fifteen days of report card incident.

Some may say this is the height of discrimination but I would like to say that rich man was the one who was suffering from inferiority complex and he was passing all that strong feeling to the poor kid. No money could cover his bloated pride or cure his inferiority. It is not superiority complex but its the dark side of inferiority complex which blinded him to that extent that he would not hesitate to kill his young imaginary competitor also to end the sickening feelings.

Julian Assange and Edward Snowden and their leak of vital US government’s secret document is raising so many questions not only outside the US but within the country also. Its also causing serious diplomatic problems to Obama Government. For us its insane to keep an eye on Nepal and our diplomatic documents for many years. Forget about German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her phone tapping that too before she became the chancellor of Germany. Germany is at par with US in so many ways even in economic and political growth but what kind of threat US could feel from poor nation like mine which is Nepal to keep their nose deep inside in our diplomatic documents for many years. But to us it makes no sense to spend billions of dollars to spy on each and every nation and then get the vital secret documents. But to them to remain superpower and to feel superior in front of other big or small nations they can pump any amount of money. Should this surprise any wise civilian Julian or Edward are treated like most wanted criminals by the US government for their effort to make us know about that deep dark secrets of US government, because those information are the strong blow to the bloated pride of super nation like US.

One of my personal favorite story of Mahabharat is story of Eklavya for he being punished for his excellent archery skill. He got the punishment in term of his pay which is his right thumb to ‘the teacher’. Remember he was never accepted in that class because of his class and caste. As times passed he mastered the art of archery. Partly he learned from hiding himself from the bushes while the royal boys were getting training and partly through rigorous self training and in due course of time  he became ten times better than the royal students called Pandav. Needless to tell, it was unacceptable to the royal teacher that Eklavya was better than the best of his students and we know that famous name as being Arjun and his four brothers. This teacher and the royal boys must have felt insulted and humiliated to the fact that what they know and could do with money,  poor Eklavya could do it without training but a whole lot better than what he could have learned from the royal teacher.

It should not surprise us, if the young royal boys kept quiet in the name of respect to the guru, because the quiet support had hidden  benefit to the royal boys that no one will know what exactly was the reason why Arjun is best known archer in mythology stories.

Not only our religious book but there are very few books which tells us about this dark side of superiority complex, we have to face in our day to day life. Our books does not tell us the story of discrimination being inferiority [superiority] complex instead we are served this same story telling us to show our respect to cunning and shrewd teachers and pay them who protects our bloated pride and prestige. So that they will remain in the same business at the cost of poor young peoples bright career.  

If US does not suffer from fear of falling apart from the top then they would not spend trillions of dollars on weapons and billions of dollar on spying, if the rich man was not suffering from the inferiority complex he do not need to kill the innocent poor child of 10 years old and if the Royal teacher was better than the poor Eklavya he do not have to ask something that will end his chances of taking part in any future competition, where he could have won even Arjun.

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Children are Clueless Right

Sunita Giri 10:26 PM |

Its believed that children have no experience when it comes to facing the unpredictability or they don't know the tricks like adults do, for survival in harsh condition. But, if we see more closely this is very wrong presumptions. Its the time it shows that how that notion is wrong. They come up some tricks that has power to make us think hard if only we witness it or be the part of it as a child. Children always find better and smarter way to sort out the problems they face than adult can imagine at times. Lying is one of the area they are good at and presuming we are smarter than you [adult] is another quality of children. Its another thing that some appreciate it and some fail to appreciate it. When all this happened we must have cried got beaten but now theses are our sweet memories.

There  are cases which tells me that notion is just wrong here are some of my childhood experience  I would like to share with you.

When I was in Bal Mandir Sabitri Basnyat, the notorious housemother, who was infamous for giving us corporal punishment. She had a slight defect in her eyes. So, this used to give some children a chance to do something which she could never think, teen children will do so. She always used to talk to one person but her eye set on another person, because she had eye contact which is defocused. Due to this flaw, sometimes the one she was looking at used to respond her rather than the one she was talking. Of course she used to get perplex and used to lose her patience. she used to scream in frustration, “I am talking to her and why you respond”, that to with her defocused eye contact. For some reason, she had very thin patience; may be there was just too many children to handle at a time. Some girls used to respond with very innocent look on their face, saying, “I thought you were talking to me.” Of course, girls used to go to the room and then laugh out loud in jubilant feeling sense of pride in fooling meanest woman on earth. However, Govinda who could talk without moving his lips used to confuse her, even more as it was not easy for her to figure out where the voice was coming from or who was talking. Not good for those who used to get bang on the back after that confusion. Exchange of glaring red eyes in anger was the only option these boys could do at times like this.

Ever since I started writing my blog, whenever I meet my childhood friends, my prime focus will be whether this meeting will give me any new story or not. Because, if I get their version of memories or experiences that will be new taste to my readers. But, I have to admit it, its bit disappointing to hear them because what they remember is not what I can post in my blog and what I write in my blog does not please them all the time.

Sure, not all meeting is fruitless too. Recently I visited a friend of mine who shared her memories with me and I have no clue about this particular incident. Lathi charge was part of our life when we were in Bal Mandir and in my clear or vague memories, only one housemother used lathi charge and kick for us than others and that was again Sabitry Basnyat. Other housemothers were not that brutal, when it came to punishing us, or I was not the one who got beaten that harshly by others. Its natural that everyone has their own preference and I was definitely not her favorite child in Bal Mandir. Its not that I was the dearest darling of others just they were not that harsh in punishing like Sabitry Basnyat, that's it.

She could not remember what was the mistake we have done, she only remembers that all the children putting heavy clothes in layers before the brutal beating started. Some of the girls who were involved in wrongdoing, were asking others to give them their heaviest clothes so that they could add on to make the lathi charge bearable. Sadly she can't remember full story and I do not have this particular incident recorded in my memory. Girls may have cried then after the ruthless punishment but now when we look back and talk about all this walking in the memory lane like this, we just laugh and laugh thinking how smart we were then. These are the sweet memories of our past.

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But why she committed Suicide ?

Sunita Giri 9:26 PM |

“Do you know Maya committed suicide ?” Du my close friend gave me the news over phone.   Her way of telling me this news also has a way of asking me about it. Maybe, she  guessed, I already got this news from my other friend circle. She was wrong about it, because she was the first person to give me this news on the late Sunday evening.

This news came as a shock to us. natural death is one thing but when someone commits suicide, she leaves so many untold story behind. So its natural when Du wondered, what could have been the reason for her to commit suicide ?

It  had not been even two years that Maya’s oldest daughter had committed suicide and now she is the the one who ended her life ? We were wondering how come her youngest daughter will face the two suicide in her family that happened within two years.

Maya was our common childhood friend, so her suicide news traveled fast among our vast circle of friends from Bal Mandir. Being a why digger, it fell on me, to find out the reason why she decided to end her life, that too in less than two years of her oldest daughter’s suicide .

A scene reeled in my mind. “Don't cry, its not death it's suicide” my friend told me  about the day when Maya had visited her after  her daughter had committed suicide. Maya was very vulnerable like many women and she just needed to share her deep sorrow with anyone who was ready to listen to her and not judge her for whatever the reason. But, I bet she had not expected to get that kind of response from her most compassionate friend, Junkiri. My chatty friends continued, “when I said that, she had swallowed a big lump on her throat, and suddenly she stopped crying. Then I turned to my daughter and told her, if you commit suicide, I will not bury your corpse.”

I just stared at her with so many questions in my mind but not a single word on my lips. Personally, like Junkiri I am also not in favor of suicide and will never choose that kind of end for myself whatever the situation arise; but, I could never ever; not even in my wildest imagination can tell a person not to cry, when one has just lost a loved one.

I called some of my close knit circle of friends to inform as well as to know, if they knew anything about her death or why Maya killed herself ? It seemed, I was the one who was giving them this news first hand and they were as clueless as I was. Many of us could not even be at the hospital or at her funeral due to this late news circulation.

After couple of more phone call and a visit I got some inside info on this case and what unveiled it was hard to believe. It left more question in my mind than it answered many reason behind her suicide. By nature I want answers not questions.

As I said, its really hard to believe what unfolded. Her story unfolded like this. It so happened that Maya’s youngest daughter, who is freshly out from nursing college was working as a private nurse for a rich Rana family. She started picking some expensive things  mostly jewelry from her workplace. At the beginning the family only suspected their nurse for the things that were vanishing from house. In her six months work as a private nurse in that house she had picked many jewelries including a gold chain worth almost Rs. 150,000/. But due to absence of proof they could not blame her directly. One day, they caught her red handed. Then this family handed her to police. She was kept in police station and Maya was also interrogated in the process to find out the truth.

My friends figured maybe she was too ashamed to face the people around her after this charges so she must have hanged herself; my friend concluded.

Being harshly interrogated for the theft charge that to her daughter was involved, but why Maya hanged herself ? I wanted to know. “Being charged  for a theft case from her daughters workplace and being caught red handed was just too much for Maya to face her peer pressure, may be that's why....  my friend said in response. That conclusion made no sense at all.  

“It can be understood that, she was ashamed of theft charge, but is this a reason she committed suicide ? Is that the reason big enough to end life ?” I still persisted  Because her daughter had spent night at police station due to this charge, it must have been very humiliating for her to face her near and dear ones after such charge ! my friend came with another prompt answer.

It still did not satisfy my curiosity of her suicide. A crime she did not even committed but she is the one who ended her life and not her daughter ? It made no sense at all to me; specially when we all know that Maya herself as a child was notorious for picking things from her friends as well as from room nannies. She could have just grown immune to such embarrassing conditions.

This time my friend shared me one thing which I never knew about Maya’s two daughters. Maya used to visit my friends with her two young girls, when all of them used to live nearby at that time. So when they used to say good byes, my friend noticed about three or five bottle of nail polish vanishing from the place where it used to be. That was the time when her girls were very young, I mean when the youngest one was only three and the big girl was about five or six years old.

We all knew Maya was facing the financial crunch but Maya had told us that its his Dewar [ husband younger brother] who used to help her financially to send her daughters to schools and then college once she was abandoned by her husband years before. A couple of our common friends made it to the hospital before she was taken for the funeral. There her dewar seem to be sharing a thought with them that, Maya and her daughters did not needed to steal things from others to support herself financially, because he had been providing them sufficiently. He wondered why they did such things.

There was also a time Maya had asked for financial help with her close friend circles, most of them from Bal Mandir to send her youngest daughter to nursing college. Many of my friends had given her whatever they could, they were generous too, in their own way.

It was first time even our common friends came into direct contact with her Dewar, who shared some internal information about Maya and her girls which we never knew before. He was the provider and protective umbrella for Maya and her two girls for years. When she died, the truth was revealed that Maya may have had just habit of blowing up her problems - financial needs - and then cheating it even with her own friends and she would not hesitate to shade tear for that to get the quick response.

Due to my hectic schedule regarding my personal work, that keeps me busy during winter season, Du is helping me to finish my work. So Du visited me this time. I told her the reason about her suicide. Just then she remembered the punishment Maya was given when she was in Bal Mandir for stealing couple of bucks from a room nanny.

What my close friend Du remembered when we all were in Bal Mandir, you can read my earlier post on this The punishment.
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