Young and Wild

Sunita Giri 10:26 PM |

When I watched National Geographic and animal planet  first time, that was somewhere in in 1999, it sent me in deep thought, I was shocked how animals were respected and who their wild behavior was tried to justified, even though they being known for wild. It had power to hammered my memories and made me think hard to find answer. Having been grown up in Bal Mandir it was not the same case, I really don't have much good memories, of one time that any caretaker could have treated us or shown us the understand of the narrator or the program director for us even then we were young yet humans child. For them we are wild and uncontrollable. What is even more hard to believe is, this was not just the conventional thinking of our caretakers as I would like to call them - junior staff of Bal Mandir. We used to call them didi or dai if they, but even the housemothers strongly believed this that we need to be tamed with harsher punishment for childlike stupid mistakes which now I know every child in the world are known for and Bal Mandir was not excluded with Denis the menace type of terror. the only difference in this child like and that too group child mistake was regarded a wild and uncontrollable behavior from our caretakers.

Of course, their work was not easy. They were needed to give us a bath and wash our weakly dresses when we were below 10 years old. If a room nanny has to take care of  20 young children in a room then the male staff has to do even tougher work like, cooks have to prepare meal for all the 200 people morning and evening and other staff has to  wash big vessel that was used to make meal for 200 people.

Sure the work was not easy but, then they knew the work was hard and they must have been briefed before they accepted the job. All that hard work and tight work schedule which was mostly morning and evening always kept them busy. Yet, they had time for oratory service of reminding us, opps ! hammering us constantly that, what was our life before and why we ended there. Of course, they religiously believed, it was our karma and we had done something bad in our previous life before, that's why we did ended in Bal Mandir. To remind us constantly about that was their unwritten duty and responsibility, which they never minded despite their air tight work schedule. It was there that believe was not good for us and our future than what we have done bad in our last life.

I do not remember any good memories I had with diddies nor with any housemother. They were the one who took care of us during our stay in Bal Mandir. Yeah, one can judge me saying I lack the   appreciation for their hard work, but may be I have a bad habit of remember the negative things longer than good work they have done for us. Besides, its my personal belief that, they were paid to do for their work but they were not paid to hammering our young minds constantly that we are not good, sufficient and unlucky. Its not easy to forget in my life the way they treated us and disrespected even though their  body language as well as the harsh words they used for us. It will never be easy to shake my head even today.  

Today, as a grown up, what I know now is majority of the adult hates their work yet they keep doing what they hate. Its still not easy for me to shake my head that may be they hated their work and not us, because I [every child in Bal Mandir] was their work. In my young minds I always thought, they hated us, that's why they disrespected us to that extent.

Needless to mention, I kept a very good distance with staff. Besides I was also the kind who hardly gelled well with even with my own roommates. Ever since I was in my early teen years, I used to bury myself in books and hardly knew what is going on around me. I was always in different world than I was living. Some called this I am in dream world. Most of my inmates in Bal Mandir remember me as a person who was different in so many ways; but in what way, no one could pinpoint it. But its ok, like me they were also young and clueless.

But I do remember Shova didi, who was not bitter about our childlike behavior and she had shown a tremendous patience with us. She was nice with most of us although she had her personal favorite among us. She was the only maid I do remember who had a personal favorite child who was not even in her room or maybe she was in her room before. Just can't remember and everyone knew that Nei was her favorite among the 200 children in Bal Mandir That never bothered me as she liked others too equally, and she was not that harsh and disrespectful in her talking with us. But, it did to some, when she used to spend huge chunk of her salary to pamper her favorite child on regular basis.

She was like a cool breeze in the hot summer noon. Unlike most of the nannies she was warm and caring and we felt cozy with her to share our personal things and ask for some good when she used to resume her work in the kitchen. I doubt we had much age difference. Sure she was not in my room and never was my room nanny. I was mere teenager, when she may have joined Bal Mandir and she was in young children's room. Of course there was another experienced in that room to give her company.

She was not rude or bitter also like most of the nannies. She was not well educated physiologist or the huge fan of animal planet or national geography's young and wild show on animal world. She was more intellect in her behavior than another person around us despite she being an illiterate room nanny.



When I last heard about Shova didi, she was married to a man who was six years younger than her because it was bit late for her to marry by the time she decided to settle down. In her community it was a huge issue. She died with over bleeding when she was giving birth of her second daughter.


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