Discrimination made Loud and Clear

Sunita Giri 10:28 PM |

Once when I was talking about the rough and barsh behaviour manifested by many staff  in Bal Mandir, almost unexpectedly Mrs Shrestha asked me, “was ‘she’ used to be that rough in her behaviour, when you were in Bal Mandir ?” When she said ‘she’, she meant the junior Mrs Shrestha, who used to teach us tailoring; who in due course of time became her close and most supportive staff member of senior Mrs. Shrestha. My prompt answer then was, “no” but then my mind started wandering in memory zone, when she had made her point of discrimination loud and clear without using a single word or being abusive at all.

Unlike other who think when the word is not said  to vent one’s anger or frustration then this is the best thing in life and silence is the best way to deal with some people. I don't think words good or bad is the only means of communication to make other understand you  loud and clear; there are many people, who won't speak yet communicate a lot. All we have to do is to pay close attention to those silent gesture or the medium to understand what they mean when they are not using a word. Here is how people made their point clear when I was in Bal Mandir or now outside.

Room nannies, whom we used to call didis used to used to talk with majority of children in such a harsh, disrespectful and derogatory manners. It was not so easy for me to shake my head even after all these years. I still get agitated and irritated when I hear such tone and voice and do my level best to avoid it, because those memories do not carry and good feelings to reminisce, when the memories are so haunting.

But, when it came to housemothers they used disrespectful words as well as physical abuse. I am quite not sure about it; but, it was not nannies were not allowed to beat us, so it was left to housemothers to take actions, if we made any mistakes. Maintaining discipline had only one option back then, and it was beating young children like animals that to in front of all other children. I guess if these people would have been seen beating animals in developed countries they would have land in behind the bars for being so cruel to the young children but damn we were not lucky to have such intellects around us who thought like that. Barbaric beating, verbal abuse and kicking was rights of housemothers. Although not all the housemothers were as cruel as Sabitri Basnyat but still smack of stick or the thud sound was practiced by them when they  got mad of the mistakes children made and it was viewed as intentional not as a mere childish mistake then.

Room nannies and housemothers were the 24/7 staff. With so many children around, lets presume for a second, that it was their rights to be mad with their daily grinding work. Then there were staff at the NCO, who did not have to deal with us on round the clock, yet they used to be impatience with us. Fine, some of the staff were in constant touch with us and they too did felt comfortable to vent their frustrations but they were not as abusive in verbal way as the illiterate nannies. Instead, some of them never said a bad and nasty words, yet they expressed their discriminating behaviour in different way than one could imagine. You can read more about Sabitri Basnyat which I have posted before, The New hair style.

I do remember once an ‘aunty’ opening up with me regarding her frustration with another staff, who used to look after purchase and he also was storekeeper. In one particular year, he was tight on his budget and wanted her to stick on quota of buying clothes. She was our tailoring teacher as well as, she also used to cut the entire dresses our our need and we used to run those dresses under the machine to make it wearable. She found it very intimidating and wanted to teach him a lesson, and she ended up outsmarting her senior buying cheaper quality clothes and submitting the same price tag that he wanted her to stick.

Here, pay the attention to the fact, she was not abusing nor she ever raised her voice to us; whenever she lost her cool but that outsmarting her senior only manifested how discriminating she was without even saying a word. Besides, she never hesitated to steal clothes for her personal use. No wonder she is very secretive and she maintained that always very strictly. You can read more about her in earlier post, I love you just like my daughter.

The purchase officer and storekeeper was no less leech than her; when it comes to corrupt mind and degrading the quality of food we ate in Bal Mandir. I have heard he was a real time thief also, who did not blink eyes before stealing goods specially foods. Oh yes ! he too did it discreetly so, I do not remember this being a talk of the office, ever, as he never lost his job when I was in Bal Mandir.

This particular person used to pass negative comments  but now I really forgot the harsh words he used for us but its not easy for me to forget the low grade food we had to eat when people knew, the kind hearted people used to pour their heart out to give generously, so that we have all that we need to grow up well. You can read about him in, Greed has no limit and God’s Justice on my earlier post.

Then there were teachers who also voiced negatively about the children in Bal Mandir but those voicing was not harsh, irritated but it its tone was very negative and degrading than it should have come from a well educated and intellect persons, who were our teachers. Its not easy to remember all tini tiny things that were said and most of it we have forgotten also but they did discriminated us in their own way, which I did not understood when I was young child and I really have to grow and think hard to get it. Sometimes, its okay to be stupid; otherwise it hurts so much to understand the hidden meaning of those discriminating behavior. You can get the hint of it in my earlier post in the math teacher.

But then if I had thought the words not said are weightless and good for everyone than that of the harsh and derogatory words hurled at us by those illiterate nannies and heart bleeding words by the housemother, which kept hammering us when we were young and innocent. How wrong I was. I have known Mrs Shrestha for very long as she was in middle management in Bal Mandir and now after almost 30 years of her work experience she heads one Children home which is entirely funded by Swiss People. She is well educated, she had completed her masters from US and comes from well to do family.

She is mean, but honestly speaking her voice is more mean sounding than she exactly mean it. She is straight forward rather than harsh but at times she is brutally honest than needed to be specially when she herself was never been the part of fundraising programs to run the charity she has been doing for decades. No, she never use abusive words for us as its more insulting to her position and background than for us to hear that. Definitely not directly. But then how she made her discriminating behavior loud and clear without using a single words.

Its easy, may be for her but to me this is how the educated people make their intention heard heard loud and clear. Two of my inmates from Bal Mandir, Ritu and Bimala, [Ritu is dead now] and Bimala provide her home service to please her because she had approved  the scholarship plan for their children, free education in good English medium school which otherwise they could not have afford in the project she has been working for about two decade. What you need to understand here is they extend their hand for menial household works like cleaning and washing despite both of them had gone to college. Mrs Shrestha permanent helper never gone to school that's why this piece of news has power to nag me most than anything.

It takes lots of people to educate one children in Bal Mandir and then the top executive wont find validity and importance in the education they get in college because anyway they are children from Bal Mandir. One question is in my mind can people like Mrs Shrestha work with children who they train them for better education ? and if they can't work with those whom they put their years to provide good education then they are working for what ? what is so interesting here is whenever any new family member joins her, they will be given the top position in the project she is heading here. Read more about her in my earlier post  In the name of prestige and Single Mother.

Do you think I should cry I was part of that discriminated bunch in my life and treated differently because I was a children from Bal Mandir ? And that I was never loved and respected ? You must be kidding ! but this only makes me more interested in the study of human psychology.

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