Self Respect

Sunita Giri 10:00 PM |

Growing up in an environment which is regarded as a deprived children by most people is almost not that important, than; the the one that is associated with mental deprivation of real growth. Trust me, we did not lack food on our plate. There was always food, decent food on our plate than most people thought we could have. If the food was not decent enough to eat, its not that there was lack of money but because there were people who saw opportunity to make money out in the name of the destitute, needy and underprivileged. I hope you must have read my earlier post, Greed has no depth. I may not have been aware of the fact, when I was eating the soggy and smelly rice when I was in Bal Mandir but what Madam Shrestha revealed was shocking to me when I grew up. For that, I have to request you to read that post.

But here, I am not talking what we used to eat and what kind of food we were given to eat. Today when I am full grown, I have no complain to the kind if food we were given to eat during my stay in Bal Mandir. I have learned by now, that we are not what we eat. We are what we think and our thought is shaped by what we read, but how can we change our perception about our-selves when we are surrounded by the very people who are so cozy and comfortable with humiliation and disrespect ? Such was the cultural environment in Bal Mandir.

At some point, I thought that the staff, mainly the junior staffs used to treat us roughly and with so much disrespect, I mean verbal abuse was really really harsh. Now when I look back and travel in my memory lane I came to the age to understand, once we grew up; they no longer needed to treat us roughly. Did I say grow up ? we were we were in our pre-teen years and the teen years it was the children who were using the same kind of language to each others and they did not needed adults to treat us that badly.

In a time when I was not accustomed to the world outside which used word like dignity, self respect, self-worth, confidence, lack of confidence and inferiority complex it was not easy for me to request my friends how to treat me and give me respect. So when one of my friend started feeling comfortable calling me nasty word like ‘Kukurni’, I was totally lost; how to tell her to treat me with respect.

Its not that she was the only one who used to feel at ease using foul nasty words . But for others a stern look and good snap did the work. But this friends of mine was as stubborn as I am, so was not easy to deal with her. To make the matter even worse she was my best friend for long time and was in my class and we had shared the same bench for years. It sure was not easy for me to tell her, how not to feel comfortable to call me with word like ‘Bitch’ !

This is a commonly used word and most of the young girl who heard it, seemed to have no objection but me. This acceptance by many and resentment by minority, which happened to be just me, added her confusion. But I was determined to stop her to call me that word and feel comfortable with it also. So, I stood face to face  with my dear friend  Junkiri to stop her not to call me ‘Kukurni’. I was not in a position not in mental condition to help her understand these things and not to call me ‘Bitch’ ! but she would not listen.  

How can I convince her about all this, when I myself was not sure about how I was expecting her to treat me with respect ? In that condition all I did was to avoid talking to her because more I requested more she felt challenged and then felt easy to call me ‘Bitch’.

Having no option I just  stopped  talking to her. At this moment I really don't know how long  I did not talked to her, but; I do remember long enough to make her realize that I have zero tolerance to this word and not going to be accept it, even it coming from my close friend; who grew up with me and who was my roommate as well as classmate.

Would she have given me the due respect had I told her about the  self-respect, dignity and the self worth ? But the question is how when I myself was not aware of these fancy words. when I was still surrounded by people from Bal Mandir who are alien to such words. But this taught me that we should not wait others to give us respect all the time sometimes we have to set the bar for us and then make them treat us with respect, even if they refuse to do it. All you have to do is to figure it out how !
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The storyteller - Dayalu Sir

Sunita Giri 9:01 PM |

Dayalu Sir used to teach us Nepali. If I can remember, he was the one who used to teach us Nepali ever since I was on the first grade. However, when the decades have been standing   in my memory block, I am quite not sure. Was he the same person who used to teach us Nepali from grade one to grade seven in a small school; where I studied as a child. It was the time when I was growing up in Bal Mandir.

He used to tell us stories, apart from our regular classes. May be it falls on the shoulder of Nepali teachers to tell us all the stories from around the world. So, no wonder he used to tell us lots of stories. He was a good storyteller and was equally good at giving the character real life with his voice overs; adding value to the characters with various tones in his voice. He had a very loud and distinctly clear voice. This of course, made him our favorite teacher and we students used to feel kind of comfort level with him as there was less pressure to understand the subject and do all the homework book stories. the best part of stories is that we don't have to do homework on it and there won't be a pressure to understand it as the course book needed us to get it. its kind of creative class and we were free to get it as we liked it.

Today, I may not remember about his all the subjects he covered in my lower classes but I do remember his art of storytelling most in the latter years of my time in this school. This means when I was in seventh standard. I remember so many things which he told us then. its really strange given the fact I can't remember the name of my college lecturers, like what is the name of my english or Nepali teacher who taught me in college. not just that, it seems; I can't remember a single name. I hope this is not regarded as disrespect to my college teachers.  

He was most sought after teacher to tell all kinds of stories, whenever there used to be a specific event. He was the one who is needed to tell all that to the entire school students and not just class about every possible given event or culture god or goddess. It could be religious or cultural or a birthday of a famous personality or some anniversary. Mostly those storytelling followed before the day of holiday and it was given a more important to long holidays which are regarded as important to tell the stories to students, about the reason behind it.

There used to be big yard, in the school which I attended. It was mostly used for a school gathering and school functions, apart from everyday’s students to start a day to sing a song before the classes started. The same yard was used to tell such stories. Dayalu Sir, did not needed mike to address an audience which was as big as 800 audience in an open space,  as he could raise his voice to the max as the space needed him to raise it to tell his story.

I do remember people being jam packed in the windows that covered the yard from all sides and not just from a school compound but also from the first floor also. The children from school compound may be the reason that there was not enough seating place where they could stay comfortable in the yard to hear his speech but if the windows were packed from the first floor building, there is no doubt that they were the staff of Nepal Children organization. This school is inside the premises of Bal Mandir like the office of NCO which is the management body which runs the Bal Mandir. This school not only teaches the children from Bal Mandir but also the students from inner cities of that area.

It was the early 80s time, not the time like today where there is power point, computer, YouTube or television easily available to get busy our students and the facts and story download instantly from Google.  It was also the time there were less movies produced in a year, than today's time. Forget Hollywood it was not that much interested to market its movies in Asia like it does today.  I think to tell a story you have to have full knowledge of what you are telling and be an experience to add your own touch of it.

You have to read books, collect all your data and experience it in life, before you stand up in front of that big audience to speak.These were the 80s version of our great storytelling who had art to grip the big audience and Dayalu Sir, was pretty good at that. His big and clear voice may be the sign of his confidence in his knowledge.
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