Man trapped in boys world

Sunita Giri 9:35 PM |

Whenever I get Dashain break,  I go to my brothers place at Chitwan Madhavpur; even though he and his whole family is christian. This time because, here in the the city we are facing Indian blockade so I have to stay at his home for longer than what I had planned to stay before I left Kathmandu.

Unlike other family we are not much close may be for the obvious reason, I grew up in Bal Mandir and this does not mean I was the only one who had to spend life in Bal Mandir.  My four brothers were also have been sent to Bal Mandir or other shelter homes. Except for the oldest one, who had to stay at home with his father because he was old enough not to keep in any shelter home at that age. The ‘home’ we called was swept away by an angry flood.

They said such angry flow of river happens once in 30 years only. And when it was angry like that my family was dispersed. Sure there must have been many more like us and their story may have been different than mine. The youngest two of us were kept in Bal Mandir. My brother could have been around five at that time and another two was placed in other shelter home which also fell under the Management of Nepal Children's Organisation. Me and my youngest brother have small age gap, so no wonder I am closer with my youngest brother compared to other brothers. During the early years, we both were kept in Bal Mandir but latter on he was transfered to the Shifal branch of Bal Mandir, where only boys are kept.

We both are a reader and talker. He was the brightest child and He always topped the class, and never ever became the second in class in his entire school life. Not just that he also used to take part in debate, poem reciting, took part in singing competition, painting and what not all that was given opportunity as a child by royal family when we were growing up. As for me, I was not even close to the tenth roll call, nah, I was not even near by the 20th roll call or the neighbor of 30th. In those days we  used to have the roll call according to the ranking we got in our exam papers. I was just the average child when I was in school or my entire student life. Still, we can talk and argue on almost anything. However, it seems whenever we catch up, our talk and time flies back in our childhood memories and we talk most about that time.

He keeps telling me even today, it was because the new housemother named Sabitri Basnyat had been transferred in Bal Mandir from the Shifal branch and she just did not like him.  He also remembers why. She may not have liked him. Sukdev, was confident child and so the argumentative nature was part of his personality and the housemother may have thought he was challenging her beliefs with his childish brain. He was not the kind; who backed off easily, once he is convinced of something. It seems to me that there was a case of ego clash. He insist she was narcissistic. She sure had that attitude of : how dare you look into my eyes, talk back to me or retort fast ? even if, was asked in anger.

Being a bright student may be he was curious of many things but what I do remember today that even the naughtiest behavior of children was termed as bad behavior in Bal Mandir. Sabitri Basnyat was mother of this twist of word who never wanted to understand the difference between the two word and it was her choice by default.

It's not a coincidence that, she hated me too for very long time and I do not have much good memories of me liking her as the feelings was so very mutually shared. I have written so much about her rough handling of children when I was young and innocent, and was growing up in Bal Mandir. Thank God, there was much more than Sabitri Basnyat to remember when I look back in my time that I have spent in Bal Mandir as a child. Luckily, it seems it's the same with my brother also.

When I took a stroll at my brother's backyard that immediately sent me back in my memory lane of my childhood time. Because, there was a small piece of kitchen garden with some fruit trees. In that small piece of land he has grown some vegetables, some trees, some herbs some flowers and many fruit trees for that small area. But, more than anything it was that thing in the middle of the kitchen garden there was some sugar cane plant at one line of it. It was that plant that has more power to pull me in my childhood time. Because, when  we were in Bal Mandir it was a kind of Bal Mandir culture to provide some land for boys to take care of it as soon as they were old enough to take care of something. I mean more than a puppy. In that small plot every boys grew sugar cane, along with other things. and they enjoyed it during winter season. Out of curiosity, I even counted it. There was  about 15 -18 less than 20 sugarcane and I know for sure that will not cross the number if I visit him ten years later also. He can't chew it as he has very weak set of teeth in his mouth, and I doubt; anyone at home really want to eat it. Still it was there. It was just there for the sake of his memory of good old time.

Another thing that sent me directly with a short cut ticket to my memory land in Bal Mandir was because, there is so many fruit trees in his small piece of land, where he also grows vegetables for about 20 people each day. Again counted those fruit trees. About ten papaya trees,  three mango trees, two trees of avocado, a litchi trees, a tree of custard apple and a grape vine and a vine of mango also. All those fruit trees have the combination power to send me in my memory lane from where I can never ever delete the trees of mango, litchi, plum, pear, and peaches. There was about six pear trees in one row and he had planted papaya trees just like that, about five in a row and rest scattered around the premises .

I remarked about my observation and he agreed having been so much influence from what he had seen in his childhood time. I have heard in a TV advertisement that we learn most from the observation than going to school or hearing a preaching. His gardens tells me exactly the same thing about that observation that tells a story of his childhood memories. And there is nothing wrong when a man still has that part of his life in him, his sweet memories of childhood.
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