My first job for which I was never paid

Sunita Giri 6:53 AM |


It seems very obvious that Children home everywhere would like to run some kind of training programs to keep the pre teen or teen age children busy when they have young brain and very active life. Such trainings core intention is to focus on life skill, as well as serve the immediate need of the children home. When I was in school I do remember being  part of the the team that used to make all the dresses that children in Bal Mandir used to wear year round.

I used to attend morning school, which was open from six till eleven. There were two other girls in my class and they too used to join me in running machine over, already cut dresses. There was two guys also in our team, so about six of us used to run machine whole day, six days a week from 11:30 a.m. till 5 p.m.  After about 4 p.m. other girls [ mostly] who were in junior classes used to join us and sometimes maybe we could escape for an hour earlier than the regular time. Needless to mention, it was not a paid job but it was something we have to do it compulsory. It was something that was thought by the people in management a must to discipline us also.

We used to make school dresses two pair for each child in a year, one set of nighty, and I think the main part of this whole sewing section was established was to prepare new dashian dresses for all the children. This dashain dress used to distribute with much fan fair. Dress distribution was a part of one of the big day in the calendar of Bal Mandir. A big Royal entourage  used to visit Bal Mandir during the month of Dashain. This day used to be about a couple of days before Dashain and then one of the royal member  used to hand over a packet of dress to each child individually.

With them the whole team of photographer, reporter, media people and other affluent people of the society used tag along to grace the big room, which we used to call ‘Baithak’, where the distribution of the packet of dress used to take place. Such news used to get coverage in   the newspapers in town. It so happens that then there used to be only two national dailies, one is Gorkhapatra which is in Nepali, and another the english daily, The Rising Nepal. Later on the same news also found space in the Nepal Television as prime time news the only television channel of that time. All the event where royal member presence was needed was regarded prime time news.

Bal Mandir also used to run other training programs not just the sewing section. For those who were least interesting in sewing they used to go to do other training like,  some used to run machines that used to make sweaters, some used to run some home made cloth making machine.  The bed sheet those machine made were thick and considered of lower standards even in Bal Mandir. However I do remember using those inhouse product also for some time.

The most boring part of sewing is creating all identical dresses. Recently, I came to know a bunch of college students who stays in hostel here in town. When I see them going to the market buying the same dress that is different only in colors than the other of her friend she just saw wearing this surprise me. Because this is something unusual or unexpected for me to accept it. I had been seen so much identical dresses in my life and that part of my life made me so much abhor for it. When other like it makes me think hard why they don't abhor it ? is not this a first right of a girl / woman to reject the identical dress ?

Uniforms are uniforms, it has  a reason to be the same for all in color.  Majority of the children used to go to school that is within the Bal Mandir premises.  That school used to provide education until the seventh grade and after that we used to go to another school outside of Bal Mandir.

Once we use to go to outside school we were considered big children. Oh ! I mean to say, when we were in the eighth grade we were considered big children. The average age of the eighth graders is fourteen.

Forget about me not liking the process of making identical dresses, whole day, six days in a week, whole year.  Now, I think those time just robbed us our true childhood. It was not fun to do it, but it was a compulsion to do that. Fine, there were no harsh punishment for not doing it but we were not allowed to spend the same time to read or study other things that we were interested.

I think I must have writing in my earlier post that the training of sewing did no help to anyone who left Bal Mandir. I know no one who later on did it for livelihood or as a job.

Here at this point, I think I should mention this one small part here. Every child in Bal Mandir used to have sponsor. Each sponsor used to send some money to support the cost of that particular child so that the child gets full education during his/her stay in Bal Mandir. That money never used to go to the bank directly. Of course it used to be deposited in bank but only after deducting seventy five percent of it. Because that much money was spent  of  the upkeep of the child. Only 25% of the fund used to be deposited in that child's account.

When I was in Bal Mandir there used to be around 200 child. Our sewing section was never a dry area to work. No doubt, it was always a busiest section of the Bal Mandir. I have run shirt, pant, night gown, skirts, Kurta and all yet I have no interest whatsoever in sewing, stitching, sewing machine and making dresses.  

Today, I do not make a single dress for me if I need one. Because, it was not fun for me to make dress it was a compulsion to do so and I did it even though I did not like it. Instead, I choose a thread to make dress for me I mean a wool thread is much more fun a lot creative  to make sweaters for me. However I have to be honest here. One thing is for sure, I like it or not that is not important. We had lots of time when we were young child and all the training whether we need it for life time or not, that is not important. What is important is utilisation of precious time busy mind and that's what may be those adults took when they were in a position to take some decision for us.

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