Roomful or Room crowded

Sunita Giri 11:59 PM |

No, this is not a room of Bal Mandir.
As a blogger, I have been writing about my life for about six years. By now, you must have read me many times writing one line again and again and that is, I am sunita giri and I grew up in Bal Mandir. Sometimes I think I got stuck up there, in that life, when I was a growing up child. It seems I grew but deep down I am always that child, observing things around me always trying to understand why of all the things that goes in our life. Over the years, time changed, age changed, place changed but somewhere down the path the mindset of people around me remained the same. This makes me wonder all the time, because when I was in Bal Mandir I was young and totally clueless about the things that went around me. It was ok if I had children of my age who had not understood many things around us, as they were as young as I was and absolutely clueless in so many things that was going around us. Worse part of it was the adult around us, who were not much helpful in so many ways than one.

Having been grown up in Bal Mandir is one condition that kept me strictly away from average Nepali. I never ever got a chance to see from up close the lifestyle of average Nepali living in home or they call family. Now, I come to know that the life of average Nepali in fact, is a lot worse than the life we lived in Bal Mandir. I met so many people who have nothing in life but parents, and they are proud of it. Sure, they don't understand me; if I don't get it.

One of the things that stings me of the average Nepalese habit is how comfortable they are to adjust in a crowded rooms. For a sneak peek of it, I would like to suggest you to go and see in many hostels running in Kathmandu. I am told the hostels run by college are equally crammed up as of the hostels running out of college.

When I was growing up in Bal Mandir I hardly stayed in a room that had children less than eighteen. There are very few rooms that could house children under fifteen. Family size room is rare in Bal Mandir. Almost all my childhood was spent in rooms which I shared with other  twenty girls of my age. We used to spent around two years in one room. This room switch has direct connection with our age and grade we study. However, I do not remember those room being crowded. Because after having bed for about twenty girls the room still have plenty of space to read for all and also play some indoor games. For all the indoor games we used veranda that was just outside the room. Veranda is the main part of every room that is in Bal Mandir.

In Hall Kotha, where stayed for about two years, at around the end of my time in Bal Mandir. Its capacity was also eighteen or twenty girls. Not surprisingly, it had bed for all the girls and a bed for an adult, a caretaker. Still, it had plenty of space for us to play in small groups like, carom board, ludo and other indoor games. Besides this, this room also was used as a common study room for the girls of three rooms. That means about 40-50 girls from two three other rooms used to gather for morning and evening study. Each study time, it was used for one and half hour. This was big girls room so those girls who were studying in seven, eight, nine and ten grades they used to come here for homework and classwork revisions. Even after that, we had an easy way out to go in and out when we wanted to go for a loo break during the middle of study.

Twenty girls in a room yet, I never ever felt crowded or suffocated when I was growing up in Bal Mandir. Because once you are out from your room there was big space to breath in and out. Enough place to play all types of outdoor games. Lots of place for running, hiding, playing and  breathing fresh air. I never ever have been in another place which could provide me such  big space to breathe in and yet feel secure. Nah, not even when I worked in five star hotel.

Have you ever been in hostels running in Kathmandu ? there you might see two seater or three or some more than four. Even if you see just two bed in a room, most of it has power to  make you suffocate and immediately feel claustrophobic. But, surprisingly the girls living in this room do not seem to have any problem at all whatsoever its uneasiness and adjusting their way. Food there is lower than the food I grew up eating in Bal Mandir. The concept of substantial food seemed to be derailed. Yes, one things is for sure, just like in  Bal Mandir hostels running in Kathmandu buys foods from the market which is cheapest and there is no way down than that. Food, I guess jail mates would be thankful for having. But I heard in American they sue the jailer for low quality meal in jail. Bed, furniture, utensils they use are far below the one I grew up using in Bal Mandir. Sometimes I see kind of steel mugs even it might get rejected from jailer. Commercial motif and the intention to disrespect those who pay you is at its heights and student don't have voice to go against it. My guess would be, either they don't know the minimum standards of children's homes or never been in jail to see its standards.

So, should this surprise me when one such hostel runner is also the keeper of a children home. Imagine when she provides lower standards in her hostel what could be her standards for those who are not paying her for their stay ? There is a flat allotted for seventeen young girls, it still looks too crowded and narrow for young children. The girls don't even have enough space to skip a rope, forget about walking while skipping, which is a common practice among growing up kids.

There is no doubt, I do not make rules for the hostel runners in Kathmandu or in other cities nor I make the rules for those who live in children's homes. But seeing the condition of the children home made me think. Sure, I can't say every child should get a chance to stay in big palace like Bal Mandir. There has to be some minimum standards to run it. People who are running it, should not feel comfortable to say, it's my home so my policy, my management my ruling. I better let the concerned authority like Central Child Welfare Board to take decision on its condition.

This lead me to visit Social Welfare Council which directed me to Central Child Welfare Board.  From where I got some books and I read a book, Standards of Operation and Management of Residential Child Care Homes 2012. Then I learned that this woman and her ten team members are running a children home with only about 20% of its standard. Now, I have to see how will the Chairman, Mr Dilli Ram Giri or the Executive Director, Mr. Tarak Dhital take action against such people. How much faith they show in what they say in this book entirely depend on how do they take action against the woman [and her team] who is running a children's home.  Oh yes, there is some child laour  going on also. There are some people in our society who run children home[s] as if it's one ornament that is associated with status, pride and prestige, just one more accessories.

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