So my Baby can Live
After two of her infant children died in her village in Bajhang, a pregnant Mata BK came to Bangalore, determined to deliver her next baby in a hospital. That was about two decades ago, and the baby is now a mother herself.
It’s been twenty-one years since my marriage. I came here to Bangalore after marriage. Before, I lived in my village, Kodargabbe in Bajhang district. Two of my babies – one boy and one girl died in the village, soon after birth. That is why I came here. To get to the hospital. I was one month pregnant (with my daughter) when I came here. After I moved here I had my second child. I didn’t go back home. I stayed here itself and had more children. That is why I am now not able to go to village.
There isn’t so much land at home, there are many children – it is difficult to get food in village so we are here. Wheat, paddy, kodiyan (millets) grows in the land, but there is not much.
At home, in my mother’s place, my mother is dead. Only my father remains there. Nothing else. No one else. No brother. Three sisters. There is a sister – she lives far away. She has been married off. That’s my life: three sisters. There is no brother. In my husband’s house there are four brothers. Two brothers stay in the village and two brothers stay here in Bangalore in Rajajinagar.
Eking out a living
First we were in the Rajajinagar area. My husband’s elder brother and wife are there. I have six children. All the children were born here: four girls and two boys. We were not being able to manage for food in Rajajinagar. So we came to Bellandur to work. Now one girl has got married and five children are still with me.
In Rajajinagar you don’t get house work. You only get work as watchmen. Some relatives were here – that is how I come here to Bellandur. Here women are also able to get work in the new buildings – sweeping, swabbing and washing utensils. I work in six houses. In two houses I get two thousand. In the rest of the houses, I get fifteen hundred rupees each.
Only two boys are going to school. The two girls are at home. One girl goes with me to work. She is 12 years old girl. There is no money to put her in school. We are not being able to manage food – that is why we haven’t put the girl in school. We took these two girls to the Government school. There, they said that the girls were too young and did not give them admission. Now we don’t have enough money to put three girls in school. That is why they are at home. There are three girls. There is not enough to eat after giving house rent and spending on rations. There is lot of difficulty. The only ones to work are me and my husband. That is why we didn’t put in school. My husband works in Peenya. He does loading-unloading and has to work throughout the day. It is an iron works factory; he has to lift 100-200 kg on his head. The company has given a card to get free treatment in hospital.
I lived in my village, Kodargabbe in Bajhang district. Two of my babies – one boy and one girl died in the village, soon after birth. That is why I came to Bangalore.
People here speak properly to me. I don’t feel that because I am Nepali they are not talking properly. I am 35 years old. We have been staying in this house for eight years. It is not a regular colony. We have to get water from outside near the gate. It comes every alternate day. Four and a half thousand rupees is just rent of the house. We have to give three hundred for water, two hundred for the electricity. We have many children and it is difficult to manage but we didn’t leave and go elsewhere.
In twelve years I went home once. We stayed seven months in village. Then we came back. We talk on the phone to the family. It is quite expensive. We talk once a month for about five minutes. If there is an emergency we talk, otherwise we don’t talk. Hundred rupees for talk! Nepal is very far (laughs). We don’t have much money to put in. We don’t have enough to eat – what to say of spending 100 rupees to phone Nepal.
We went by rail. From here we went to Delhi. In Delhi we went to Anand Vihar. From there went to Mahendranagar. It is a one-day travel by bus. Our village is not so far; now there are even vehicles in the village. Earlier it was two-three days travel.
I want to go back to visit Nepal, but with so many children I am not being able to go back. A lot of money is needed to visit the village. Now a chit (private saving fund) is getting accumulated here. After the chit gets done, we will go to village. I will go there and settle there – I haven’t thought that far (laughter). The condition in Nepal not good. The earthquake was towards Kathmandu – a lot of our people in Kathmandu. In Bajhang nothing happened – it just shook slightly.
I have children and now I have to stay here. The heart will have to settle here. All the children have seen the village. But no one likes it. This is my daughter-elder daughter.
My name is Sarita. I am twenty years old. I don’t like Nepal at all. I was 11 or 12 years old when I went there. We stayed there for seven months. I phoned Papa and said ‘you left us here, but we are not liking it at all here. Come and take us back’. I was crying a lot there. I used to remember Bangalore all the time. I like it just to go for a visit. As for going and staying there, my heart doesn’t want it. That is why we came back. Papa came and got us all back.
I didn’t like the food there. I didn’t like anything there. In our village in Bajhang, the meal is not daal-bhat. There is roti – ragi roti. I used to not like it. Rice was not cooked sometimes. I didn’t like the food and didn’t like anything of the rest of it either. I had gone there for the first time. I have got used to staying here and I didn’t like it there. I am now a Bangalorean. I am trying to get all the documents made.
I have children and now I have to stay in India. The heart will have to settle here. All my children have seen the village in Bajhang. But no one likes it.
I got married to a Nepali; we had a love marriage. He was a field officer first, he used to work in the medical field. He is from our village, Bhajang. Our village Bhajang, his village Bhajang. My mother and father were happy about that. I am staying happily. I have been married for two years. Now, now we have gone to an apartment block where there is a Paying Guest quarters. I cook and sweep and swab there in three houses. Sweeping and swabbing in three houses, I get 3000 rupees. I cook as well. Two people give 1500. I have to cook for two girls together. I get 600 rupees for one time. For two times I get 1200 rupees. I cook vegetable and phulka (roti). I also know South Indian items like rasam, sambhar, pulao, chicken – I cook everything. People behave well to Nepalis here. I take the baby with me to work. There are all girls there. They ask me to get him. They play with him while I work. If not, then his Papa is there – he looks after him. My mother-in-law is also there. My father-in-law passed away seven months back. Everyone manages.
My husband and in-laws have some agricultural land and sometimes they talk about going back to village. Just now we have chit fund going on here. Now we have to make a house there. Here it will take another two-three years to get the chit fund amount. After that we will go to the village. There we have to make a house. But I don’t know the work in the village in Nepal. I had gone to cut grass. I couldn’t do that and also cut my hand. I was pounding grain but I cut my foot! There, you have to be engaged in agriculture the whole day and I don’t feel good. Here in Bangalore, it is easy. Staying here, one has got used to the easy life.
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