A Mustang Girl
Working in an IT firm after she graduated from a Bangalore college, this industrious twenty-two-year-old is determined to make a good life for herself.
My late grandfather’s name was Lalit Man Sherchan. In Upper Mustang there are lot of apple orchards and so they make lot of apple drinks. He came down to the plains for business, to Nepalganj and settled down. My grandfather was really – I mean really – something. At times there are still old people who come to our house and talk. I am really proud because there are so many things which grandfather did – which I didn’t know. Old people come and say ‘oh you’re Lalit Man Sherchan’s grandchild! I don’t know whether I will be able to do what he did. But I really want it. I am working here for the experience and at the same time for my living as well as exploring avenues. I am not scared of anything, ok. We are raised in a way that you do whatever you want to do, yet I do get scared at the same time.
Love at first sight
I loved Bangalore the moment I stepped in. I, my mom and dad- the three of us came for admission. A person who was a consultant was taking care of us and saying that you guys are travelling such a long distance for the first time. I loved the feeling of coming to Bangalore! Though a little disappointed. But that is because the college crowd was not that great. If we had studied in a college like Jyoti Niwas maybe – I don’t know –the purpose of my coming out is also because of looking a better life style.
See I love Nepal but I know my family, our bad luck – our family did not do that great. We are doing pretty well – but nothing in comparison to my larger family. So I just wanted to see a good lifestyle. College was very disappointing but it’s not a bad college again, it’s not a bad college. The only thing I didn’t get is the way the local crowd wasn’t friendly. We made friends and very good friends but those were like four of five only. For those years, I never came out of those five friends. It was only us who supporting each other, the other friends were hi, hello – never even a cup of tea, or can I drop you. It’s ok looking at a person, talking to a person. The friends that we have from a different parts like one was from Kathmandu, one was from North-East, I was from Nepalganj, one was from Surkhet, so we had a pretty much good bonding…so we explored things on our own. We went places. So like that, three years, we didn’t realize how it went.
I was in a hostel. I couldn’t move out. I didn’t know that restriction is required when you are in a city, when you want to explore. At the same time, again, there are small little things you have to be scared of, right? You are in a South Indian city, you are in a place where colleges mein hardly people used to dress up and come, so you can’t be very bold and wear just whatever you want to wear like in Nepal. And at the same time we are told that we are very naughty, if we stayed up, our studies get screwed up, we will not give our exams. The hostel stuff- cooking in the room, going out, sometimes to hotel and all – it went well the three years.
On her own terms
I wanted to explore. I have been told that you have to choose in life, you have to be strong – so let me be strong. I want to do on my own and all. So, I didn’t say that on their face and all, but I said Mom that’s not going to happen. That’s how that I said that I want to go to India. A place which is big, nice, a metro city but has to be –I know that I will be alone –and that I am naughty, so it should be somewhere where I will not actually get screwed up. So Delhi was – I get scared when they say Delhi because of rape, this and that. It is not safe – it’s not at all safe. Even in the bus it’s quite tough. But in that way Bangalore is so developed and very simple. Simple living and high thinking. In South India it is very simple, you will learn a lot. There’s good weather. I know so many brothers who have such a good time and they have done masti and all. They have settled in a good place, studied from Bangalore. So this is a place I want to be in. There is no one who is going to restrict, at the same time this is a place where I can be on my own. Because see I travel in a bus. I love the way it is. It’s safe- it’s very safe and I am not ashamed of anything – you don’t have to spend unnecessarily on an auto, if something you can reach by bus- even you haven’t much tension, like that.
I feel lucky – I haven’t come across anything that has happened in public in the sense like transportation or may be college or may be outing or shopping – nothing as such. From my experience of five years – I roam around every night out, I come back at 1.30 every night and so far with god’s grace nothing bad has happened.
One thing that I have noticed here is that these people are nice, but with a bit of impression that Nepali people are dumb.
One thing that I have noticed here is that these people are nice, but with a bit of an impression that Nepali people are dumb. I don’t know why, in what sense. In college I remember my batch–I have engineering girls–most of the college toppers were all from Nepal. I am very average student but even my closest friend was the management topper. So we are smart in studies. I am not talking about myself but in a general way- pretty good in studies. But when it comes to other things – I don’t know why- they think that we are dumb. You get this thing when you are working. In different way – may be they think that we don’t take things seriously at times. Which I don’t know- just because you are smiling, because you are nice with the people – you can’t think – she is so easygoing. And this thing would happen when you are working. But they really think Nepali girls are very easy going. In office also, again that depends on I think the clothing. In Nepal you wear whatever you want to wear. You have a bunch of friends – guys and girls. If you like someone – if you are with someone – then it’s a different story. But apart from that you don’t do stuff to make the other person uncomfortable or something. But here you – don’t leave even that chance- that one chance because you have the impression that girls are easy going- no one will leave even that one chance, trust me. So in that way, it is sad, sad.
Wrapped in red tape
I joined work and for three-three and a half months I didn’t have a bank account. It was such a long procedure to be followed to get an account. And when I checked for the old account that I was using as a student in college, that is student’s account – it seems that you can’t use that. You are not authorised to use that account. If I have to use that account or do any transaction – I have to go all the way to college on Magadi Road on the outskirts, some 35 kilometres from here. So I cannot use that account. I have to make a new account but then there is a long procedure. About discrimination I don’t know it depends upon the person. If you really act like you are helpless, you will be discriminated – no matter whether you are Nepali or Indian. If you act helpless, of course people will try to overstep or discriminate against you. I make sure no matter how much I am smiling-laughing, you can’t discriminate. If that happens – I know my way. I know how to talk as well. Bank procedure – I can’t fight because it’s a procedure – because I am a Nepali they are treating me that way and that’s how I am discriminated.
I have never lived in a rented apartment. I am sure somebody who has lived must be knowing how hard or how tough it is. I know they are thrown out because they play music – loud noise – friends and all coming over. But I don’t know about discrimination. Before this (PG in Bellandur) there was a Nepali dai staying in Koramangala who has a PG. He was very nice. Even I came at 2 am they kept my food and you eat and go to sleep. It’s like home. But now I really wanted a little better place at the same time which is close to my work place. My friend said – you know what you will love that place. I saw it and I felt it was fine. We are six people. There are three rooms and six people.
They have a mess downstairs in the PG. You can take your food and come up and eat. Food is also good. I won’t complain because they cook for 100-200 people. At times they make South Indian food. I love dosa and Kerala paratha a lot, but there are not many things which I like. You can cook as well and order from outside for yourself.
In the hostel it was terrible sambhar-rice and all. That’s why we would get pickle from home and get rice from the canteen. That’s why you spend a lot on food. Either you cook or if you don’t have time spend money.
I like cooking. It would be sad to say being a Thakali – if I say I don’t like cooking because all my aunts – they are all Thakali – are such good cooks! Every person is a good cook. I don’t want to cook right now because I can do much better things taking the time out. I call lot of people – do lot of things. I’m not a bookish person. I don’t read, but I blog – just for myself and friends and stuff. I think so many things.
My mama said that it is also part of growing up to take care of your things, cleaning, cooking. So I said it’s not that I don’t know. I know how to cook. I don’t want to do it as an obligation to cook every day. I am still young. I still have time for all the things I am going to do for the rest of my life. So let’s use the time productively. May be sleep for an hour – sometimes sleep two hours-three hours and then you go to work, because what you are doing is searching yourself. You got something so interesting that it like it hooks you through the entire night, but it’s ok. Your food is cooked. Your room is cleaned, everything is taken care by. At least you are gaining something there. It’s not that you can’t – If I have to cook, I will cook.
I did a small fund raising campaign for the earthquake at my office as well. At the time of the earthquake I had gone for my sister’s marriage. I had one Indian friend who came along with me for the marriage – he is close to most of us Nepalese and loves Nepal. We went to Pokhara as well. At that time we felt the earthquake. I said I want to do fundraising at the office. Then I spoke to my HR. I got so psyched. HR said ok, tell me fast- today is a Friday and we all have plans. I was like, here I am talking something serious and you are wondering about your Friday night plans and all, but he permitted us. We planned it in a way so that when the salary comes in people can contribute. It didn’t work out that well, but we managed to collect some funds which I am sending. I told that brother I really wanted to communicate with someone so that I can offer the fund collected. I want to make sure that it is going to be used in the right way. That is something which I will do very carefully, because I don’t want money to be in the wrong hands.
One thing is that we are so scared of taking challenges. In Nepal life is so easy life. So many times, when I say things, my parents say – here you talk like this, if you go out what are you going to do. But it is they who have taught me – take your decisions, learn for yourself. If I end up spending something more – they used to say, it’s ok- you have learnt. Now don’t make this mistake. So they taught to make your mistake and learn. But out here I have seen so many talented girls – I feel pity for them. I see so many pretty-pretty girls who can do good and I see so many talented-talented people, but I don’t know why they don’t do it. They are so scared. Here staying in Bangalore – they don’t want to step out of the house. I seen my North-East friend- there are people like her also in Bangalore and Nepali as well. You don’t do things because you are so scared what people will talk about you. If you are good person, nothing bad is going to happen to you. If something bad happens to you- take it positively.
I visit Nepal once a year from the time I have worked. Last time was in June. Once in a year when you go – you see the changes. You see the changes in the place as well as you see changes in yourself. It makes you feel good going once a year. In college I used to go every six months. I travel by train or flight to Lucknow. This time I travelled by train with a friend. On the train which goes to Gorakhpur, I get down at Lucknow. From there it is a five-hour drive home.
At the border they said, ‘There are young girls being sold, you know, so we’re checking’. I said, ‘do I look like a girl who has been sold?’ You smile and just be.
So far, I haven’t faced issues like going out to work as a single woman. My family members, they don’t want girls to be sitting at home. Their attitude is: don’t sit at home, watch some serial and waste your time. Do something! In these five years I haven’t had the experience of being stopped at the border and questioned by police. Once a lady came and told me “Ok, I want to check this and that. You have to write all the details -your father’s name, your mother’s name”. I said why? They said, “There are young girls being sold, you know, so we’re checking”. I said, “do I look like a girl who has been sold?” You smile and just be.
Nepalese women are getting victimised in a place like Qatar. Getting victimised in your own country! If like me those girls were taught to be strong, to be on your own, you have to make your own identity. Ok, now I have heard from my parents that now you have to go and earn money. That is something my parents taught me. They didn’t tell me to be a rebellious girl or be strong, but that is something I know that if I do this – I will get to know this thing – exposure. They haven’t taught me. This is my curiosity. To be a strong woman as I want to be. So today I am sitting with my phupu or any bua or auntie -so many people came down to meet them. Then you start talking and you realize – no, no your sister is –your cousin sister is doing like this, your aunt is doing like this, ok so you have to do better. So that’s how you learn. You should be taught, if you think you are right you should not think twice. This is how you are going to fight then, but fight for yourself. That’s how you should bring up your children, even though you are in the village, even though you go the village school.
I am not sure how Indian families treat girls. But parents say that no matter what, you still have to get educated. You see their parents have not taught them not how to go to a (beauty) parlour, but the upbringing is that you still have to be educated. So education is that important here. But how we are taught is – your daughter should look good. That is most important. I don’t appreciate beauty if it’s just a pretty girl. If I see someone who is a strong girl – I appreciate it.
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