“All I remember of my childhood is herding sheep. 7 lots of 20. I think that makes 140 sheep. It was a hard life in the hills of Dolakha, but we never went hungry. I never saw school. So maybe that is why I am a simple person. I remember one day a relative had come to meet my father. In the evening father told me that I was to go with him. He said, ‘Soon, you will go with my friend to India, he has a house and you will live with him and go to school.’
After a few days I left for India. But I never saw school in India. I was made to work for the man – wash dishes and clothes, cook, clean up and take care of his family. I did not know much of the city so I would never leave the house. I was very afraid. Once in a while I would gather enough courage to venture out with great caution. And during one of these times, I met my husband. We fell in love and after some time we decided to get married. A few years later, we returned to his home town in Nepal. I went back to cutting grass and herding animals. We had kids, one son and a daughter. My daughter is almost 19 now.
And because money is never enough we have also started to sell fruits in the highway. We have managed to send them both to school. Their dreams are our dreams now. But you know Bhai, I still think about my childhood days. I think of my father and mother, and my heart cries. I never saw them after the man took me away to India. It is okay. Life goes on. But I remember herding those sheep till today, everything flashes in front of my eyes like it was yesterday. 7 lots of 20.”
(Kavita Gurung, Mugling, Chitwan)