|I asked him if he wanted to take a picture with me. He jumped with excitement and started posing sheepishly .|
Sep 7, 2011
*Dairy of a (wimpy) spunky kid*
A kid goes to the posh and ghetto Bamboo Bar at the Lake side, Pokhara and bugs the hell out of tourists and the owner alike by begging. Later, the same kid steals the kayak from one tourist and drifts along the Phewa Lake waves for hours.
After hours of hiking I was tired to the point of collapsing. But, I chose to relax at the banks of Phewa Lake instead of Mt. Villa, where I had booked a room. The Mongolian looking guy with typical Pokhreli dialect came running towards me with the large "ca de bou" bull dog. Startled, I looked behind and I saw one small scared kid. The guy with the dog asked the boy, “#$%^, Oe kata ko ghar tero? Bau aama kata ho?” the boy coyly looked at me and stayed silent. The guy continued, “Sale, bol chitto natra yo kukur le tokai dinchu. Ja juicy (dog) ja!!!”
At this point they were literally running in circles (around me). My curiosity became better of me and I finally spoke. I asked the guy with the dog, “Dai, yo kukur le tokcha? Ani naam chai k ho? (I knew the name already)” to which he replied, “Aaah, tokdaina. Daarlagdo dekcha tara gyani cha.”He forgot about the kid and started talking with me but later as the kid laughed, he became furious and told me that the kid had stolen a kayak and bugs ‘em all the time at their working place. I told him to spare the kid just for today and promised to visit his bar lil’ later. As soon as he left, the kid came alive. He told me straight away “Dai maile choreko hoeena. Tyo kuirini le chalauna deko.” I asked him about the begging at Bamboo Bar. He answered, “Dai, khana lai magnai paryo ni. Natra kasri bachne.”
We spoke for a while. Barely ten, this kid spoke with the eloquence of twenty years old. As we were talking I pushed my bag behind me unconsciously and the boy said, “Dai ma kei chordina. Nalukaunu.” I smiled and continued. The kids name was Madan Nepali. He told me he was ten, though he looked much younger. His mum died when he was a toddler and later his dad got married with another woman. The bitch (his words not mine) bit the shit out of him. Even his dad bit him. He showed me the scars on his body and the head. Healed but unbearably brutal. It was his turn now. He asked me about my home, my family, weather or not I could speak English. All along he told me his story. He told me living with dad was like hell. After the landslide destroyed the home, he chose to run away and then came to Pokhara. Few street kids taught him how to beg and since then he’s been doing just that. “Dai, tyo kuire winked at me. English ma boldai theeo. Tapai le bujhyo?” “Dai, tapaiko ghar Kathmandu ho?” “Dai tapai English bujhnu huncha?”… he kept throwing questions at me.
He continued, “(translated in English) I’ve been to Kathmandu once. Not to the downtown. I took the bus with some groups of people from Butwal. They took me to Kathmandu to work. Later I ran from that place and took the night bus to Pokhara. It was dark so I ran to the bus and hold on to the backside of the bus until I climbed up. It was fun. And about the kayak. I didn’t steal it. I was bored and hence asked the tourist to lent it to me. She did and I kayaked for an hour.” I inquired, “How do you beg?” to which he replied, “I tell ‘em to give me one few dollars. My friends taught me to say this. So I simply brush up my charm and get on to begging. The tee-shirt that you see was given to me by one guy in Kathmandu. He came here in Pokhara and he hired me as his tourist guide. Fella paid me 50 bucks.” He giggled all along.
I realized it was dark already. “Bhai, I need to go now hai.” He said goodbye but not before asking 50 bucks from me. I gave him two twenty rupee notes. I wouldn’t do that normally. When you give money to beggars it’s like you are encouraging them. But there was something about this kid. I can’t put in words what I was feeling…Later that night as I was taking a walk, Pokhara lived up to its expectations… it rained like anything. It was already past midnight. Then I saw a kid squeezing his orange tee-shirt to rid off water. The place was rather dingy and cold (some ignored corner of posh Lake side area). “Dai”, he called out. I waved at him. It was Madan. I was happy I gave him money. I smiled and continued… all along I thought about million other Madan's and how they deserve the education they are forced to do without... I thought about how encyclopedically a kid like Madan has come to know about ways the world works (bare in mind he is 10)... he has certain charm about him. His fluid sense of time made pinning down the exact sequence of many events almost impossible. I hope he knew his story is being read.