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SK's mother was a traveling businesswoman, that is she had business interests in numerous places, both in India and Nepal. So, she was seldom home and from what young Miss SK told me, she saw her only a few days in a year. SK, prior to joining our school, lived with her father. Her father was an average mining contractor trying to eke out a living in the remote and mountainous state of Meghalaya. He had risen from the lowly existence of a miner and now had saved enough money to lease a small colliery. It must have been a very profitable venture; carving out the carbon-rich hillsides using unscientific techniques and a motley crew of ribald, low-waged Nepalese miners. So while SK's father was out in the fields, SK stayed with the miner's wives and out-of-work miners. From time to time, she came up with very vivid descriptions of daily life in the mines. The days were spent in childish revelry - hide and seek and running helter-skelter around the shanty encampment. If that was all that she had done then perhaps she would've been OK. Sadly enough, it was the mining town's night-life that left an indelible impression on her vulnerable mind. The miner's ended their labourious days with boisterous celebrations. Spirits flowed freely, there were uncouth jokes galore, men and women teased each other (sometimes physically) and the language was filthy. I could be forgiven for adding that there could've been rampant prostitution in the small hamlet. It has been an oft repeated phenomenon in remote mining towns which, otherwise would have been a pretty nondescript and depressing area, especially for single and active men. SK saw it all in full colour. She perhaps should not have.
No well-meaning father would like to see a dear daughter growing up in such a manner. Good sense prevailed when she was four and her father decided to keep her in her aunt's care in the Dooars. It may have been a well planned strategy. It however, fell well short. SK was rescued from the frying pan and driven into the fire.
There not being any girls in the aunt's family, she was pampered and spoilt to the core. Her new life completely lacked any disciplining. Her much older cousin brothers were there at her beck and call and there was instant gratification of anything that took her fancy. To make matters worse, her crass vocabulary was laughed away. It was here that her mother came more frequently into the picture. She decided to bring her to Darjeeling a year later. Her grandmother lived here and mum would be around more often.
She was then admitted into our school while she lived with her grandmother.
...to be continued 9:18 AM Permalink 0 comments