It was a Wednesday evening as I got out of Pashupatinath temple after worshiping Lord Shiva. Since the temple was not crowded, I could quickly make my way out towards the parking. As I was heading to the gate, a little girl caught my attention. She asked for money to each passerby on a row. A lady walked in front of me and when she denied several times, she came running towards me and asked for cash. I was not carrying my wallet and usually I give money to the people who cannot help themselves.
As I walked on my normal speed, this little girl did not stop following me. Our walk led us till my bike and my inquisitiveness about her grew more. I wanted to know more about her and how long was she coming to the temple to beg. The conversation of mine started by asking her how much has she collected till now? She said it was 50 rupee in half an hour. What will you do with this money was the next question. She said the collection of money will buy her family dinner. The questions did not stop and I was taken aback when I got to know her sister who was seven was also in the premises of the temple asking for money.
She added that her mother prepared the food in spite of being ill and her dad had a drinking problem. I enquired about how much they collect in total. She did the calculation pretty fast and said it was around 200 in an hour on an evening. The fast calculation made me ask her about her school and subjects as she seemed very bright in maths. She said she went to school at Gaushala and earned her and her sisters tuition fees by herself.
I was amazed to hear that. A girl who is ten years old was taking care of her family, paying for her education and making her sister study. It was overwhelming to hear. She said on the day of Nepali New Year, she collected 2000 Rs as she sat in front of Guheswori temple. This is how she paid her school fees.
It was time for her to leave as she and her sister went back home with one of the members who stayed around Tilganga area. I wanted to see where her mother was, how did they stay and was that for real?? I asked her on what she wanted except money and she answered books. I promised her that I would meet her again on Sunday with another friend.
As I drove back with a name, that smile and a lot of thoughts in my mind I could not sleep thinking about the whole situation that she was going through. I discussed it with my uncle and many other friends. I wanted to meet her soon and get to know the reality.
I felt pity on the kids of this generation who did not value the smaller things in life and had no idea about what is happening around the world.
As promised I went on Sunday, but unfortunately I could not meet her. As we went around asking her name, the other kids got around us and we treated them with some chips and juices.I do not know if her story was true, if she went to school, if she paid her tuition fees or she had a sister, but all I know is there are many other like her who want to go to school, learn and not ask for money all their life.