Skip to main content

Gomti

We once had a cleaning woman called Anita, who came to help us with our domestic work. This is quite routine here in India although it's practically unheard of in my part of the world.  The cleaning lady helps us to sweep and wash our floors every morning and wash our dishes and utensils too.  Her husband Ram Lal had no job.  He used to accompany her, sitting outside the house.  He used to bring their baby daughter Gomti along too

Gomti is the name of the river which runs through Lucknow.  The name was perfect for this little girl, aged about two.  She was very dark and had the cutest face I'd ever seen.  Short black hair, really chubby cheeks and a nose like a  little button.  Not to mention the beautiful black brown eyes.  I had two kids of my own at the time, Neil aged four and Mel aged two, but I became very fond of Gomti.

Sometimes I used to give her biscuits.  I found her very responsive and sometimes I talked to her in Hindi, but with my level of Hindi and her age, the conversation was very simple.  My kids didn't really take to her.  They were mostly asleep when she came with her parents.  She became fond of me too.She'd leave her parents and go off to find me and I'd turn around and find this tiny girl standing behind me, arms held out.  She loved when I used to hold her.

Anita and Ram Lal didn't stay too long with us.  Anita was pregnant and we later heard she had a baby girl.  The child was named Rekha, but she was universally known as Somti, a name which rhymed with her sister's.  Sometimes I used to see Gomti and Somti roaming around in our colony while their mother worked somewhere.  They always talked to me. I used to give them sweets if I had any.   They called me 'bhabhi' ('brother's wife') as their parents did.  I noticed Gomti still had an unusual charm.  She had a pretty face and a shock of black, unruly hair,  but she lost her cuteness very early.  I was shocked to see that sad, cynical look that one often finds in the eyes of the children of the very poor and deprived.  She'd already realized that life is hard, but that some people do rather well. I'm glad to say she always seemed happy to see me.

The family grew.  After a while Gomti and Somti where joined by another little sister. The last time I remember seeing her, she was in charge of a gang of about seven kids, her own siblings and a few others. I know Gomti's parents had desired to send her to school, but sadly, it seems that she was needed at home to care for the ever growing family of brothers and sisters.  Unless I'm very much mistaken, she's trapped into the cycle of poverty and illiteracy.  I hope it's not so.

I haven't seen Gomti around for some five years or so.  By my estimation she must be around thirteen years old now.  Wherever she is, I hope she's happy and I hope she's getting some education.

Comments

  1. I hope that Gomti has found contentment.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's so sad. I hope she got an education and got a second chance to make a new life for herself.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I do hope that cycle breaks one day and I hope Gomti is happy.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is so sad that these children seem doomed to live a life of poverty....... unless someone somewhere made a difference and broke the cycle. Lets hope so.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for passing by! Its sad knowing about this cycle and can't do much really to stop it :( I hope just like you that Gomti managed some how to get the education she needed!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I do hope everything worked out well for her and she's happy.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm not sure how I 'found' your blog, but I'm sure glad I did! Such a marvelous example of integration into another country! I'm coming back for more (blogrolling you too!).

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such an interesting comment. :)

    So sad... hope she is happy and everything worked out for her.

    Nice to meet you (some of my friends are from Ireland).

    Have a nice weekend!

    Betty

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such an interesting comment. :)

    So sad... hope she is happy and everything worked out for her.

    Nice to meet you (some of my friends are from Ireland).

    Have a nice weekend!

    Betty

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh I think I'd find that so difficult to see on a daily basis.. that difference.. the change in their eyes. It must be particularly difficult when you've grown attached to the children.

    ReplyDelete
  11. There are far too many little Gomti's out there, poverty is a world-wide problem. My youngest daughter is also 13 - my heart breaks to think of the grinding lack of opportunity some children her age face. I am so glad you "saw" her - many look away, don't they?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for the clear-eyed thought provoking post.
    (BTW - I've added a link to you. It's in the Irish category. If it's not OK I'll change it.)

    ReplyDelete
  13. How sad. I'm sure she remembers you fondly.

    Walking down the hallway of the middle school, I often see young faces that reveal lives far beyond their 12 years, and my heart goes out to them...

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting me. Please let me know you were here

Popular posts from this blog

The Climate in my Hometown LBC Post

I am originally from Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. We have a maritime climate, neither too hot nor too cold. Cool, wet winters and warm summers.  We get the odd freak weather condition, like several feet of snow, once in a while to make life interesting.  Pretty ideal really.  

Now I reside in Lucknow in north India. In the Indo-Gangetic plain.  Cold dry winters, roasting hot summers and a humid rainy season.  It seems like it's always too hot or too cold. Or too humid. Humidity is something I dread.  It brings itching, rashes and all of that.  Okay, too hot will work for me. So will too cold (although I hate dry cold, that's energy-sapping). But humidity is .......not at all good. And that's a euphemism if ever there was one,. 

I wish to dedicate this post to my beloved and erudite rakhi brother Rummuser, who suggested this topic.

And thanks to freedigitalphotos.net for the above illustration, 'Paper Weather Icon Illustration' by SweetCrisis.

The Loose Blogging C…

Kipling Got it Wrong! Or Eastern and Western Culture - Reflections

What Is Culture?
I’m opening this blog post with a question. What is that elusive concept which is commonly known as ‘culture? Culture is way of life. How we live. What our values are.  Our customs, attitudes and perceptions. And also, I suppose, how we express ourselves in art through, such as music, dance, theatre and cinema.  It’s quite a comprehensive area and not too easy to define, really.



The Journey
I was born in what is commonly known as ‘the west’. I lived in Ireland for the first thirty years of my life. When I was thirty, I married my husband and came out to India to live here with him. That was the beginning of an interesting journey, which is still evolving. I must have had some east/west comparison stereotypes in my head. But in India, I found that the people I met had huge stereotypes in their heads about what they called ‘western culture’ and ‘western way of life’. Not long after I arrived in India, I was struck by the number of people who said things to me like ‘in the …

Impatience

Many years ago, when I lived in Dublin, I met someone nice and started dating. I wasn't serious, I just thought we could have nice interesting discussions about India, which I found absolutely fascinating, as I was working in the Embassy of India back then. I had no intention of getting attached with a foreigner, with all the attendant cultural problems. I was happy living in Ireland and the idea of marriage couldn't have been further from my mind.

We both thought we could just keep things in control. One day, after a lot of emotional turmoil and denial, it hit us both that we were in love. Truly. Madly. Irrevocably. To the point where we couldn't live without each other. I'd known about the Indian system of arranged marriages and when it occurred to me that he would probably be married off by his family as soon as he returned to India, I felt physically ill at the thought. We are both tenacious and patient people. We realised that bringing our two worlds together would…