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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.

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

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

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  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

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  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!

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

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  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!).

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  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

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  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

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  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.

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  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?

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  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.)

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  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...

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