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A CLOSE LOOK

Nepalese bride and Bangladeshi bridegroom

Nilratan Halder | Published: October 14, 2017 00:27:41 | Updated: October 25, 2017 05:29:27


Marriages happen in heaven, they say. Or how else a carpenter with no education beyond literacy from Bangladesh can have a Nepalese girl as his spouse? For a Nepalese girl born and brought up in a home at Kathmandu suburb, life in a typical Bangladeshi remote village is unlikely to be greatly appealing. One used to middle class lifestyle with decent toilet, bath and spring water, life in a poor and illiterate family is likely to be hellish. Accustomed to enjoying personal liberty -more than their sisters in India and Bangladesh, Nepalese girls should abhor the many restrictions imposed on girls' behaviour and movement here.

Now the girl-turned-woman has been struggling to live with her husband's family in a sleepy village under Agailjhara upazila in Barisal. Her husband is not with her. The man is still working in Kuwait where the two met and had their marriage consummated. It was her father who went to Kuwait with a job and took his daughter along with him. The family lived in one of the flats of a multi-storied building where several Bangalee families also lived. The girl learnt rudimentary Bangla in order to communicate with members of the Bangalee community.

At some stage, boy-meet-girl romance led to their marriage, thank to the same religion of both -Hinduism that is. The first baby the couple has is a girl. Then they have a boy. As provident it would have, the wife returned to Nepal when she was pregnant second time. But it was also the most critical time for her on yet another count. Her mother who was supposed to take care of her during the advanced stage of her pregnancy and thereafter suddenly fell ill and died soon.

Her father could not come back to Nepal leaving her job in Kuwait. So she also had to go through a tough time before she gave birth to the boy. Now she had none to be near her. This compelled her to return to her husband's home in Bangladesh. But she was utterly shocked to see the condition of her husband's family. She was told that the money her husband sent over the past 12 years was spent to construct a building and there were enough nice accommodation there. All this proved false.

She let her husband know her grievances. Now the carpenter husband became aware of the mistake he has made. His father and brothers did no work at home and spent away the money he sent. Now the couple had to be calculative enough in order to secure their future. With a steely resolve, the wife decided to live in her husband's uninspiring home. He would no more send money to his father and brother; she would be the recipient of the money. They have decided to save as much money as they can before his return to Bangladesh.

This is a typical story of Bangladeshi migrant workers. What is the new element here is the inclusion of a marriage that is most unlikely in this region. Her elder daughter and she are picking up Bangla words quite fast but in this case the little one is far better in accomplishing the task. Now it is time for the daughter to go to school. Unfortunately, mother cannot help her daughter in learning the vernacular alphabet let alone stories and poems in Bangla textbook. She can help her daughter learn English better, though.

With education of intermediate level, the Nepalese bride could certainly manage a brighter young bridegroom of her country. But as marriages take place in heaven, she is now in Bangladesh where despite many odds, she has been trying to adapt with new people, condition and environment. Destiny has brought a daughter of the daughter of the Himalayas to Bangladesh. But the family mostly illiterate speaks language so unrefined that she even is not aware of its coarseness and rusticity. Both mother and daughter are learning a language that cannot be presented before civilised people. Her daughter has even picked up the abusive languages.

Unless the mother of the two children can get out of the demeaning confines, it will be hard for her to give decent education to her children. All the sacrifices made by her and her husband will go waste. But the woman is confident she can have her ways. Already she has started living separately. She buys her own groceries and cooks her meals independent of the family. Let the Nepali-Bangladeshi collaboration bring out something outstanding through their children.

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