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Stolen Future

"Stolen Future "

Published On : 23rd January 2017
Posted by : Prabin Karki
Category : Adolescent Girls

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“My aim is to be a doctor” Sarita replied to my question with an excitement. She was in grade 7. She was beautiful, affable and charming. Brilliant, hardworking, enthusiastic little girl used to stand first in her class. She was my neighbor. Preparing meals, preparing her brothers and herself for school, feeding cattle, cleaning the surrounding etc was her daily activities. She used to grab her book as soon as she got chance to study. We used to go to school together. I was in grade 10. She was worried about her career and often used to talk about our social stigmas. I was so fond of her and I loved to listen to her thought, ideas and her passion towards social work to contribute a little for the betterment of society.

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As soon as I completed my SLC, I came here, Kathmandu, for my higher study. I returned home in my vacation after 2 years completing my intermediate level. I reached home with excitement, met my relatives and friends. But I did not see Sarita. She was supposed to be in grade 10. I presumed she had gone to examination center for her final preparation.

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One day, I was wandering along the road at dusk, about 20 min away from my home. I was shocked to see Sarita, on sari and blouse, in Ramesh’s house washing dishes. I stopped and started watching her for a while with surprise. And finally, I came to know that she got married after she started breastfed her baby.

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“Oh god! Did she really get married? Such a brilliant, hardworking girl, her future was bright. And she has a child at the age of 16. What the hell?” I was talking to myself. I rushed towards my home and asked my mom about her.

“She got married when she was in grade 8. Ramesh’s family convinced them not to take any dowry and promised to continue her schooling. And as you know their economic status is not good. By the way, one day or the other she had to marry. So
they gave her.”, Said my mom.

“But you cannot ruin her life, nobody can put her to death in the name of poverty. Is it fair? What the other society was doing when she got married at her early age?” I asked.

“Nothing is as easy as you think it is”, she replied.

“She has a child in this little age”, I shouted.

“Two kids”, she said and went to the kitchen.

I just sat there, took a deep breath. Thought deeply about her, a sort of empathy for her, and remembered everything she used to say. And, today how this society ruined her future and hampered her aspiration.

It was month of Baisakh, bare trees around my home with new green leaf buds. Spring season had just started. I flew to Kathmandu for my bachelor study. I was too busy studying, doing the assignment, within a new circle and molding myself for the better career. Of course busy street, tough competition, it was hard to maintain our own status.

It was the beginning of my 3rd year, I planned to go home on winter vacation. Alike my previous vacation, I reached home with an excitement, met my relatives, friends. This time I speculated to meet Sarita once. Accordingly, I went to Ramesh’s housethe next day. We were from the same batch but from the different school. He welcomed me with a tool. It had been around 10 minutes since I reached there. But
I couldn’t see Sarita. Then I asked him about her. Suddenly, his face turned red and tears rolled down his eyes.

“What happened? What’s wrong?” I asked.

Passing death certificate to me he said that she passed away giving birth to 4th child few days ago. Post-partum hemorrhage was cause of death. She was 20 year old.

”Sorry to hear that, if she wouldn’t have married in her early age, this situation would not have come”, I consoled him and departed.

My heart broke into pieces, I walked along the road, with a bent head staring my toes, cursing the society where we are grown up. Tempest of thought on my mind,“This society didn’t lose a girl but lost a great asset. She was succumbed to death by society, Its’s tradition, Superstitions, misconception.”She was not only the girl who died due to early marriage and its consequences, but she was the girl who mattered. I realized how the dreams of many of these girls were buried by the society. I remembered thirty-seven percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 18 and 10 percent are married by age 15 and Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia, after Bangladesh and India according to UNICEF,
taught in my class.

And today I felt what it means. There might be a lot of girls whose future had been stolen by child marriage. “

I reached home. Vacation meant to be entertaining but it was bitter that time. Child marriage is an emerging problem and it has started engulfing my society too. I made a commitment that I must do something to ameliorate the devastating situation occurring due to child marriage to some extent by creating awareness.

I talked to one of my friend's dad, chairperson of VDC, about child marriage and its consequences informally. He reacted positively, extolled me and promised me to launch awareness program and assured me to make local plans and policies to stop it and to implement the national law. I got further committed in contributing to the solution for the problem in whatever way I can. I planned to do a thesis on the same topic in my final years and conduct a small project in my locality.

With a blink of eyes, time passed, vacation was over. I got on the bus, with a heavy heart, bidding farewell.

“Bye mom”

“Bye, take care and call as soon as you reach Kathmandu”

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