Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Nepali Youth: Mission Abroad

My Melancholy Musings

My cousin brother Chandra fishes out two photographs from his back pocket and flashes at me. They are the pictures of his wife and daughter. He tells me: "Not only for myself, but am going abroad also for them." Small gestures but great meaning, I think. This post is dedicated to the likes of Chandra who embark upon an odyssey to fulfill the dreams of their family.

Twenty four year old Chandra is leaving for Malaysia very soon. He is one of hundreds of Nepali youth who toil in the foreign soil, somewhat pompously called Diaspora. First Chandra's brief bio: Near Durgapuri, a terai bazaar (more aptly a Haat) in Morang district, is Chandra's wooden house with aluminum roof. This is where he lives with his beautiful daughter Raksa, wife Sarada and his mother. This is a part of the world where every household sends its sons abroad. Who are these chaps? Their faces are veiled by statistics.

Chandra's mother happens to be my maternal uncle's second wife. My aunt is estranged from her husband. People usually think that the younger wife wins the heart of her husband. But, this is a different case altogether. So, Chandra's family, I can safely say, is a little bit ignored by their patriarch.

Two years ago, I went to Durgapuri to receive tika from my maternal uncle. It had been ages since I saw Chandra. "Married and a daughter?!" I exclaimed and felt myself a chronic bachelor (which I no longer am). Actually, my aunt asked me if I can facilitate a visa for him. I could not say no.

I immediately felt the urgency (more so as aunt's health was deteriorating) and fished out my visiting card. Armed with the contact he needed in Kathmandu, Chandra landed at my office one afternoon, the zeal to fly abroad apparent in his face. I assigned my jobless brother (who is also seeking foreign employment) to help him out. He approached one man power agency. But, it kept Chandra's passport for more than two months without any words.

Then, we tried in another agency. This one is charging Chandra 90 thousand rupees for the visa and travel fare. I demanded the contract paper because everyday newspapers are filled with the news of people being cheated by crooked man power agents. The contract paper said he will earn 700 Malaysian currency if he works 10 hours a day. Chandra is spending almost one lakh ruppes for the whole stuff. It will take one year for him to pay the loan. He will earn approximately two lakh fifty thousand rupees once he toils for three years.

What will he do with that money? Pay the house loans; buy jewelries for his wife or some goodies for his lovely daughter? We often bask upon the achievements remittance has brought to Nepali economy. But, the reality is different. Most of them continue this journey till their late forties and end up in the same miserable condition as in the pre-job abroad journey.

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