Today I would like to introduce you to another girl of our school, Nisha, thirteen years old. Unlike many other poor families who have moved to Vrindavan and are often living at the outer border of town, Nisha lives in the center, in the old part of town. Her family’s roots are in Vrindavan and the home that they are living in was bought already by her grandfather.
It is a house which has one bedroom and a tiny entrance room in the ground floor and one room on the first floor. Nisha, her parents and her three siblings all live in the bottom floor while her uncle, aunt and cousins live in the room on the top floor.
Used to live closely together and spending a lot of time outside in front of the house, the family might not mind the lack of space that much, if they didn’t additionally constantly have to worry about money. Nisha’s father has learnt to work with marble, granite and similar stones for laying floors, decorating walls and similar work in this field. Unfortunately however, it has been one year that he has really had proper work.
There is lots of construction work going on in Vrindavan but according to the family, it is difficult for locals to find work – because there are so many labourers from outside who are ready to do the same work much cheaper! He has to support a family of six and cannot labour for the same amount that a young single man may agree on. That’s how he doesn’t only try to find work in Vrindavan now but whenever he gets a chance goes to Delhi or Agra to get work on a construction site there for a period of time. The last time, one month ago, he went to work in Delhi for ten days.
With such work and loans taken from local moneylenders he tries to get by but of course whenever he borrows money, it has to be paid back with interest – a burden that is getting more and more heavy with each week that he doesn’t find work!
Maybe it is the knowledge about their financial hardships that lets Nisha look older and more mature than her thirteen years of age would indicate. She looks like a young lady when she walks through school with her friends but then they suddenly all erupt in incontrollable giggles and you know that it doesn’t matter how poor a family is, the children remain children like all others!
As Nisha was on a school where classes were taught in Hindi before, she struggled a bit in the beginning of the year with understanding the English lessons in our school but she did effort and caught up with the other students well. The teachers praise her for working hard and appreciate her calm nature.
That does not mean that this girl doesn’t know how to have fun though! During playtime, you can see her jumping and laughing with the other children of her class, one of them her cousin Anjali, whom I will introduce to you next week.