KATHMANDU, Oct 2: Though Chandraman Pariyar, a seventy-two year old man from Kavre, could not fulfill his dream to become an army staff, he learned to feed his family by working hard in his traditional occupation.
Pariyar is a tailor in a small shop at Kamal Pokhari in Kathmandu. He was once a young boy who dreamed to become an army general but after his parents could not afford the school fee of Rs. 3 per month, he dropped out of school in grade two and began working at a vegetable farm. Soon, he learned how to sew from his father and has been sewing for the last sixty years.
At his eighteen, Chandraman left his village in Kavre to come to make a name for himself in Kathmandu. He walked the whole way of several kilometers with just a cooking pot and a few pieces of clothes stashed inside it as there was no bus service. “Life at the village was hard and everyone was very poor. There was one couple who had nineteen children but only three survived since the quality of life was so low in the village. So I came to Kathmandu to earn some money and improve the life of my family” Pariyar explains.
Unfortunately, other employers in Kathmandu weren't interested in hiring a person who hadn't even completed grade two. Tailoring was the only job he was able to get that is why he ended up doing it.
“The first time I saw others using a sewing machine in Kathmandu, I was confused. The strange whirring noise the machine made just added to my confusion! I had learned how to sew using my hands. I thought I wouldn't even be able to work as a tailor here. But I coped up with the new ways. The machine makes sewing much easier” Chadraman says.
He now earns around Rs.200 a day working in a cloth shop owned by a business man and he sends a portion of that money to his family. He has eighteen grandchildren so he does what he can in order to support them. The rest of the money is used to buy basic needs and pay the rent of the room where he and his wife currently live in.
“I have known nothing in life besides sewing. But the earthquake threatened to take that away from me. The clothes I was tailoring were destroyed and my machine was lost.
Even my home in the village was destroyed. The earthquake took many things from all of us. Only thing I have learned from it is that there is no end to life's struggles. It is like a river, flowing and running.”
He looks serious and tired, trampled by his struggles in life as if he never learned to laugh. When asked if he had any funny stories, Pariyar said that he doesn't remember the last time he laughed. “Maybe it was twenty years ago when I was delighted with my friends” he says.