KATHMANDU, Sept 1: Be it rain or scorching sun, sixty-one-year-old Nanda Dhakal always looks unfazed. Every day, she sits under the same tree at Basundhara of Kathmandu to sell barbecued corn.
As people walk past her, Dhakal flashes a wide smile at them and urges them to buy her corn at Rs 25 apiece. Her life is full of struggles and hardships. But even at this fragile age, she continues to face whatever troubles that come her way all by herself.
Nanda was born in Rasuwa to a mother who soon left the family. When she was about six years old, she was married off to a twenty years old man.
At sixteen, she had her first baby and in the years that followed she gave births to seven other children and found herself overwhelmed with household responsibilities. “There were days when I couldn’t even feed them,” she says.
Her troubles increased as her children grew up. She was forced to sell all her family lands to marry off her four daughters and provide money to her sons who wanted to buy houses for their families.
She has been working to sustain herself since her husband passed away 15 years ago. “I wept so much in the past that I cannot weep anymore. My tears have dried up,” she says with a feeble smile.
Despite all hardships, Nanda never gave up. Even at the age of sixty one, she is loath to waste her days. During corn seasons, she sells corn and earns up to Rs 500 per day.
“Sometimes people run away without paying,” she says. “They say they will go buy some water and never come back.”
Nanda also occasionally sells fruits and vegetables or works at party palaces.
If she doesn’t work hard, she says, she wouldn’t be able to sustain herself.
“My youngest son has gone abroad. He had promised to send me money. But it has been six months since he left and he hasn’t sent anything. I keep trying to call him but in vain. I don’t care about the money, I just want to know if he is well,” she says.