BIRGUNJ, Sept 8: Golden hair, blue eyes and a little smile. Eight years old Kaj Mali from Dom Basti in Birgunj is beautiful from any standard. But she doesn’t know how beautiful she is. “I don’t have a mirror at home,” she said. “I don’t know what I look like.”
Her parents make a living dealing with bamboos. She rummages in the garbage in the market for toys to play with. There she finds a discarded necklace, and she wears it. They don’t get a new set of clothes unless there’s a festival to celebrate. Hence, they wait for festivals to come around. “We get new clothes in Tihar,” she says, laughing. “We feel very happy.”
Her friend, Radha Mali, also lives a similar life. Radha is beautiful, too. Though living in squalor surrounded by dirty water, their smiles are still intact. They are blooming just like lotuses that grow in the muddy waters in their surroundings.
“The mirror in my house is broken too,” said Radha. “I look at myself in that mirror though.” She explained that the hazy mirror did not reflect her face clearly.
Six months ago, the residents of the small area where she lives were surprised to see her picture. “Is this my picture?” Radha Mali asked with her picture in her hand. “I really like it.”
They don’t follow fashion, but they are not less than any models.
“I don’t do fashion, I’m fashion,” the popular French fashion designer Coco Chanel’s thought coincides with their situation. Standing half naked with their hands on their hips, they lean on mud walls and look like ‘models.’
Like Oleg Cassini said, “Fashion anticipates, and elegance is a state of mind… a mirror of the time in which we live, a translation of the future, and should never be static.”
It suits the situation, not only of those children in Birgunj but it also reflects the entire country’s financial state.