At the tender age of seven, Vesna Joshi left for Delhi simply because home had absolutely nothing for her.
Imagine it is 40 degrees outside; you’re stuck in a seven-seater car with twenty others and no air conditioning. It’s hot, foul smelling and difficult to breathe. Not a good place to be.
But that’s what you get when you’re lucky enough to catch a ride to the train station. If you can’t get one, you take the bus packed like sardines with sweaty, reeking people – once there was even a goat – seated inside and atop the blackened hot vehicle.
“That terrible route,” she recalls, her face wrought with distaste. “You should check out the roads actually, they’re so scary – oh god, one of the most dangerous roads.” “I tell you,” Vesna looked me right in the eye, “the windy roads to the station are so narrow, but it’s a two-lane road. All highways in Nepal are mountainsides, so there’s a precipice and below there’s a river.”
Because of that road, they’d missed the train once. So Vesna and her Dad spent the night in a hotel for a dirt-cheap 3AUD per night. “It was a very shady area so everybody probably thought that either my dad was a child trafficker, or maybe I was a prostitute.”
They always got to Delhi safe and unharmed though. “While leaving, my dad – he was so embarrassed – he said, ‘don’t tell anybody how we reached here. Just tell them we came by plane.’”
Coming from a country ranked 157th on the Human Development Index (HDI), going to Delhi to study was already a great privilege that Vesna’s father could only afford because of his job promotion.
“My father wanted me to move to Delhi for school because…” she pauses, eyes wandering around the room as she searches for the right answer. “Nobody wants his or her child to live a life in Nepal.”