This is among the very few photographs of my mother’s friends, all of whom were married off young into villages at least half a day away, if not half a few days’ walk removed from their parental village, and the support of their friends. The Nepali woman’s lot was to be cut off from everything familiar at a young age, to be sent to slave away in households where they were often no more than chattel to work the fields. More than family, friends were lost: this severance must have added to the loneliness and despair of a young woman reduced to mere property, bereft of voice. At least, the joys of unexpected and rare reunions like this rekindled old friendship, and allowed daughters and sisters and wives to exist outside the parameters so strictly drawn by a patriarchal system.

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