Monday, 23 May 2016
Just to see the night life in the town which had recovered and restored from a ghost town to a bustling commercial hub after resolving the security issues a decade or so ago, I visited couple of drayangs. The presence of night life in the town definitely points to having good peace and security, otherwise, there would be curfews the moment the last light begins. There were at least three drayangs and the number is expected to be on the rise. The party hall was empty as it was too early to start the dance and jam session at 2100 hrs. The town is Gelephu. When I was here last, there was the feelings of uncertainty clouding the vast foothills. At these time of the night even dogs feared to bark. Only people that were roaming were the security personnels. The change was pleasant and the personnels who were responsible for the change were enclosed happily within the boundaries at Pelrithang. The barracks that we occupied were demolished and a huge hospitals is being constructed at the – ground zero.
I entered the drayang. It was dimly lit with a raised platform at one end of the room and a sitting arrangement covering the major part of the room. There was no one dancing on the stage though the music with good beats was temptingly kept on at full blast. There were couple of pencil thin girls whose hips are no bigger than my thigh moving around the room. As I took an empty seat a very thin girl – to the tune of looking almost fragile - approached me with a broad practiced smile and sat beside me.
"Request chi shugay may la" she told me with with an enforced coyness. I pretended not to understand what she was saying and that made her coyness real and I think I saw her blush.
"How much does people normally pay for - request?" I asked her taking the note book from her hands and going through the lists of fake names and some perhaps real who had contributed to her. The minimum that was contributed was 300 bucks. I wrote a bogus name (Dopay – suggested by a friend accompanying me) and handed over the money.
"Why don't you just take the money, without writing it there?" I asked scanning her body for the first time. The tego was unusually pulled and tightly pinned making it skin tight. She must be wearing a half modified Kira because I can see the shapes of her ribs. She must be in her late teens and given the favorable circumstances she should be in colleges. I felt tinge of sadness and filled with pity instead of what she intended me to feel with her amorous behaviors.
Her reply to my question ignited appreciations for her integrity, sense of responsibility, dedication to her organization and honesty. I was filled with sympathy. But after achieving what she came looking for she had to hunt for more request and carry on.
She was startled when I said. "Will you be honest and tell me why you are here and do you like what you are doing?" She scrutinized me closely and perhaps seeing a fatherly figure in me, she confided in me her stories.
She told me that she could not continue her studies after class six as her parents were having tough time even to have a three square meals. They were resettled people and they had to start everything from a scratch. When her parents build a new house she helped in contributing Nu 20000. The amount was borrowed from the owner of the drayang and she works there to repay the debt. She was hopeful that it would be liquidated after about six months and she would be free.
Entrapment of different kind. I did not know how to judge the circumstances in which she was in or gotten herself into. Is it her fault? Is it her parents fault? Is it the owner's fault? There is kindness, there is helplessness and there is hope in her that must be pulling her through in the midst of a place thronged mostly by people looking for something that is obvious and come mostly half drunk.
She also told me that she never let herself be exploited. Despite her size she is a strong girl. Exploited she was by the circumstances and with the urge to help her parents as all Bhutanese are. Had it been in the west 18 and you are free and independent with no fetters chaining you to any person.
I was moved by her stories. But what type of people get satisfaction by touching at wrong places, fumbling and fiddling a cutie who is so much in distress. One should be heartless and shut off from the reality to do that or get drunk so as to blame the alcohol and the drunken stupor.
Nevertheless, I was told that drayang girls are lairs and I really wish that her story be a lie.