A visit to the Drayangs, night clubs and Karaoke bars left me awestruck with the enjoyment people seek when visiting such ‘recreational’ places. I wonder whether such places could be termed ‘recreational’ in its literal sense. It’s indeed a place to get ‘high’ and the money people spend is simply lavish.
I went to a familiar Drayang just to see and experience the life in such places. After a bottle of the ‘mood swinger’ I could see a familiar face and it was pretty. As the face drew closer it was one of the little kids I knew back then when I was in college and this kid had just done elementary schooling. She was a pretty faced kid. She was our neighbor at my parents place. This is the story of hers as I was told. This is a story of a girl who ended up working in a Drayang after her parents split for whatever reasons and this is pretty disheartening. Let’s name her Sonam.
Sonam is one of the two kids her parents had. She has a brother. I know the parents very well. She was brought up in the place where I grew up. Unlike the underprivileged kids these days, Sonam has both her dad and mom working, even now! She enjoyed all the luxury of a modern kid and as I was told money wasn’t necessarily a problem. Sonam’s mom brought up two kids with no problems of any sort, yet she had this inclination towards parties, gatherings, drinks and friends who click in every aspect of their nightly behaviors. She was obsessed with the night life so much that her marriage to Sonam’s dad ended in a divorce. That’s when all hell broke loose for the kids. Sonam ended up repeating the 9th grade and she left schooling in the midst of her 10th year.
I don’t know the whereabouts of Sonam’s brother but Sonam now works for a Drayang in Thimphu. And we know the behavior and attitudes of men while drunk! She undergoes harassment and abuse, at least by our Bhutanese standards. This is a stark reminder of the social fabric that we are a part of. Families all over the developing world have such similar stories to tell and the root being ‘Poverty’. How many Sonams’ could there be in the Drayangs making a living with no other means and alternatives? What has been done cannot be undone and that’s the way it has been for girls like Sonam.
As I left, I asked Sonam one last time “Do you like here?” She moved her head in denial, “I am happy today as I got my salary” said Sonam smilingly. This innocent little girl doesn’t know she ended up in a Drayang with no faults of hers. I smiled back at her and wished her luck and told her to save some money with her grandma because at her age she isn’t eligible for a savings account yet. This is a fact she told me. She is yet to process her citizenship identity card. Such tender is her age.
Dear friends please do remember Sonam, when you visit Drayangs next time! Will you?