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The secret night life of Bhutan!

Quirky Drayangs of Bhutan

BHUTAN | Wednesday, 20 May 2015 | Views [952] | Scholarship Entry

In a quest to discover the split personality of Thimphu, I ventured out at 11p.m. to unearth the nightlife of the Buddhist city. 31, lonely, I miserably tried to fit in with the Bhutanese teens who for a change had shed their traditional Bhutanese dress for the trendy western outfits. They shared jokes, romanced, hugged and hogged on the Thukpa ( Tibetan soup) sold on streets. As I continued walking, my hands warmed by holding a hot cup of Thukpa, all kind of songs escaped the night clubs and found their way on the main street. What intrigued me was a Bollywood song playing at full volume. I swallowed the sticky soup in a jiffy and chased the sound and ended up at the stairs leading to a basement night club.

Drayangs are, I discovered, similar to the infamous dance bars of Mumbai. There is booze, pretty dancing girls, loud music but the similarity ends there. What makes Drayangs different is that both men and women, mostly educated, young, urban Bhutanese visit it. I was the only Indian there. The dancing girls do not wear outrageous clothes nor do they resort to titillating moves. They are modestly dressed in their traditional dress Kira. Once on stage, they are naughty, cheerful and energetic.

I hesitantly entered the disco and perched on one of the wooden benches. Soon, a dolled up girl approached me, sat next to me with a diary and coaxed me into requesting a song for a paltry Rs.100 for it.

Diary entry done. Time to honor the deal.
She jumped on stage vivaciously and waved to the DJ, "HINDI,HINDI!"
I sat at the last bench to avoid attention! But her screams drew all curious eyes at me

I looked odd, old, foreign, incongruous, lonely. Embarrassed, I pretended to behave and look like a Bhutanese. Just as my act was culminating into an epic fail (My face simply refused to mutate into a Bhutanese’ face!), the hit Bollywood 'item number' blared from the speakers and the attention shifted. I gave a constipated smile to no one. And I breathed.

It was the time for the last song; a slow paced Bhutanese song (almost a lullaby). Two drunk (but well behaved) local Bhutanese boys joined the ladies on stage and merrily danced away till it was time to call it a day! As soon as the song ends, I stood up, avoiding eye contact, looking and feeling awkward. I emerged from the basement to enjoy light drizzle, cool breeze and some oxygen. I gave a constipated smile to no one. And I breathed. Once again! Little joys of discovering the secrets no one tells you about!

Tags: 2015 Writing Scholarship

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