This article was written several months back. I visited Drayang accompanying other friends. The ambiance at Drayang really made me to re-think and introspect about the life at Drayang and about other lives as well.
I have read an article on Indian dance bars in http://en.wikipedia.org, it says; “The bar girls are, in many cases, sole support their families through their earnings.” the bar girls could easily earn quite substantial amount of money and this high earning attracted women from all over India and even as far away as Nepal and Bangladesh. One Indian scammer is said to have spent Rs.one crore on a single dancer overnight. When Indian government officially banned dance bars in Maharastra State in the year 2005, in Mumbai alone 1.5 lakh people, including 75,000 bar girls went out-of-work. due a lack of a rehabilitation program some committed suicide, some outrightly became prostitutes, some illegally trafficked to gulf countries or pimps sold them, some became waitress in hotels earning much lesser income and some opened up their own shops.
We are unique with unique culture. We don’t call it ‘dance-bar’ but ‘Drayang’. It is where patrons are entertained by dancers seeking so called ‘request’.
The Drayangs are without any doubt, the top recreational spot for lonely men. We have handful of them distributed over the country and most of them are in our capital city and other commercial cities. It is no surprise to see the audience and customers comprising of people from different walks of life. They are mostly lonely men, depressed men, some senior citizens, some youngsters, divorced women, some addicts and some office goers. It is indeed good recreational spot for all. Employees may be over stressed with their daily works, business people over-stressed with marketing and managing sales and of course for idle minds to at least enjoy the ambiance I too pay visit to Drayangs, but, it is not my favorite. I never favoured their fortune-too bad says some of my friends. When I am there, I hardly enjoy in line with what most visitors do. I am always lost in my own thoughts. I just watch, ponder and even after returning home, my thoughts are preoccupied with deep retrospection.
Just imagining-who could be those entertainers?
Why are they taking up the profession which is not regarded with respect by our own society?
My intuition says, it can be attributed to reasons like broken family, poor parents, desperate to earn for survival, no proper education, etc. And, yes it is exactly when I conversed with some of them.
But flipping my notions, it is definitely a decent job that they survive. They are provided free accommodation and free fooding besides their monthly wages. Also they don’t have to invest in garments to wear at their duty like other office goers-they are provided by proprietors. On average they are paid between Nu.4000 to 6000 per month exclusive of other incentives. Is it too small? Definitely no. Just consider a guy after completing his university graduate becomes a civil servant. His net income will be around Nu. 14,000-16,000 per month, of which he has to pay more than 60% of his earning as house rent, certain amount for electricity, fuel, grocery items and other miscellaneous items. Will his balance be still higher than those Drayang girls? This is a simple food for thought. The Draying employees are definitely earning higher than employees of other sectors. And, sometimes, well-off and inebriated patrons favour their fortune.
In fact, it is golden platform for unemployed girls without sound qualification or else they might choose to sell their body for survival. For example, banning of bar dancers in India forced many bar dancers to become protitutes-because they had no other options.
Although it is still looked down by society as mean job, it can become most sought after job if we change our attitude towards them. It is about how I, you and society at large rate them. Let us not generalize and down look them for being noble friend of entertainment during times of loneliness. If we get to them, they will have their own stories to tell. Even if you can't respect, at least, let's not downcast their state of survival, after all, they are standing on their own feet. It is good form of entertainment when everything is taken positively.