Disrespectful, impudent backtalk about Bhutanese girls studying in India is very common in Bhutan. Often people would ask, “Are you a student?”
And the answer would be obviously, “Yes.”
“Where?” They would throw the next question.
The instant they hear so, the look on their face would change to something not so pleasing. It would be accompanied by an array of furrows over their forehead indicating dismay and disapproval. Some would simply pretend that we haven’t met while few others would go on like…
“Oh! India? You might be enjoying down there. Or do you have a boyfriend? Is he down there with you?” They would interrogate us as if we have come for a job interview.
Often I have overheard people having conversation:
“Girls studying in India are characterless, useless, etc.
India gha pecha lham khan zamin bha sho chas chuma unncha.
India luu pecha tamii bum tsu maep thel thelw tsang tsang ra wongm enn”.
These words would pierce right through my ears, hit my central nervous system and trigger the release of adrenalin hormone in my bloodstream. But nothing could I do to convince them that weren’t always true.
Some people would play the role of a good counselor. They would give their friend a pat on the back as they say, “It is advisable not to choose a girl studying in India as your soul mate. But if you want to enjoy, they would be the perfect choice”
An online chat with a few males would progress as:
“So you are studying in India, right? Do you stay in hostel or a rented house?”
“In the hostel”, was what they would find blinking in their chat box screen.
“Aw-oo-o. That is so boring”.
“What is the matter?”
“Nothing. I mean I can visit you some days if you were in a rented house but…”
Some would just comment, “You have become slim. Have you been doing something mischievous down there?”
What do some people think of girls? Girls are also human beings. Every human should be given equal rights, self-respect and dignity. No one has the right to violate human rights and the one who does that is not a human.
Nevertheless, some of the narrations cited above may be based on some reasoning and may imply to some girls. But that doesn’t mean the whole set of girls have to get the blame as a common Bhutanese quote states, “Jaa purii mii chi. Mii nohrii michii”.
For instance, I know not much about other colleges, but when it comes to mine, the Horticultural College and Research Institute, Dr. Y.S.R. Horticultural University is a college of strict rules and discipline. It remains isolated amid vast stretches of orchards on all the four directions and the only heavenly firmament visible above.
I feel that even schools were better since we were allowed to loaf around within the school campus at least. But here, we (girls) remain locked up in the hostel till 8 am in the morning and immediately after class by 4 pm. It is only on Sundays that we get to visit our nearest town which is around 15 kilometers from my college. Our outing time would stretch from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. It appears more like a race from the college to town and back rather than an outing. Everything has to be done in haste. There were also a time when our college bus would reach us to the town and swing back to the college with in-charges accompanying us to monitor our movement.
On other days, if need arises, the security guard at the hostel gate had to bounce like a badminton shuttle between us(Bhutanese girls) and our only Bhutanese male companion to have our books or any other things exchanged. We were prohibited from meeting face to face.
At the same time, the professors did their best in depriving us of our leisure times by assigning us with never ending tasks. And experiential learning through field works added to our work burden.
This was, indeed, a blessing in disguise for we could inculcate the sense of hard work and grasp this opportunity to build a platform whereby we can be able to tackle the challenges of our lives. The only constraint being the climate where the scorching sun and the soaring temperatures (40-50 degree Celsius) were roasting us to a dark brown toast, it was an ideal place to study.
So we all went to India with an aim and a purpose behind. We were there to do something that could fulfill the never dying hopes and expectations of our beloved parents and to serve our government through the humble act of dedicated service for sponsoring us. On account of all the aforementioned reasons, I would like to plead the general public that the perception and notion of Bhutanese girls studying in India be changed from what it is apparent now as our performance in the RCSC is indicative of the fact.