|Parents watch Pema Seldon play game in the Mall|
She is Pema Seldon, my brother’s daughter. She is seven years old and is going to study in class three this year. She studies in Dungmanma Community School, located in one of the remote corners of the country, Shingkhar Lauri. She comes to Thimphu for the first time.
And she is marveled to see the luxury of games children in the town play. Ever since, she arrived in Thimphu, she has been frequenting to Sheare Square, a shopping mall in Olakha. This is because she likes to climb up and down the electric ladder and play the games, children play, in the mall.
She also likes to ride vehicles and travel from place to place. The moment I wear shoes, she understands that I am going somewhere and would be journeying by vehicle, she runs after me. If it is not for the fear of her Principal, she says she would not go home. “We have nothing, like them, to play at home and in the school” she says. “They have plenty of choices to play.”
I have taken her to many places to play games. When she gets back to school this time, I am sure, she will have many stories to share to her group friend who have never come to Thimphu. And her friends would sit mesmerized around her. They would even think if she had been to the heaven and come back.
Watching her learn enthusiastically, I was taken aback to my youthful days. I remembered how I was deprived of such facilities despite my desire to learn and play. The only game we would play was the vehicle made out of wood. We would have to urinate on the axle of the wheel, and roll down the steep valley in swirling dusts. That was fun but dirty. And about the other games, we read in books. That was no fun. Teachers forced us down our throats and we had to swallow. Life was difficult and different.
Today, I have brought her to the town and gave her the taste of modern games. I know she will never miss such play in her life like me.