Have you visited the neonate ward at the JDWNR hospital? If you have then you will probably understand what I am about to describe.
The unmistakable sound of fans at work, beep sounds from machines like the turbines of a plane, murmur of conversations amongst parents and attendees and the occasional sound of little babies crying.
Tonight, it’s a full house. There are no vacant spots on any of the phototherapy machines. There are no more vacant beds for the new mothers and so, some decide to make do with sleeping near the machines, closest to their little ones. I am here too, along with several other parents. We are in the section with ‘mild jaundice’ and in between helping ‘breast feed’ and ‘shuttling my little one back under the ‘therapeutic lights’, I have decided to share my thoughts on the year it is, that is the Dragon year.
Dragon year is a special year in the Bhutanese calendar like in many other Asian countries. It’s also said the dragon year sees the most planned birth of young ones in this part of the world. I wonder if we are into it too? I would have liked to walk a floor down and seek some information (always happy to have more info) but I have an urgent task tonight and I am afraid I will stick to generalizations. I wonder how many little Bhutanese have been born and how many more will be born this year? But for now I am simply happy to be one among them, a proud parent of a dragon baby girl.
But what could this mean for our dragon children? Our cultural understanding allows us to understand that it’s an auspicious sign and therefore, children born under the dragon sign are lucky, bringing them many reasons for happiness. Trying to think a little further, while the dragon is a lucky sign and to have children blessed with supposedly more reasons for happiness, aren’t we really increasing competition then by bringing in a huge unusual generation of young ones? A simplistic explanation, more children born during the dragon year would mean unusually longer queues at hospitals, increasing the risks of not receiving medical attention in time. It would also mean more challenges to get enrolled at early school. It could even possibly mean higher ‘cut-off’ marks for scholarship admissions for higher studies. It could also mean fewer jobs and more applicants.
I know this sounds a bit too pessimistic and I would like to believe that each sign is lucky in their own way and that we are not yet engineering our society by trying to choose certain years over the other (we are perfectly free and capable to do so if we should choose to) while deciding to have children, but ours is a society, riveted around superstition and age old sayings.
These are thoughts that come to mind as a parent of a dragon baby girl, as I sit here amongst many parents with dragon babies tonight. I sense irrespective of under what sign our children maybe born, each one of us as parents, as we look to our little ones, we wonder what of their future.
Fellow Bhutanese, I realize this is not a new question. Many before us have asked it, we are thinking about today and many will continue to do so long after we are gone.
What can we do for our little ones so that they may have a good life? It’s a question that will find an honest answer in our hearts but can we have the courage to live that honest answer? I am going to think a little more, clear the clutter as they say. Good night fellow Bhutanese, signing off from the neonate ward of the JDWNR hospital.