KATHMNANDU, June 13: Eight-year-old Putali loves to dance, play with her dolls and bother her mother. A student of grade 2, Putali’s life turns upside down when her father – who goes abroad after drawing a loan from the village moneylender – disappears, leaving her mother and her homeless. The two come to an unnamed city, and as bad luck would have it, they get lost and lose each other’s company. From here starts Putali’s journey into becoming Pinky in the play titled “Table No.14.”
Staged by rehabilitated girls who were involved in the entertainment hubs such as cabin restaurants, dance bars, dohari restaurants, and massage parlors, the play was organized to celebrate World Day Against Child Labor: Human Rights and Social Justice, on June 12. The audience at Rastriya Nachghar saw the plights of Putali who represented a large number of minors working in the commercial sexual services sector.
The play was organized by a consortium of organizations – Sathi, Biswas Nepal, Change Nepal, and Child and Women Empowerment Society Nepal – all under the purview of “Naya Bato Naya Paila.”
“Table No. 14” is in the form of an open-court (Kachahari) play, and it had the audience interacting with the cast as they recommended solutions to end the issue of child labor. The members in the audience who made the suggestions also got the chance to play Putali on the stage for others to give the verdict if their suggestions would help end the problem.
Directed by Rambabu Regmi, the play faced minor technical glitches but managed to grip the audience with its subject matter until the end.