My friends abroad inviting me to open Lok Dohori restaurant: singer Saru

Dhan Kumari Thapa 'Saru' had passion for art since her childhood, and by this time she has produced over a dozen music albums including Teej songs and devotional hymns. Saru linked her passion with business and started restaurant business, Rodhi Club (restaurant with folk music and dance), at the age of 19. Now she owns two restaurants, one at lavish Durbar Marga and another at the busy new Bus Park area. The Rising Nepal had a brief interview with singer cum businessperson Saru who has been in restaurant business for over 25 years.

At what age did you start singing?

I have been involved in singing since I was 16 years old. Initially, I sang devotional hymns. I had interest in music and song since childhood. Later on, I started Dohori Sanjh (restaurant with duet folk songs) at Durbar Marga of Kathmandu.

How did you start business?

I was born at Chaughada of Nuwakot district as a single daughter of my parents. I was married off at the age of 14 as per the tradition in the village. That was a very small age. I would song devotional songs before the marriage as I had great interest in spiritualism. After marriage I had two sons, and I wanted to do something on my own. I also wanted to do some social work in my life. As I had some artistic capacity, I opened restaurant with performance of folk songs and dance some 15 years ago. I launched my first music album, Jawani ma Ankhai Dekhkhinna, some 12 years ago. I did modeling for the song myself. So far I have produced over a dozen of music albums, and my latest music album is modern songs, not folk songs.

Do you think life can be run as a singer, financially, in present days?

How to live a life depends on individual's choices. I had interest in music and wanted to be a singer. I wanted to do something before bringing out music album. Because of that I am here today, and I did not have to borrow from anyone to produce my album. I had love and appreciation of my audience. Artists should be self-reliant.

In the past, income could be made by selling album and CDs. But that is over now, people listen to music online. Album is outdate. No income can be made by the viewers in the social and audio visual site such as Youtube. At present, artist or the singers are at great loss. CDs are bought only for giving a gift when somebody is going abroad.

What struggle did you do to come to music sector?

As it was my passion to become a singer, I did not find it very difficult. Of course, no success is possible without any struggle, and I accepted all struggles as normal.

Did you have any problems from family?

There were some objection in the beginning. I moved ahead by convincing my family, my motehr-in-law and father-in-law. They understand me now well. Presently, I have given employment to about 90 people. This is something I am proud of. I have restaurants at Durbar Marg and new Bus park area.

Any specific reason for opening Lok Dohori (restaurant with folk songs performance)?

Singing duet songs between young girl and boy was part of life in my village, and I had seen this as a child. If the boy won the song competition, the girl would elope with him and vice versa. After the day's work, there would be song competition or duet singing as a game. I enjoyed such moments a lot. Singing folk songs could lead to love affairs. I wanted to link this tradition with restaurant business, and when I came to Kathmandu I started the business.

Now I am called from abroad to open such restaurant there.

You are also involved in social works. How are you getting time?

I am associated with various social organizations. I have been doing social works by being associated with World Hindu Federation, Radhakrishna Trust, Jaya Shri Muktinath, Baikunthanath Dipyadham and others. Lately, I am preparing to open an elderly home at Devghat of Chitwan district. I have been sponsoring for food and education of 21 orphan girls of 7-14 years.

How many countries have you visited?

I have been to the UK, Japan, the USA, Australia, European countries to perform my songs.

By Saroj Dhungel

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