To Post or not to Post? That, is the question.

As I woke up this morning I checked my Instagram.

The grays of our mundane life coloured by the bright LEDs in our screen.
We cannot deny the huge footprint of social media in our life. Communication is essential to a human, as essential as the need for food; and technology is the biggest medium for this communication today.

Sikkim, as tiny as the piece of land we all thrive in, is as beautiful as heaven. Like other ‘North-eastern’ states in India it does not often see itself in the mainstream Indian media. Except being covered as one of the cleanest state in India.

How does the media function in this state then?

Here, we will see the big role of social media in the lives of our people. It acts as a medium for expression, an outlet for the people. Perhaps the reason why apps like Snapchat, Instagram etc. are Big in here.

While regional media like Nayuma is present in Sikkim, which provides cable line to houses, it is only aired in the state. In this case the online media is more effective in shaping the way we receive news, even for people who stay away from home. We rely on these Facebook pages to give us our local news. As of now there are two major news pages, The Voice of Sikkim which has been around for some time and the newest Sikkim Chronicle that aims at providing us with reliable news.

The other aspect in the multi dimensional facet of this functioning is the social media used especially by teens and young adults in their daily lives.

It is wonderful to the see the pleasing posts of Sikkimese people. Hues of blue and pink, white washed walls, flavoursome food, faultless street style, all seen  through the rectangular screen. A screen that maybe masks some of the details, perhaps rendering us an image incomplete.  It is so ingrained in us that we tend to refer to people in real life by their Instagram usernames.

It has become an undeniably important tool to express ourselves, our art and our craft. Also, to present ourselves to the world in a light that we want to be seen in. A person’s social media tells a lot about them, but not everything. We cannot know the whole person through this. Is it the lack of a proper platform in the state that we find our own way of expression through social media? Or is it simply universal?

The impact of social media is quite visible among all us. In a recent event held by a magazine in Sikkim, people were brought together for a talent play off known through Instagram. There were also people who were felicitated for being popular in the same. This event shows both the positive and the negative effect of social media.

Who can ever tell what it is based on. Are we all heading in the right direction?

An article in Reader’s Digest shows that 66% say they feel more accepted on social media than in person, 72% feel more important or popular when they receive a lot of likes and 58% feel upset or depressed when they don’t receive a lot of likes.

Isn’t it true to some extent? Don’t we feel a little disappointed when a post we care about gets fewer likes than expected?

Isn’t it time to pause and reflect, for our online life has become like the backside of that green MG Marg building with a broken pipe, leaking; a striking contrast of dirty-brown on its wall?

Disclaimer – Featured image is the property of NPR. 

DEMYSTIFYING THE BANJHAKRI TALES

“Coo… coo… coo…That’s the best way I can mimic the sound, grandpa. It was eerie, sounded like a call or a code. I’m still shaken by the sound of it.”

I described, to my grandfather, the sound which woke me up all night.

Grandpa gave me a bemused look. His old eyes seemed to travel back in time and recollect all the memories and information he had in him about the input I had fed him with.

With extreme judiciousness, he blurted out a word- “Banjhakri.”
Further intricacies paved in when he started narrating me a story- absurd but putative.

Nani, I was eight and was staying at Chalamthang with my grandparents. The altitude is not too high, I think it is about a 1000 metre and the weather too is very pleasant. One could and still can hear streams of water hit huge rocks. I have in mind, the picture of two big streams with water as white as milk when viewed from a distance and as clear as a mirror when close. The nocturnal birds hoot when the Sun sets to rest. There used to be a hill just a few kilometers from my grandparents’ place, which I was told to be wary of.
One day, I believe it was 2 hours after noon when I had sneaked out of my grandparents’ house to walk the forbidden hill. My grandparents were taking the dose of their regular afternoon slumber when I decided to take the step- which I, then, thought was brave and adventurous. Now, I take it to be refining. “BANJHAKRI-FALLS-Giridhar-Appaji-Nag-Y-Flickr-Creative-commonsmaxresdefault (2)
“After having walked for about forty-five minutes, I lost my already-poor sense of direction. I started crying for I was afraid and alone.”
“The next thing I felt, was a tight grip at my wrist. A pull came next. I saw my tears float in air and that is when I realized that I was being carried by a huge (I was eight and little) beast, hairy and swift. It felt as though I was flying midair. ”

I laughed, of course.

“I too would have laughed had I not been at the receiving end of what had happened.”

Anta, after having experienced a cyclonic flight in the beast’s arms, I was taken to a cave. It was high enough to accommodate a 3-5 foot human, it stood as housing for a golden “dhyangro” and “gajo“, a few sticks scattered hither and thither, some peacock feathers and animal skin. The cave had been blackened with smoke.3726384

“I hadn’t taken a good look at the beast until I was laid in the cave and stripped naked.
While he observed my body, I observed him. He was a hairy beast, but his face was discernible to the eyes. He had a conical head and had large ears. I also noticed that his hands were bare. When he sat down to inquire me better, I saw that its body hair blanketed him completely.”

“Just when he was reaching out to my neck for his last bit of inspection, the cave turned dark and cold. When the beast and I turned around, at the grotto’s opening, I saw a humongous creature hunching towards me and the beast. The beast, suddenly, clad me under its arms. The very little detail I gathered of the humongous creature was that it possessed legs that were turned inward and pointed backwards. It had breasts that started at the sternum and seemed to end at the pelvic area.”

I adulterated grandpa’s narration by glaring at him with shrewd, judgmental eyes.
I sniffed a gentle warning when he looked at me, avowing that the tale was true and not based on falsity.

He continued.
“The creature was drooling over the sight of me. The beast who had taken me captive started to feel like a resort. I could feel that it was trying to protect me. By the way, I took him for being male after having taken a glance at the long breasted creature, which had to be female. Haha.”

I gave grandpa a laugh to comply with the witty claim.

“The two alien creatures gazed at one another and exchanged looks which made them look like they were consumed in an intense conversation. I now realize that they had been conversing in a clairvoyant medium. Next, they started conversing verbally, in a tone and language unknown and impenetrable to my little self.

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“I was petrified at the happenstance and it appeared to me as dreamy and unreal. I wanted to pinch myself awake to reality and drink away the horrifying scenes forth me. The female was getting furious and hit the male with a sickle. The male then attacked the female back and started to chant a mantra in a discreet fad. He was poised while she was agitated. She gave the look of an infant being tamed and taught mannerisms, all the while behaving like the one snatched off its favourite fruit or toy. Her eyes were glowing with rage and despair. The female finally succumbed to the male’s enchantments.”

“The male beast then took me with him and ran at the same pace with which he had brought me to the grotto.”

Chhora, I had never seen any human run uphill at such pace with such uniform velocity. He took me to a jungle and sat me down on a cliff, to resume what he had left incomplete in the cave. Before that, he let out a fremd sound which sounded less like a whistle and more like an owl hooting. I was afraid. He then, reached my neck and at the sight of a small scar, gave me a noxious push. The next moment, i was flying in thin air only to hit the ground with a lethal thud.
I still thank the jungle deities for having saved me from the hands of the female and the push that could have been fatal.”

“When I opened my eyes, I found myself in a hospital back in Gangtok. My limbs were intact but I was told that I had been uttering words like “bhoot” “bhaloo“, et cetera. I did not say a word while I was at the hospital since I knew the aftermath of revealing what I had witnessed. When I was discharged and taken home, I remember my grandparents and I having a conversation, similar to the one we’re having, at present.”

“I learnt from Bajey that the mystical beast who had taken me captive was a Banjhakri and the female I had seen was a Lyamlyamey. I was also told that I was one of the very few kids who sruvived after having seen a Lyamlyamey since it fed on innocent kids.”

“The Banjhakri, as I was told, was some kind of a teacher who abducted people aged five to twenty and taught them the art of shamanism. They are not humans but possess human-like attributes and live near human establishments. However, they remain aloof of the locals and choose to live in the wilderness without any material support. The numbered material a Banjhakri owns is a tiara of pwakh and a skirt made of animal skin.”

Baffled because of what my ears were taking in, I enquired, “Aakhey, why did the Banjhakri take you, anyway? What was the motive and was it met?”

Aakhey smiled, and started with the remaining glut of information sharing:

Sunn, Banjhakris are the deities of the forest and possess ineffable powers for healing and destroying. They can shape shift and even do telepathy. They are also believed to have powers that influence the weather of a region and even make a calamity occur, naturally.”

“When a Banjhakri abducts a child, he teaches the little one all that he knows and makes him survive in the wilderness. There are reported cases like mine, where little boys have been forcibly made to eat red worms with the back of their hands and practice the beating of the dhyangro with the gajo. Some have even claimed that their hands had been dipped in boiling oil to deem suitable for the training and have been made to sleep on burning coal. The ones who survived such dreadful tests were taught mystical chants and mantras and told of the deeper secrets of the kind.”

“The reason as to why the powers are passed on to the newer generation, that is, the abducted kids are still unfounded. ”

“Nani, you should also know that I was rejected by the Banjhakri.”

“What?” I exclaim.

Hajur, I was rejected by the Banjhakri since I had an imperfection on me and that is this little scar on my neck I got while playing in the fields. I did not know it back then, but my Bajey told me all about it and it made me feel lucky.”

“If I had clear skin and no imperfection- physical and spiritual, I’d have been a Jhakri myself and lived to treat people and tell fortunes, maybe.”

“Imagine such a case. Haha.”

I fall into the deep sheets of imagination where my grandfather wears a skirt made of animal skin and decks his hair with feathers. I am amused at the thought of it.

Ajhai chha.
Aren’t you curious about their origin?”

“Of course, I am. Bhannu hos na.

“Well, listen. The Banjhakris are said to be the descendants of the Sun and are ardent worshippers of the Shiva. The sun is the symbol for the highest realized consciousness in Hinduism. They are also considered as the Lord of Animals, Yogis and the Bestower of Wisdom. Some claim that they are the hybrid progeny of a human female and a large ape, just like the yetis. In fact, research shows that the Banjhakris are one of the different kinds of Yetis- these, being the fastest and the tiniest.”

“They are also seen as guardian spirits by some ethnic groups of Nepal and Sikkim and in the Buddhist lore, they are given the position of the protectors of the Dharma. Strangely, the Banjhakris are also considered as the Gods of Mercy and Compassion.”

“Most people of today do not believe in the stories of our past. How do you feel about it?”

Aakhey, I don’t know. I use the Internet for doing any research and I play games on and offline. I have heard stories of ghosts and aliens but I haven’t really seen one. Some of my friends claim to have seen ghosts when they were younger but all I saw and watched were movies and documentaries that made me curious, undoubtedly. But, it also made me skeptical about all the information since it did not appear superfluous and what’s not superfluous is usually not real to the kind of us. You know?
I don’t know how I feel about it all. I really do not.”

Aakhey. Tell me some more about the Lyamlyamey.”

“Oh, yes.
Lyamlyamey are females with large breasts that hang below their abdomens. They are the Banjhakris‘ partners. They sling their breasts over their neck when they rest, and hold and carry them in their hands while running. That is one reason why a person is advised to run downhill on the sight of a Lyamlyamey or a Banjhakri. The Banjhakri’s hair covers their face while running downhill which hinders their vision and hence, they too cannot run downhill.”

“Their bodies reek strongly of garlic, I’ve been told. I do not recollect anything as such from my abduction, though.
The Lyamlyamey attacks humans on sight and torture them to death and consume the human, henceforth. ”

Horah?”

Hola.”

“While most Banjhakris are vegetarians, some hunt wild animals and muphalas. There are tales that tell that the meat of the Banjhakri can cure diseases like gallstones, jaundice and mental illness. It is uncanny how the sight of their partners is considered as an omen.”

“They are sacred beings, Nani. Just like the Shiva, they can be dangerous but when good, they are the best of all the living creatures and can live harmoniously with and in nature.”

“This confuses me Aakhey.”

“It confuses me too.”

Aakhey, what do you think about it all?”

“Nani, I experienced some of what the tale holds. However, there are instances in the tales that appear as make-believe and institutional.
The difficulty is further complicated by the existence of these creatures in today’s world. We hardly hear the people of today sharing experiences of having an encounter with a Banjhakri and a Lyamlyamey. We cannot connect with your generation. All we have left is the memories of the yester-generations. The memories of our experiences we had and the stories we were told. All these seem to be in a distant land now. However, when I, sometimes watch the Television and hear of the stories about alien abductions, yetis, the big foot, humanoid creatures, I succumb to my past and believe it all. Even though it is all only in my head now, it is real there. In my head, I have the picture of the hairy beasts and the sound of the whistle, which you, by the way, heard.
Tell me now. How would you like to take it?”

—————————————————————————————————————————————–
Dear Reader,
I am certain to quite an extent that a lot of skepticism hit you when you read the story above. There are a lot of loopholes in the extract above like, “Why pass on the powers?” “Why abduct a child?”

A lot of attempts have been taken to answer such questions, all of which are satisfying and yet, full of ambiguity. I present my theory of why the powers are passed on to the newer generations.

The powers the Jhakri possess are usually all pertaining to nature and are used for protection and healing. It could be possible that the Jhakris are only healers who have the sole motive of saving more lives and making the world a better place to live in. It has been mentioned that the Jhakris lived in grottos near human dwellings. One possible explanation could be that they invested their time and energy on analyzing the human population and nature and studying the humans, discreetly. On the basis of the case studies the Jhakris did, it could also be possible that their power of segregation and assessment helped them in selecting the best of people. The scars in the human body should resemble the various blameworthy acts and deeds a human being commits in their lifetime. The fact that the Jhakris select only the ones who are pure in body and soul are chosen for the training probably implies that these people empathize, are illuminant creatures and are amiable beings. The fact that they are trained to heal, proves that they are better humans than the major sect. It should also mean that the Jhakris, though referred to as ban manchey, are creatures that could live in agreement and peace with the Homo sapiens.

It is oft interred that knowledge never dies at the hands of communication and maybe, that is one reason we still hear of stories about the Jhakri teachers if not the Banjhakri junglees.

For the storytellers, the Banjhakri teachers- who are believed to be the abducted children- and the Banjhakri junglee- the ones described in the story- share similarities in body and mind, so much so, they are easily interchanged. While some announce that the Banjhakris are humans, some like to believe that they are creatures that resemble a human but aren’t truly one.

The backward pointing feet is a physical attribute of both the Banjhakri and the Lyamlyamey. They are both bare. The former is a little, male vegetarian who is a teacher and is associated with healing and protection. The latter, humongous and malignant and are associated with illness and danger.

They are contrasting and yet collide.
They communicate and thrive in the presence of each other. They are opposites and possess the light and the dark.

They reflect the paradox of the world and appear as the two sides of the same coin.
In a world full of confusion and ambiguity, the Banjhakris and the Banjhakrinis stand as a parallel analogy of the engagement of the good and the bad in the same space.

Just like Yin and Yang, the Banjhakri and the Lyamlyamey exemplify the state of the world since times immemorial.

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GLOSSARY
⦁ Banjhakri- shamanic deity in the Tamang tradition
⦁ Nani- Child
⦁ Anta- translates to “And then…”
⦁ Dhyangro- A percussion instrument made out of goat skin
⦁ Gajo- wooden stick used for beating the dhyangro
⦁ Chhora- Son (often used by parents and grandparents referring to the male child of the house)
⦁ Bhoot- a ghost or an apparition
⦁ Bhaloo- bear
⦁ Bajey- Grandfather
⦁ Lyamlyamey- A mystical creature believed to be like a yeti with backward pointing feet and long breasts
⦁ Shamanism- the practice which involves the practitioner embracing a belief in the power of the spirits for attainment of higher conscience and enlightenment.
⦁ Pwakh- bird feathers
⦁ Aakhey- Grandfather
⦁ Hajur- Literally, “Yes”
⦁ Ajhai chha- phrase, “There’s more.”
⦁ Bhannu hos na- “Please say some more.”
⦁ Shiva- one of the greatest deities in Hinduism
⦁ Horah? – “Is it?”
⦁ Hola- “Maybe”
⦁ Muphalas- Frog-like creatures found on hills
⦁ Ban manchey- wild men
⦁ Junglees- wild men.

Types of Guitarists and which one are you?

 

Do you know many guitarists?

I’m a guitarist myself and chances are you know many who say they play the guitar, but do they really?

Guitar may be one of the most overused instruments in the present day music. It is especially popular among the young population so much that you cannot go into any class of any college or high school where there isn’t a single guitarist. One of the main reasons why this is the case is because of the versatile nature of the guitar, it isn’t restricted in its usage as compared to other instruments like banjo, violin etc. It can be used and played across most genres and it is also affordable, especially the acoustic guitars. It is also mostly light and we can take it to many places without much difficulty unlike the piano or drums, probably why people prefer and work with guitarists. When forming a band or a musical arrangement, one has virtually no difficulty in finding a guitarist, but they go through some trouble trying to find a drummer or pianist or a violinist etc.

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People who play guitar are considered to be ‘cool’ and so we hear many people wanting to learn to play the guitar. I get this request a lot myself.

But here’s a question, what kind of guitarist are you?

There are many different types of guitarists one can come across, it will be a mistake to assume that any two guitarists are necessarily the same, they’re not! From my observation and personal experience I will list down the following types of guitarist; this classification is broad one and hence based on purely genre types.

  1. Have you met ‘Chordy’?

I will classify this group into two sub-types:-

  1. One will be the type who know only three chords, most probably the A major, E minor and D major and say that they play guitar. In truth they have difficulty in shifting and changing the chords without taking 5 seconds and making squeaky noise, they do not know how to play the barre chords. These are the people who buy a guitar (and abuse them) by not taking care of them and never playing the guitar again.

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  2. The Second one is a more advanced version of the first type who knows chords from A to G and a few minor versions of it and will always play the same progression for every song. Every overrated and popular song, just so they can appeal the mass and look ‘cool’. It is a reality.
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They usually play the acoustic guitar. These so-called guitarists are able to qualify for this classification only because of this wide misconception which has to be addressed.

  1. The ‘Trained One’!

This group of guitarists are trained, mostly in Western Classical style and hence, very disciplined. This is the group which knows how to read sheet music and proper notation. They know the theory of music and know proper scales and arpeggios in the guitar. You won’t find them showing off as most people don’t even understand this style. It might be difficult for them to easily jam with the mainstream guitarists and musicians. However, they are highly skilled in different guitar techniques and hence very knowledgeable about guitar. They play the Classical-acoustic guitar which has nylon strings.

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  • Music School Geek-tarist.

This is a sub-type under The Trained one. These guitarists are ‘geek’ when it comes to learning scales and theory and usually do not have variation or improvisation in their techniques. This is not only the classical guitarists but also blues or rock guitarists, but all in all since they only ‘practice-hard’ in order to mug things up and never try to create something interesting. They are hence ‘Geek-tarist’.

  1. The Self Taught…

Self-taught guitarists are the ones who learn the guitar without a physical/personal mentor guiding them. However, they do learn from somewhere and it isn’t from inside them, to pass as a guitarist one needs to know the basics and this group of people tend to learn this by themselves through the internet tutorials and mentors. This group is one that is very enthusiastic about music and they are very patient and have a lot of perseverance. This group of guitarists may not necessarily know the way scales and key, time signature, tempo work, but they nevertheless are able to jam based on instinct than knowledge.

  1. Genre-Specific:

There are few guitarists who are very inclined to a single genre and hence are not seen playing anything outside of their genres mostly because they dislike it and often criticise it. The following are the two major genre-specific guitarists:

  1. The blue-boy/girl: This group of guitarists are soulful and are concerned more about the feels than showing off to people. They consider the jazz and blues to be real music and usually dislike pop music. They are seen playing chords that are and in unconventional progressions and sound a certain way because of the blues scale that they play in.

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  2. The Metal-Head:
    They are an interesting group of people. They may not be playing in the camp fires or school choir groups and hence may be a little less acknowledged, but once they get a stage, with their electric guitar kit, they blow you off your mind with their powerful riffs and solos. People may not listen to Metal music in general but it is known, metal-guitarists are respected and they carry pride themselves. These riffs and solos can be pretty simple but the distortion and the sound effects make them sound amazing.

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  1. We’re interested in ‘Showmanship’!!!!

This is the show-off guitarist and this stigma is mostly associated with and always stereotyped with the lead guitarists. It is also true up to some extent. The lead guitarist is usually the most important part of rock/pop band. They play the main melody or direct the band’s overall ‘sound’. They need to be able to improvise and have knowledge about scales and progressions in order to do so and hence are generally overrated.

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However, lead guitarists are not the only ones who show-off, a bassist who plays the low-end base accompaniment which works mostly with the drum and helps in the basic tempo and rhythm of the band can also be a show-off.

A rhythm guitarist who plays most parts of the song with catchy riffs and basic sound can also be a show-off.

In short any decently good can be a show-off.

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 Disclaimer: This classification is based on personal observation (and study) as well as generalisations and is not meant to offend any person, living or dead.

 

However in this dialectical world nothing is fixed and frozen hence one can come across someone who is an amalgam of two or more of the above categories.  Thank You!

The End!

 

 

 

 

 

Gangtok For Hope

Imagine you’re cycling down the whimsical terrains of Rohini, a place that marks the junction of Kurseong and Siliguri and offers an impeccable panorama of the crests and troughs of nearby hills and valleys. You are standing on the street corner waiting for an elderly gentleman to cross the road. Among several other aged residents of this place, this particular gentleman might seem a little irregular. He takes bitty steps, and has this heart-warming smile set on his wrinkled face. While the entirety of the population is traumatized by the agitation, he seems to be completely at variance with the recent happenings. He is deprived of family affection and a place to call home but none of this takes a toll on his firm smile, because every morning he wakes up with his mind like a clean slate. He has Alzheimer’s. ‘Alzheimer’s’ as described by Wikipedia is ‘-a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and worsens over time. It is the cause of 60% to 70% of cases of dementia(where one’s memory gradually fades away permanently). Although the speed of progression can vary, the average life expectancy following diagnosis is three to nine years. He resides in an old-age home with eleven other elderly individuals, out of which, at least half of them are impaired with sickness of one or the other kind.

HOPE home is an old-age home situated in Rohini, a rural area near Kurseong. Mrs. Usha K. Rai, is the president of the committee that runs the old-age home. She is a social worker in Kurseong and believes in helping the community in every way possible. Hope was registered in 2012 and opened in 2016 to help the senior citizens who were abandoned by their families and neglected care and medication. Hope is solely run by the members of the committee and is not aided by the government but occasionally helped by social organisations. Due to the recent strike, there has been inadequate ration supply in various parts of the hills, and Hope amongst many other such circumstances, has been greatly affected. Many of the residents in the old-age home require medication and proper care, and the recent mishaps have abruptly affected their lives.

The brisk team of Redendron set to aid the living state of the suffering old people have organised a fundraising gig, an evening filled with music for the soul but truly aimed to help these people who need our support in the ambient space of Anum Pedro. An humanitarian act of which we should all be a part of. The event is to take place in Anum Pedro, this Sunday on 23rd July from 4:00 pm onwards. A musical session with the upcoming young artists and interactive sessions with the audience. One of the rising young musicians is Abhibyanjana, who will release her upcoming single, Groovy Girl during the event. The sole purpose of the event is to create funds to send rations to provide a helping hand to the struggling residents of Hope home, and to create a positive psychological impact on the audience and to send a lot of this intangible constituent called hope. Which, we believe will be instilled on everyone who appear during the event that the world needs love and serenity. Join us for this cause. Please be there.
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#gangtok #redendron #hope #change #sikkim #northeast #chaos

The Gangtokian Hallyu : Why K-pop is so popular in Sikkim

 

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Source : Internet

How many of us reading this right now have posed with the 사랑 ‘Sarang -love’ (the finger heart)?

How many of us have at least seen it in selfies and pictures across Instagram? I’m betting you have.

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The Hallyu wave or the Korean wave has spread through the world like wildfire. People all over the world have been fangirling and being affected by this wave of Korean idol worship .  b0175ca0-3ecd-41b4-ab9c-cb84d416d1e6

Perhaps the epitome of realization of this popularity was the 2017 Billboards Music Awards, where BTS a.k.a Bangtan Boys , a young K-pop boy band formed in the year 2013  under Big Hit Entertainment took over the world by storm when they won the Top Social Artist Award against popular artists like Justin Bieber,Selena Gomez,etc. Twitter and the American media went haywire with curiosity about this group that bagged an award in such a huge platform with their heavy fandom popularly  known as the Army .

 

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The BTS fandom a.k.a Army

People in Gangtok are not isolated from this wave either and are in fact quite receptive of it. Gangtok is a small town in the tiny state of Sikkim in India which is landlocked between three different countries. When one travels to Sikkim they can immediately note how distinct the state is from the rest of India that is known by the world. The capital city Gangtok is a hub of neon and yellow lights that illuminate the hills crowned by the clouds. The people here are known for their warm nature, hospitality and also their sense of style. Even when in a different state one can tell if you’re from Gangtok based on your dressing sense. That’s how one Gangtokian identified me. (#truestory)

The question is where does Gangtok adapt this style from? The approach is certainly different from that of the mainland . It is here that we start seeing the subtle signs of influence of the Korean culture and K-pop that thrives in the export of its culture and style to mainly other Asian countries. Gangtok is no exception; vivid examples of such can be seen among the teenagers and the young adults in this state especially the capital. Of course the American (Western) culture is still very influential in the cultural domination across the world and Gangtok; yet we see that the Korean wave is also catching up and is gaining momentum at a good pace.

Stores in Gangtok are flooded with Korean style/inspired merchandise, like Korean handbags etc, and they sell better.

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Korean merchandise and products in a local store in Gangtok

Across social media we see people posting pictures of their idols.
(They are called so, as most Korean stars are all rounders as they have dedicated almost all of their childhood into rigorous training , kept away from their families and neighbourhood under contractual basis, they purely dedicate themselves to art . As an appreciation to all their hard work their fans fondly regard them as idols ).

Many K-pop stars bloom to become aspiring actors too. A K-drama watched by virtually all Gangtokians be it young or adults , will have to be Boys Over Flowers. Initially , there were only a few people who were interested in  K-pop and this drama was perhaps the first step for most of the youngsters into the world of K-pop. Since then, there has been a massive increase in the number of people who follow Korean dramas, it only appeared as a tiny infatuation at first but now , we don’t even have to go across social media all around the world, even in our very own classrooms we have fan girls and boys who have been engrossed by this Hallyu wave. Across Instagram and IRL the street style is heavily K-pop influenced. Even the daily make-up of most youngsters these days are Korean based which is light and not too bold like the Indian or the American make-up. Even if they don’t understand the language, they can be seen watching subtitled Korean dramas and translating Korean songs to English and singing it in Korean language itself! We can even see biographies of some Gangtokians and Sikkimese people on Instagram written in Korean script.

FYI!  South Korea is 5014 km away from Sikkim, India and many of us and our friends dream of visiting South Korea one day.3cec2ebb-b291-4881-8caf-5b66e51b705d.jpg

Even with this distance, the media has been so effective in reaching this part of the world, that we can hear the k-pop fans use Korean words and slangs like “Chincha” (-Really) or “jashiki” (-jerk). One of the interviewees even said that these slangs don’t sound as bad as the English ones or even the local lingua franca Nepali ones.  Much like the case with J-pop fans and Otakus (fans of anime), which is higher in the Northeastern region of India compared to other parts of India.

 

In an interview conducted by me and my friend, we got responses that in fact confirmed our pre-bias on why the Hallyu wave is so influential in Gangtok. People in Sikkim like in other Northeastern states, have little representation in the mainstream media and films. The last time we had such a big representation was probably Danny Denzongpa in Bollywood and Bhaichung Bhutia, former captain of the National Football team. When the hilly people go out into different parts of India to study etc, they are discriminated based on how they look. However, it’s not only because of looks but also style and the difference in our culture. The discrimination isn’t always violent or obvious, most of the times it is only a prejudice that turns into a stereotype. This subtle alienation paves way for the need to find something or someone to represent us.

According to people we interviewed, they like Korean dramas and idols as they are hard working and are all rounders and also because they seem familiar due to their facial (i.e. mongoloid) features. Some people also feel that the K-dramas are more relatable than the Indian TV Soaps even if it has the cliché of the rich guy-poor girl plot.

When asked if Bollywood was more relatable to one of the K-pop fans this was her response.
“It is a big NO. I don’t think Bollywood is any relatable than k-dramas , the only k-drama cliché is that either the boy or the girl will be extremely rich and the other gender will be pathetically poor, and this thing too has been improved lately . The new dramas that are coming up are more realistic and fun too (excluding the fairy tale dramas). I don’t understand the need to put an item song in the movies. It does not make any sense to me.”

In 2016, a Korean boy band came to Sikkim to judge a show and it was an event that remained in the memories of many K-pop fans. Even if the boys were not BTS and relatively unfamiliar, they were still showered with love and support from the people who not only idolize the K-pop stars but also have come to admire and want to become more like the Korean people in general. While this is a strategic move by the Korean government in order to promote its tourism and cosmetic surgery business, it is well received by people.

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Sikkimese group in 2017 K-pop regional contest, Assam

Should we be worried about the rise in the Hallyu wave in Sikkim? In plain sight, there’s really no problem at all, it gives the people a sense of belonging and an Asian representation that is different from the stereotypical Indian Asian representation. Maybe the reason why the Hallyu wave of South Korea is so popular in Gangtok and other Northeastern states in because of the lack of the representation of their people in these parts. Of course, this is not to say that the mainland Indians aren’t fans of K-pop. There are in fact many, but the case with Northeast and Gangtok is also deeply rooted in the need for representation. If the Indian entertainment media saw more people from this part of the country participating we are always supportive. Perhaps Prashant Tamang is a quintessential example of this argument, when he went to Indian Idol, the whole of Darjeeling and Sikkim voted for him and he became the Indian Idol. Maybe that’s it, we need more Indian Idols (pun intended) from this part of the country too. There’s a whole treasure of untapped talent in this part of the country which needs to be witnessed by the nation.

However there are smaller unnoticed problems that may arise from the craze in this wave. The need to look more and more stylish; while looking stylish is indeed a good thing, for the overall street style in Gangtok, this also creates a certain vanity of always wanting to look good and sometimes ignoring other important things like the beauty of simplicity. The other problem that seems to be hindering around the corner is the glorification of a ‘certain type’ i.e., the mongoloid features, fair skin, an oval face (for girls), slim body and so on.

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Source : Internet

We must remember that in Sikkim,we have different ethnicities living in harmony with each other, this also means that we have different facial features and not all of us are similar in our bodily and facial features and we must be willing to not let that part of the Hallyu wave get to us.

We all love this wave of exciting idols who can do pretty much everything and anything  in the entertainment industry, make us dance to their never-ending  digital beats  and again  make us cry with their emotional dramas. So maybe we can keep this wave healthy and still stay rooted in our own culture without diverging away too much.
Hope you enjoyed this article, now daum-eh bwa. 😀

 

What Drives The Start-up Machine- Rewaj Chettri

What drives the Start-up Machine

For our first blog post, we’ve had the opportunity to interview one of the rising entrepreneurs of Sikkim. The CEO at Sikkim Ventures, sikkim.info and NE Taxi-a revolutionary app that offers brilliant taxi service to all of North East, Mr. Rewaj Chettri. NE Taxi is the most well-known because only experienced, fully licensed drivers are hired for convenient transportation that fully fits people’s needs.  NE Taxi believes in reducing human trafficking in and around North East. He’s the founder of more than 30 start-ups in Sikkim and North East.

He also founded the CISUM app, a native music app which focuses solely on reaching out to the masses and helping young and creative musicians connect with each other. It also provides a platform for indigenous artists who want their music to get featured and gain recognition.

When asked a few questions associated with his career, we found that his disciplined lifestyle and work ethics were the keys to his road to success. Take a look at how dorm-room ideas went into becoming some of the prevalent start-ups in Sikkim. Rewaj Chettri is surely a phenomenal example of how diligence and hard work can pave your way to success.

 

  1. What are your chief sources of inspiration?

It is Steve Jobs who inspired me to be an entrepreneur.  He was a world treasure. The most inspiring thing about his legacy is he inspired millions through his work ethic. He still inspires millions. His legacy serves as a reminder to me every day that regardless of the path that one chooses, there are certain fundamental responsibilities that should be of utmost importance. He taught me to always pause, reflect and celebrate small successes even when you are having a pathetic day.

 

  1. What does your daily routine look like?

I start my day at 05:00 in the morning. Sometimes I don’t even sleep because it gets so hectic. But I love what I do and I am happy to contribute to the society in the best way that I can. You know sometimes we have these images in our minds like ‘I imagine my business to do something like this’ and when it happens for real it is that rush of joy that I do what I do. Seeing people reciprocate the appreciation is just amazing. Other than my daily routine I like to meet new people, especially the ones who challenge me to do something better. Getting together with like-minded businessmen (women also) and talking about in what better ways we can improve ourselves is the one thing that I am always up for.

 

  1. What advice do you want to give to the readers of this article?

There are no shortcuts to success. Once you get that then the rest will fall into pieces. And there is no such thing as luck. I always say the word ‘luck’ should not be in anyone’s repertoire because once someone relates your success to luck then all your hard work and sleepless nights’ ends in the dustbin. My basketball coach used to tell us “Don’t wait for the ball, go for the ball”. This proverb works for me even now. Start small but quick, you will learn to grow it with time. Grab the opportunity and make use of it. Don’t wait for your situation to change. You are the sculptor of your own future. Be the in-charge of your future because at the end of the day you have to look in the mirror and be happy about yourself.

 

  1. Tell us about the obstacles and setbacks you faced in the initial phases of your career.

Every failure and bad investments that I made taught me to be a better person. Of course, there will be pitfalls and failures but that is life isn’t it? It will knock you down but once you get up you will be stronger than ever. I will not say that it is an easy road because whoever tells that is lying. It is a very harsh world out here. There will be people along the way who will try to drag you down and situations that will make you feel like a big loser but to get up and face all those bad situations with a smile and full determination will make you what you seek to be. That is how you grow.

  1. What would your personal life-hack be?

I have five rules:

  1. Simple living and out of the box thinking. Let’s face it, there is a huge difference between high thinking and out of the box thinking. There are millions of people out there who want to do the same thing as you but if you do something unique and inspiring then people will notice you and value your work.
  2. Start small and quick. Every great journey begins with a single step but if you want to make it to the destination quick then you need to work quickly. Work hard and have fun along the way.
  3. Work with a purpose. It could be to lead a successful life or to make your dreams come true. Either way, if the work that you are doing will add values to someone’s life then go for it. Give them something to be proud of.
  4. Give time to yourself. Because it is you that you have to face before going to bed. Be happy and take care of yourself. Work hard but not that hard that you break yourself beyond help. Be passionate but not obsessive.
  5. Take a break. After a hard day of work take a beat and reflect and then act. It is the best way to make yourself better.

 

 

The youth of this age has all the capability in them to change the ways of the world and build a new overall structure of Sikkim which would be very evident of all the advances that the North East is going through. Like Mr. Rewaj Chettri, we need more Individuals and alliances to come up and get running towards making Sikkim a factory of creative and productive people. Creative ideas sustained with a strong desire and persistence along the merry yet difficult road to success are very much able to turn themselves into their material equivalents. It’s all up to this rising and still fresh generation of astounding minds to come together in making this world a better place. Mr. Rewaj Chettri’s message will surely invoke a feeling of mastery and excellence in the minds of all of the current generation.

 #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #startup #business #sikkim #gangtok