Ask someone how the Glocal International Teen Conference (GITC) 2018 went; pretty much 9 out of every 10 will tell you, it was great! They will tell you about how the good looking boys and girls on the stage in suits had helped change the nation; they will share you about how the awesome volunteers with orange ties were so friendly and how the people age of their own elder brother and sister had worked hard to make the conference happen. Respect and gratitude to all of them, but there is a different story I have to share today.
A story that contains the same speakers in sweatshirts, same people putting all their achievements and titles behind singing together trap rap, sharing ghost stories in the middle of the night and making memories and learning things at the same time.
I had this swag vibe build in when I stepped in Soaltee Crowne Plaza, Kathmandu for GTIC 2018, I thought I would be the hot topic in cause I was the Glocal Teen hero (GTH) 2017. That quickly faded away due to huge security I had to get into due to BIMSTEC summit going on. By the time I got in, there were already dozens of other delegates who had arrived. My first impression was not as I expected it to be.
I put in the first gold coin of memories in my treasure box during the Cultural night. I could not restrain myself from eating after seeing food from all over the world in Pot lock session. Jamaican sugarcane to Bangladeshi pastries, Vietnamese sweets to our very own Nepali titaura, everything was so nice. Then start the cultural performances. I was the first one to perform. I know it was not that good but I could see myself commanding the stage like Freddie and playing guitar like Slash, not when they were at their primes, but when they first touched microphone and strummed the first chord. It ended up with a group dance. All of a sudden these teenagers who were in different part of the world a day earlier were right now together dancing in circles enjoying, laughing and singing. No one cared which language the song was, delegate from every country was coming up to show their steps. First lesson learned you don’t always have to have encyclopedia level of knowledge about a time to enjoy it.
The second gold coin in treasure box came in the second night when we were done with the conference. By this time all of us had a bond built in. It felt as if we have known each other for years. There was this time when we were all together playing a game called “Mafia” and there was a speaker in background playing songs, and with each song that passed, we tried to change it to show each other how awesome our own pick was. I went with OMI’s Cheerleader and trust me every one was smiling. As the game went on and the songs kept on flowing and then everyone was laughing, shouting and debating. These were the same teenagers who had put their life into changing world, who had already given so much to the world yet promised so much more. Second lesson learnt Teenagers who have been doing things also have a life to enjoy. If you see a social right activist going to a club sometimes, it’s totally fine. If you find someone who collects donation for others, sometimes getting into a fancy restaurant, be okay with it. A teenage entrepreneur has all the rights in the world to take few days off and sleep all day and watch animes. People should enjoy their life and be happy about it and try their best to bring smiles to others.
Following the trend, I was expecting another gold coin but this time I did not get one. It was not just a coin; it was an entire treasure chest. 4 in the morning and 5 or 6 of us were there by the hotel pool and it was raining very light. Light enough not to get us wet but good enough to touch our soul. All of us were sharing each other about difficulties in starting a startup in our respective countries. We were trying to find in a common ground where we all could work together. We identified that the biggest problem that a startup that wants to grow from South Asia faces is the lack of proper banking system and problem with international payment. We looked into various startups that modified from what they started off with and now are one of the biggest names on the field. This was one of the most intellectual discussions I have ever had in months. We were out at side of pool with flip flops and t-shirts on; mine was even cropped and sleeveless. Third lesson learnt unexpected times can give you unexpected results, it is not always necessary to have formalities to talk collaboration.
Now, I think about the very first high-five I gave, the very last moment when the host was dropping fellow delegate off at the airport and only thing in my mind was Eric Clapton’s smoothing “Tears in Heaven”. Every single moment that had in between these two moments was a book, that had no contents page, thus, was unpredictable but I can proudly say I enjoyed every bit of it.
Nametags, Delicious food and few people with formal dress on the stage talking and rest of them sitting down clapping; now take everything above out of equation and ask a question, “Do we still have a conference?” Can’t say it for others, but for me given everything taken out of equation GTHIC 2018 was still there, with a lot of things to learn from.
- #coffeewriter #mnsh