Modern Sikkim

WHO: Sonam Tashi Gyaltsen, Dipika Kohli, Guests
WHERE: B. R. E. W., Gangtok
WHEN: October 2013
WHAT: A conversation salon series
WHY: I love to gather people for remarkable connections, which means mixing things up quite a bit. You get out of your usual box, you run into someone you don’t really know and you have a conversation about you don’t know what. But when you can collaborate with others, it’s even better. This was a chance to play.

SHOWING UP IN THE MIDST of monsoon season was a bit of an accident. Then again, in the style of bricolage and improvisation and living your life in a way that invites you to make do with what you have, there are no accidents. Only happenings. Not having one plan work was just such a happening. Sitting in a hotel room wondering what to do next, there were two options, it seemed. Go home. Or wait for the thing to materialize that seemed possible enough, before.

Then there was a third option: jump the fork.

‘The choice is always yours,’ came the advice of a traveler I would meet two years later, in Copenhagen. He was an ex-tech guy, on his way around the world to reclaim some of the life he felt he had lost. Not doing the trip all those years had eaten away at some part of him. We reflected together on this. I told him about India, about how I wanted to do a thing there, how it didn’t work out, but how we did other things, with new people, whose paths we never would have crossed. It was remarkable to find this instance of openness, space and connection. Gathering people in small circles around the city of Gangtok to talk about modernity and change was, in so many ways, a lot more interesting. The choice is always yours. You can always jump the fork.

What if we could get people talking, together? In Gangtok. With others whose paths they might not have already crossed?

Or even if they had, if they could talk in a real way, about things that mattered.

Freely. Honestly. In the open.

Could we do it? Yes. Thanks to the good people at Gangtok’s B. R. E. W. and Echostream Design Consultancy. A series, Modern Sikkim: What does it mean to be Sikkimese?