Team KHigh was in the city of Nawabs and it was purely a late night thought when we came up with the idea to meet local fans the very next day. Our stay got extended and we just could not pass the opportunity to listen to all the wonderful stories this city’s fans had brewing. On such short notice we finalised a location, time and the meet-up was set!
I was anxious, all i could think of “is anyone going to show up?” and that’s when our first attendee arrived – a fanboy! Abhay a 19 year old is nothing but an intelligent, broad minded and culturally sound boy. His journey to being a K-Pop fan and how he handles the stereotypes thrown at him was inspiring.
“I got into K-Pop because of a friend, i think EXO is amazing their beats were too good to be ignored, anyone that is a fan of music would respect K-Pop there’s just so much talent, then i discovered more groups like GOT7, BTS and SHINEE. They are all my favorites, BlackPink too, i have only two close friends so when i would listen to K-Pop one of them was like; What are you listening to, who are these girl looking guys? Are you gay? I simply blocked him and said yes I’m gay, this music makes me happy so yeah, gay! And I am gay for Namjoon, say whatever you want to!”
“I don’t care about what others have to criticise me on, music sees no boundaries and i won’t be measured by short minded people.”
Mehvish and Simrah the sister duo aged 17 and 12 respectively, could not be more poles apart “we didn’t see eye to eye on anything, K-pop got us closer. With BTS we really bonded.” Simrah who is also a participant in the Lucknow regional of K-Pop Contest India 2019 belted out Promise by Jimin (BTS) for us. Her confidence, passion and how she learns from her idols every day to never give up on her dreams was very admirable. “People don’t look at the struggle, the hard work BTS has gone through they get drawn to them because of the looks and fashion, K-Pop is so much more than that”, the 12 year old added.
Mehvish shared that she had tough times during boards and she found strength in the music, “Jackson from GOT7 is my inspiration he was a fencer that to in the national team, his parents wanted him to continue that but because he wanted to pursue music he gave up an already established career to pursue a road that had no guarantee. It’s from him that i learnt that i can do whatever i want and no one can stop me!”
I sat there amazed… looking at the young and wise youth of Lucknow.
We then met Komal a 20 year old entrepreneur, who credits K-Pop for the success of her business, “It was during BTS Love Yourself Tour Movie, i decided to create some merch that fans could enjoy, i got a really good response and ton of orders, that’s when i decided to start my merchandise page. My aim from the beginning was the goodwill of fans, especially in a city like Lucknow where kids don’t get much allowance from parents i had to make it budget friendly! Most of my products are under 100, my brother and i do handle the business together. I do everything on my own, designing, collecting resources, manufacturing and delivering the products by myself. I drive around on my scooty for delivery *she chuckles* it’s not much monetarily but i don’t incur any loss, I get so much satisfaction and my parents are so supportive and are proud of me!”
“Every time i get messages from my customers, raving about the price or product it gives me a sense of belonging a sense of happiness i can’t even put to words, whenever things get hard i just blast BTS’ music and hop on my ride. My Idols have taught me to work hard because there’s no other fruit better!”
“I hope to grow my business and be able to provide COD (cash on delivery) all over India!”
Honestly if this doesn’t move us to hustle, what will?
Finally we met the team of K-Culture Lucknow who are the organisers of regional round that is happening for the first time ever in Uttar Pradesh! A team of four young girls lead by Pragya (21 year old, Msc. Geology student) had gone to Varanasi regarding the event work, they traveled back to Lucknow that very day after their meeting and came straight to the meet-up! Bearing a gift for us! I have never been more honored in my life. Their lit up, hopeful faces had my heart welling up and made me crazy motivational to learn from them.
“We saw other regions preparing for BTS movie, i thought to myself why can’t we have that, so i contacted the INOX manager here regarding it , he told us he didn’t get any request. That’s when we decided to form a fanpage. I remember doing a survey for an event we got only 3 people interested and many other failed responses it really brought me down. Even for regionals i didn’t want to lose hope so i submitted a proposal, i felt like someone should take the responsibility other wise how will Lucknow grow in the Hallyu community? I got a call letting me know that we had qualified for regionals and that we have to start the event preparation, i could not believe my ears i was over the moon. This was happening for the first time no city of UP had a regional round before!”
“I met my team in most unconventional places, it’s quite funny actually!” *The girls looked at each other laughing*
“I met them on Vlive, under a face book status that said annyeong! We just found each other!”
After meeting them listening to their stories i couldn’t help but think do people realise how much passion can drive them? To the outside world they are bunch of teens screaming for their bands, but take a look closer and you will find smart, wise and thriving youth that is making waves for what they believe in!
Starting from Lucknow, Team KHigh will embark on a journey to find more stories in the Hallyu community from which we can learn and be motivated – presenting “K-ahaniya“.