KATHMANDU, April 24: The Moksh garden was buzzing with teenage conversations and eager anticipation, on meeting new people, on finding the right person, on breaking free of their virtual chains.
Thirty teenagers, 15 boys and 15 girls, attended the Teenz Connect event held at Moksh in Jawlakhel last Sunday.
Teenz Connect, with speed-dating, hoped to break the virtual spell that teenagers these days are under and bring them under one roof in an attempt to spark magic that only comes with real-life interaction.
Teenz Connect, organized by Teenz Magazine, was a type of speed dating molded specifically for teenagers and their budding needs to interact with new people.
A formal type of a dating system, speed dating is designed for people to date many people at the same time and find one relationship that clicks.
Teenz Connect followed the same rules and even had two teenage celebrity guests for these young people to connect to. Sailesh Rana, 22, national swimmer, and 18-year-old Asmee Shrestha, a professional model, were the two celebrities to attend the event.
People seemed a little skeptical about the event, partly because of the fear of introducing oneself to someone new and partly because most of them hadn’t speed-dated before.
After a brief waiting period outside, the participants were guided into the main hall for a brief talk on the official rules on how each conversation lasts only five minutes and how each person had to rate the people they dated.
“I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was really amazing talking to all these different girls,” said Sailesh, adding, “I just wish I had more time to talk, five minutes is a short time to establish a proper conversation. And also the theme of the event which was to connect to other people, got sort of drowned in the speed-dating. But I loved it and would attend Teenz Connect again.”
A mishmash of unfinished conversations, participants hopped from one table to the other. Some people had no trouble talking to each other while others had to fish out conversation topics laid out in front of them.
Many high school students as well as graduates seem to have attended the event but an educational consultant as well as a recent SLC graduate had also attended the event.
“The basic idea behind an event like this is to get these young people glued on to their screens to come out of their virtual existence and experience real-life and real interaction,” said Ujeena Rana, 28, Associate Editor of Teenz Magazine.
“I think Teenz Connect did meet our expectations but this is just an experiment, a test drive. There’s always room for improvement,” she added.
After a thoroughly exasperating experience of interacting with 15 different people, the participants felt relieved because it was over and also happy because of an interesting real-world interaction with people.
We tend to live very busy lives where the basic human need of interaction often tends to go unfulfilled, planning out an evening with friends becomes a chore once your start working, meeting new people even more difficult.
The event ended with a tally of all the rate sheets and 19 year-old Nischhal Pradhan and Numa Kangdangwa were pronounced as Mister and Misses Teenz Connect.
A special award was also awarded to the couple with best chemistry, Liza Maharjan and Niraj Bhandari.
“I think everything worked out better than we had hoped for,” said Atulya Acharya, 24, Promotions and PR executive at ECS Media.
“The purpose here was not in forcing them to befriend these people in five minutes, it’s what comes after that interaction that matters. We’re just here to initiate. Phone calls, Facebook requests or even serious relationships after the event are what we aim for. This is just supposed to be a fun-filled informal way of meeting new people, and I think we’ve done that to some extent,” he informed.
As the event came to an end, many people could be seen waving goodbye to their new friends, collecting Facebook usernames or even exchanging numbers.
In the past decade or so, the world has learned to move a lot faster, and meeting people has become increasingly more difficult, especially for education-driven youngsters.
The participants seemed to have an interesting time at Teenz Connect and this fleeting interaction is what seems to keeps us humane in this increasingly inhumane world.