Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Political turmoil and the Darjeeling Carnival 2007

Most of the volunteers for the Darjeeling Carnival are confused and worried on whether we can organise the Darjeeling Carnival 2007 or not. Cant blame them for their thoughts because the political situation in Darjeeling is volatile and confusing. The GNLF has been split into two and people dont know which sides to take.

We all feel that the show must go on as the Darjeeling Carnival is an apolitical outfit and we do not have any colours. We are here for the good of Darjeeling and we will carry on doing the good work. Cant say what the situation will be like in December but we still give it our best shot and move towards Darjeeling Carnival 2007.

Planning on meeting this weekend. Will inform everyone about the time and place for the meeting. Interested? Call me at 9434209887...samir

Darjeeling Carnival_a bigger family

Dear All,
Here's an email sent to the Darjeeling Carnival team by one of our founding members Karma who is presently based in Delhi. Although we drift apart as the years go by we still feel for Darjeeling and all the Carnival gang. We still miss Karma and her energy. Hope she comes back to work for Darjeeling some day soon...

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.

...............................surely this is what i feel shasheesh is about...a friend we want to remember forever .love to his family and to all his dear friends..."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Darjeeling Carnival 2007

There has been much debate (as always) on whether we should organise the Darjeeling Carnival 2007 this year. Polpular consensus till now??? YES, YES, YES....

So, we have decided to meet on the 29th of Sept at the Darjeeling Carnival office as it also marks the 1st death annivesary of our dear friend Shasheesh. God, its already been a year since he left us... The group is yet to get over his loss, we still feel he is going to barge into our rooms with yet another grand idea of how to make Darjeeling better and more beautiful.

Anyone who's interested in joining this year's Darjeeling Carnival may please land up at the Carnival office (Ajit Mansions) at 2pm on the 29th. And as I said earlier, there's no fame, no glamour, just hardwork, a lot excitement and ofcourse that great feeling of having achieved something good at the end of the Carnival. You wont regret it!

Come join us.... at
22 Ajit MansionsChowrasta
Darjeeling - 734101
ph: (Samir) 9434209887 / (Ajoy) 9434006782

For more Carnival gossips and rumours call me at 9434209887 and ye shall know the truth.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Darjeeling Carnival condemns the article of The Telegraph

The Darjeeling Initiative and the organizing committee of the Darjeeling Carnival 2006 strongly condemns the article "Fest against Ghising Politics " which appeared in The Telegraph dated 15 December 2006 and would like to state the following facts:

1. The Darjeeling Carnival is a cultural event and is organized by the citizens of Darjeeling to showcase the vibrant culture of the entire Darjeeling Hills to the whole world and also bring prosperity, harmony and unity in the entire Hills and is totally apolitical, devoid of any political leanings.

2. The organizers did not give any press statement to the concerned correspondent. Rather, the correspondent seems to have come along with another correspondent of a leading national magazine and the organizers were never introduced to this correspondent from The Telegraph. The organizers categorically spoke only to the correspondent of the national magazine and had no idea that a correspondent from The Telegraph was also present. Since no clarification was sought by the correspondent of The Telegraph, what has been printed in the impuned article is totally out of context and even the quotes attributed to Samir Sharma and Ajoy Edwards have been concocted by the correspondent.

3. We would like to state that members of the Darjeeling Initiative have never said that "the fest is a movement against Subash Ghising and his brand of politics". Infact, we respect the Administrator of DGHC Sri Subash Ghising and are grateful for all the work he is doing for the Darjeeling Hills. The Darjeeling Initiative is an apolitical body consisting of local youths and college students who are all volunteering their precious time to make Darjeeling a better place through positive initiatives like the Darjeeling Carnival. We do not dabble in politics and politics has never been our agenda.

4. The statement "the Carnival organizers also said they will not support the Sixth Schedule status…" is also wrong and was never stated by any organizers and the statement also defies logic as the Darjeeling Initiative consists mostly of college students and youngsters who hardly understand constitutional provisions like the Sixth Schedule status.

5. The Darjeeling Carnival is not a platform for politics but for bringing peace, prosperity and harmony to the entire Darjeeling Hills. The Carnival is not a platform to discuss Gorkhaland or Sixth Schedule Status or any other political matter of any sort. The Darjeeling Carnival is also not a platform to condemn the Govt. whether the State, Central or Local. Infact, the Darjeeling Carnival is a move towards working in harmony with all the Govt. departments and has always been supported by all Govt. agencies, local organisations and the citizens. The partners of the Darjeeling Carnival include the Darjeeling Police, Darjeeling Municipality and the district administration. Even DGHC tourism has actively supported by means of sponsorship and in the given light, the entire story is but a complete fabrication from the ground realities.
6. Due to this article, the peaceful Darjeeling Carnival has been mired in controversy with its partners and local citizens of the entire Darjeeling Hills. There has been a lot of misunderstanding between the different participating organisations involved in the Carnival, due to this damning article. The credibility of your esteemed news paper has also come under the scanner and there has been spontaneous reaction to the published article by more than 20 organisations involved in the Darjeeling Carnival and it is being seen as a move in creating communal disharmony in this region.

7. Following the article, many sponsors and partners who have extended support to the Darjeeling Carnival, after understanding the aims and objectives of the fest, have immediately withdrawn support. Relationships that have taken years to build have been jeopardized by just this one damning article.

It is our sincere and urgent appeal to The Telegraph to rectify this matter as soon as possible and publish a corrigendum to this article .

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Darjeeling Carnival 2006 in Full Swing

We are all on familiar ground now with the Darjeeling Carnival in full swing. There’s a strange feeling of déjà vu every time of having been there, done that. The hick-ups and obstacles are always there, but after 3 years of organizing such a mega event the team is prepared and raring to face such challenges.

Need a car in 5 minutes? Call Ruben and its done. Orient Express needs sound check at 9am? No problem, Lipok, Gopal and Avinash are there, wiping sleepy dust (kachera) from their eyes. Security guards needs to be tightened? Rueben and the Gorkha Shield are there. The troupes arrived late or someone can’t find a room for the night? Well, Nita and Monlom are just a phone call away. Running short of volunteers? Sabina smiles, your volunteer’s there! Firefighting and motivation? Hey, we have Ajoy ready to hear you out and solve your problem.

You can also see Suraj kaku and his enthusiastic volunteers busy feeding everyone and making sure that the guests are being served hot cups of Darjeeling tea in the evening. Yangchen, in her own slow and sweet way, is making sure that the Cultural groups are on time and performing according to the schedule. Gatty and Sikher are in charge of playing the sponsor ads every evening and also controlling the stage light and doing a great job at that. Kundan is on tenter hooks trying to manage the Carnival Idol which is becoming a big hit by the day. Namgyal (Pala) and Suman can be seen on and off stage trying to get the best angle and shot with their cameras. And good old Rajeev? Well, he is everywhere, from designing flexes and posters to volunteering on stage and doing everything else that’s being left out for the last moment.

As for yours truly, well, I am gliding around, trying to be the odd job man. No department tag on my volunteer badge, so am free to butt into anything I feel. From whispering the last number to the bands, to distributing invitation cards for the exhibition, from pleasing sponsors with my sweet talks to going in search of the electricians. There is no excuse for feigning tiredness or being sick till the 17th. This is after all, Carnival time!!!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Darjeeling Carnival 2006_Updates_27 Nov 06

11 days to go for D-Day! Everyone's in a hurry to get things done and beat their deadline. Good to see the office packed with people working their ass off. The No-Smoking rule inside the office is still not being followed too seriously! I can see tired faces and droopy eyes, top it up with the late hour team meetings in empty stomachs and and you have the perfect zombies next morning!

We have managed to inspire a group of proactive youth from Kurseong and they have decided to take up the challenge of organizing The Kurseong Carnival from 13 to 14 December. Mirik is on its third edition from 8 to 11 December. Arbin, Gyanendra and the gang are doing a great job there.

The Press Conference was perfect with all our local press friends attending and reporting well. Ajoy stirred the crowd’s emotion once again with his explanation on the Darjeeling Carnival. Its great to hear him talk, revives our faith in what we are doing. You can also hear his speech and read the press release at

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Darjeeling Carnival 2006_Updates_14 Nov 06

Its good to attend the Darjeeling Carnival meetings. Feels like coming back home. The energy is high and there's so much enthusiasm within the group now. Great ideas are coming up and the program schedule is finally taking shape. People are spending more time at the Carnival office than at their workplace or at home, but then thats what happens when you are so engrossed with the Carnival!!!Kundan is still trying to juggle his time between his job and the Carnival...

Good news! Ajnish is back from London after his first international performance so the team can now gear up for the Darjeeling Carnival Idol to be choreographed by Ajnish and the Darjeeling music fraternity. Sweta, Shradda and their gang are busy preparing for the inauguration ceremony, Lipok and his cronies are gearing up for the music audition of all the local bands to be held tomorrow, Monlom and Nita are out begging hotels to sponsor rooms for visiting participants, Ranjeeta and her gang of architects are busy researching and collecting materials for the exhibition "Darjeeling - Past, Present & Future". Rajeev and Yangchen are running around trying to get the cultural communities involved, Ruben just came back after distributing the invitation letters to 22 schools. So much running around!!!

Mary is still in Calcutta going crazy with the "city of joy" and its irritating humidity. Narayan has again started his financial nagging and bringing us back to the ground. Love him for his reality checks! Ajoy is still running his brain and his imagination overtime (as always) coming up with new ideas for the Carnival. Neeraj is busy with his work on heritage awareness with support from Victoria Memorial, Caclutta.

We have finally managed to convince Alvin (Shalvin???) to stay back and work on the Press & PR dept. He was running away to Australia! The Superintendent of Police has promised his full support and participation so all the drunk rowdies can start running for cover!

Endless discussions, never ending meetings, empty stomachs, freezing feet, late nights, groggy mornings.... but hey, its worth doing it all over again just to make sure that Darjeeling regains its former glory.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Darjeeling Carnival 2006_Updates 10 Nov 06

The Darjeeling Carnival is actually here, I can feel it, smell it and see our guys falling sick! Ajoy is admitted at Planters' Hospital, Narayan is runing a high fever, Reuben has his backaches and as for me I have my perennial congestion and tonsilitis.... Yes, Carnival time is really here!!!

AIRCEL will be our official presenting sponsor for the Darjeeling Carnival 2006. Isn't that great news! The guys from Aircel were here on Monday and the deal was sealed over ham, bacon and sausages at Keventers. As for the volunteers, they can now work their ass off and then gorge on Urgen daju's "sungur ko khutta and bhaat" without worrying too much in how to foot the lunch bills! Ofocurse, Narayan will go mad but then, thats so much like Narayan...

Poor Mary, she is in Calcutta trying to woo in more sponsors and make people understand what the Carnival actually means to the Darjeeling Hills. She's done more for this place than most of the fence sitters who are born critics. We are praying that World Space and Pepsi comes in also. No replies yet from the Chaudhary Group and so many others... Pray guys pray.

The team meeting on the 7th went off extremely well with lots of new faces and new ideas. Responsibilities have been taken up eagerly by the volunteers and we have a feed back meeting on the 13th Monday. All are welcome to join.

For more information get in touch with us at
or come and meet us at: 22 Ajit Mansions, Chowrasta, Darjeeling - 734101
or call me at 9434209887 / 03542253905 (Samir)