Forum for free thought- Adda sessions under hill sky


Kalimpong, Jan. 10: If you are inclined towards art and letters, basibiyalo is for you.

Though over 50 episodes old and held every second Saturday of the month, the unique (at least in the hills) adda session has become a much more lively affair now.

Roughly translated, basibiyalo in Nepali means whiling away time with idle talks. Organised by a group of old and young writers of the town, it is a platform to air views on anything and everything.

“It is actually a forum without quorum and everyone is welcome to attend it,” said Hira Chettri, who along with writers like Harka Bahadur Chettri and Shamsher Ali were instrumental in reviving the session that was started by C.K. Shreshta, a well-known theatre personality of the hills.

In fact, Shreshta had started basibiyalo with few like-minded friends in Gangtok back in the early nineties. After about 42 episodes, the adda sessions there stopped. It was launched here in 1994-95, but was discontinued for some reason after 38 editions before it was revived again in November 2005.

“We held our 50th session in November last year. To mark the occasion, we brought out a literary magazine,” said Chettri. He explained that the adda session is not just about original literary works. People are free to share and discuss articles and poetry that they recently read and liked. “Participants can criticise, object, or simply walk out if they don’t agree with the flow of a particular discussion,” said Chettri.

It is the informal nature of the sessions that perhaps, makes basibiyalo so popular among youngsters with a literary bend of mind.

Umesh Tamang, a young reporter with a Nepali daily and a regular at the adda since its revival, agreed. “It is a wonderful experience to witness two different generations interacting without any rancour. This bridging of the generation divide is to me the most positive side of the basibiyalo,” he said.

Another big plus point of the monthly gathering is the absence of language barrier. Though a major part of the discussions is conducted in Nepali, participants are free to recite poems, sing songs, read articles in any language of their choice.

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