Piyush Mandal, Panvel, Maharashtra
People who love the culture, music, dramas, cuisine, beauty, etc. of South Korea, have dreams to attend events related to Korean culture. When I was new to the K-world, I was very lucky to attend a Korean Fair held by Korea Tourism Organization, India (KTO), at Andaz Hotel, Aerocity, Delhi. With the help of this event, I learned a lot and many unexpected things happened which were beyond my imagination.
At the entry of Andaz Hotel, I saw many posters about visiting South Korea and how beautiful it is. I went inside the main hall and saw many beautiful Hanbok (Korean traditional dress) hanging in one corner and lots of people were wearing them and clicking photos. After looking at this scenario and the people, I became very enthusiastic to wear the dress, but when I went near them one lady said that I had to collect a “Stamps Mission” leaflet to wear it. This left me a bit disappointed as I would have to wait for more to wear it. Then I tried to distract myself and started to roam around the corridor and I saw many activities that were going on and got super excited after seeing them.
There were a total of seven missions that I had to complete. With the help of these missions, I got many Korea Tourism brochures, travel packages from every counter, and got three stamps on the leaflet. Finally, the time came when I could wear that hanbok. I chose a pink coloured hanbok because it was looking lovely and beautiful. While I was wearing the hanbok and clicking pictures, my mom was standing in line to get my name registered in Korean Script Hangeul. I looked really pretty after wearing the hanbok. The photographer told me that after some time I would get my photo framed.
Then I went to the counter where they were writing names in Hangeul, and I got mine written in the script as well. After that, I had to do one small survey and they took a quiz related to South Korea to win some exciting gifts. While I was wandering, I saw many teenage girls and some adults gathered in a small open ground where there were two hosts who were playing K-pop songs, and everyone was dancing and enjoying. My heartfelt really full and happy when I saw them dance. Being an introvert, I didn’t talk much or dance along, so I just enjoyed seeing them dancing with a wide smile that crept on my face. I also got two Korean flags, which is also called Taegeukgi, for myself.
After doing so many activities, my stomach started to growl with hunger. Just then, the food stalls were starting to set up. There were so many varieties of fruits and food but I couldn’t name them because most dishes were new to me. After eating, I went to a Ramyeon stall where there were various types of Ramyeon. I ate Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles, Stir-Fried) that was kept as a sample on the table. The noodles in Japchae were very soft and they were sliding inside my mouth. Suddenly, I saw many people gathering at a place, filming three people who looked like celebrities. After some time I saw one poster showing those three people written, “MONT FOR YOU TOUR.” My mind went blank! “Daebak!!! Am I seeing K-Pop idols? I can’t believe it!” This was something that I was not expecting at all.
Seeing real K-Pop idols and seeing their performance, live. This concert was held by Pink Box Events. I saw a group of fans who started some fan-chants. I was trying to decipher their words and then I realized that they were chanting their names. “Narachan! Bitsaeon! Roda! M.O.N T!! Mont!” After entering the hall, I also started chanting as it was giving me good vibes and filling me up with energy. Before the performance began, a few lines were delivered by the honorable executive of KTO. After his speech, few Indian Pop groups performed on stage. One of them was Lokalz Crew, winner of K-POP CONTEST 2019, who performed songs by EXO and BTS. Their performance was amazing. At last, MONT came on stage. They performed so many songs like Boy With Luv, Sorry, Bad, Will You Be My Girlfriend, and so many more. Though, I wasn’t able to attend till the end as I went with my mom and it was past 9 pm. Unfortunately, I was unable to get my framed photo as all counters had closed but it was a life remembering event for me.
After this fair, my actual journey started towards K-world. I got to know a bit about the history between Indian and Korean people and culture. Researchers believe that 2% of the Korean DNA matches with Indian. Isn’t it a fascinating fact? This fair was a life-changing fair for me as it changed my whole concept about South Korea. I wish to get to see a fair like this in the near future as well!