Shuchi Sharma, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
In 2020, I joined the ranks of devoted BTS fans, known as ARMY, and over time, Jeon Jung-kook became more than just my bias; he became my inspiration. Living in a place where K-pop events were a rarity, the opportunity to volunteer for Hallyuism in Mumbai, specifically for Jungkook’s birthday, felt like destiny.
My first experience attending such an event was nothing short of a living dream. “JK Turning 26,” organized by Bang Tan Shefs, was a monumental success, leaving me in awe. The culinary delights from Bangtan Shefs were a revelation. The all-vegetarian menu featured Gimbap, Exotic Kimchi Fried Rice, Cucumber Kimchi, and Sweet and Sour Vegetables. The taste was simply divine. To complement the delectable food, we were treated to Boba drinks, with the peach-flavored Boba being a highlight, offering an explosion of flavors with every sip.
The stage came alive with incredible performances by talented individuals. Dancers like Blaven from Delhi, Tushaar from Bangalore, Chirag from Pune, Rishi & Kris from New Delhi, Axiom group from Mumbai, Future Ninjas from Mumbai, and Sai & Bunny from Mumbai left us spellbound with electrifying routines. Adding to the enchantment were singers like Ryuxin from Bhopal and Mayank from Pune, who surpassed all expectations. Though I was unfamiliar with most of them before the event, I was grateful for the chance to witness their exceptional talent in person.
The venue at Bharat Ratna Gaansamragyi Lata Mangeshkar Natya Gruha Auditorium on Mira Road was a visual delight. The decorations for Jungkook’s birthday transformed the auditorium into a vibrant, enchanting space. The meticulous attention to detail extended to the auditorium, stage, and lighting, creating a perfect ambiance.
The event’s host and organizer, Ms. Riya Goon, who also owns Bang Tan Shefs, was the heartbeat of the event. Her engaging and impactful approach, both on and off the stage, kept the audience captivated. Her warmth and enthusiasm in treating guests and performers alike made everyone feel welcome and at ease.
This event wasn’t merely a celebration of Jungkook’s birthday; it aimed to emulate his kindness and generosity. Bang Tan Shefs took the initiative to help the less fortunate children of Ankur Children’s Home, an orphanage in Mira Road, by donating all the proceeds from the event.
The event began with Riya inviting the children and staff of Ankur Children’s Home on stage, sharing the event’s noble purpose. Seeing these children enjoy the performances and savor delicious food warmed the hearts of all present. Surprisingly, many of them were familiar with BTS, fostering a sense of gratitude and unity among the ARMYs.
The performances were mesmerizing, with Rishi & Kris starting strong and Axiom ending on a high note. But the atmosphere turned electric when Blaven, Tushaar, and Ryuxin took the stage.
Blaven’s graceful moves were a sight to behold, and Tushaar, known for his calm demeanour, stunned with his powerful stage presence and unexpectedly deep voice. Ryuxin, with his dynamic rapping, transformed the event into a real-life concert. As if that wasn’t enough, soon Blaven was dancing alongside Ryuxin, who was singing live, creating an unforgettable moment that left the audience in awe.
Mayank, despite a sore throat from a cold, delivered a soulful performance, and other dance acts, including Chirag’s captivating solo, Sai & Bunny’s mesmerizing duet, and Future Ninja’s dynamic performance, kept the energy high.
Amidst these performances, we celebrated Jungkook’s 26th birthday by cutting a cake together, making it even more special as one lucky ARMY got to cut it on her own birthday.
After the performances, the event continued with fun games that engaged both the audience and performers. The highlight was the Random Dance Battle (RDB), where nearly all ARMYs confidently danced to K-pop hits, creating a mesmerizing spectacle and changing RDB to RDP, i.e., Random Dance Performance. DJ Shubhu’s K-pop playlist, enhanced by a fantastic sound system, kept the dance floor alive. Even Bollywood songs found their place, adding to the excitement.
This event was more than just a celebration; it was a gathering of kindred spirits. I made friends from different cities and states, met family ARMYs dressed in BTS or K-pop-themed outfits, and even witnessed a young ARMY dancing alongside her older sibling. The event drew fans from far and wide, all of whom exuded friendliness and cheerfulness. The influencers and performers were equally welcoming, posing for photos, dancing, and conversing with guests like old friends.
I am immensely grateful to Hallyuism and Bang Tan Shefs for granting me this opportunity. I look forward to more such unforgettable events in the future, cherishing the memories of this extraordinary day in my life!
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