NELTA Social Event: The Road Not Taken
The clock was striking 5. The sun was already on the horizon. The heart beat getting faster. People, rushing and entering the hall. It was all the setting of 1st International Conference Hall 2 in Little Angels’ College of Higher Studies, Hattiban, Lalitpur. Immediately the hall witnessed a gathering of 250 ELT professionals and soon holding a micro-phone on his right hand, Sagun Shrestha, program coordinator of English Access Microscholarship Program, turned his face towards me, gestured for bursting words, skinned off half teeth and ‘welcome to The Road Not Taken, first ever social event in the history of NELTA’ he said. In his face was spilling over the joy and surprise to see the hall filled with no chair spare, waiting for the participants. Soon more flow of aspirants and corners too filled with standbys. Everybody could see the flow of exalted blood in Sagun’s face. The Road Not Taken was his brainchild named and triggered by Kunjarmani Gautam, inspired by Mr. Hemanta Raj Dahal, Immediate Past President and coordinated by Mr. Jaya Ram Khanal, Central committee member, not known would turn this way till a few minutes ago. Equally we had got a warm support and encouraging words of Russell Barczyk, Regional English Language Officer, US Embassy.
How could I stop having my go! Welcomed the participants and announced, ‘the road not taken has been taken.’ Demonstrating the socializing content, canned beer on my left hand, I requested the participants to participate, socialize and unite with the ELT boost that was deliberately brought into the room for socialization. By this time every connoisseur had their share in the hand. Wow! Mr. Hemanta Raj Dahal, immediate Past President of NELTA, marching proudly on to the front of the hall inaugurated ”NELTA Social Event 2016” with tempting first sip of the can. Who could stop not clapping!! The room echoed and resounded with clap, clap and shouting. Almost all the cans opened. I recited the poem: Stopping By woods on a snowy Evening by Robert Frost. Soon the hall became musical with poems, songs and rhymes.
The cans were few with very little socialization. Everybody got drunk with the song of Miss Styakala Rai, a famous Nepali singer and danced, danced, and danced again.
How could the seniors like Prof. Dr. Vishnu Singh Rai stop from registering their names for the go? He presented a gazal and Maya Rai, retired director of the Department of Education was a bit resentful as her turn was broken. Motikala Subba Dewan, the senior Vice president NELTA and Ms. Sarita Dewan, treasurer, each added charm to the program by singing a song and inspiring the participants to actively take part.
Even foreign participants were excited to join the purely creative program/ event. DR. Ruth Ban, English Language Specialist, USA kept smiling throughout the program though it was remix, English and Nepali Language. Mr. Russell Barzyck RELO, US Embassy told us later that he was overwhelmed to be part of the program , so was Bishwa Raj Gautam, RELO Specialist, US Embassy. Dr. Amol Padwad, a plenary speaker from India was really happy when he congratulated NELTA/ us for such novel program. His mesmerizing lips were indicating that the program was captivating.
The program was flooded by more than two dozens of creative presentations: poems, songs, chants, Gajals, etc.
The program was scheduled for an hour and half. Who could guess it lasted for two and half with any boredom to none? When I requested the participants to wait for a year till the next program, no one was happy. They did not like to go out. After the program was over, smile coming out of the hall, Sagun turned his face towards me. So did I. He raised his hand for hi-five, there was a complete return of his hard work to make it a memorably successful. Next day there were hundreds to congratulate and thank us.
No rose without thorns, only beer no juice. Next year we will have beer and juice. Why only one social evening? Why not three NELTA social evenings on different themes? These were the suggestions we received from the participants. As English teachers, we are using literature as a means of language teaching and we made this attempt to appreciate literature in a multilingual setting (of different languages) in 21st International conference. The achievement was great as we found there were a plethora of Nepali and English songs, poems and Gajals shared by the participants.
Please wait till next year to experience how we had a social event and the theme will be ‘The Road Taken in NELTA: A Social Event’ in 22nd international conference.
(*Mr. Gautam is an ELT Professional having a score of years of experience of teaching and teacher-training from pre-primary to University level. Mr. Gautam is a training coordinator and secretary in NELTA Center . Having keen interest in oriental and western literature, he is equally attentive in continuous teacher professional development. He is also interested in research work on issues and challenges in early child education and motivation in the classroom. He has delivered teacher trainings across Nepal in different training centers.)