Sleepy capital comes alive to beats of GenX

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By PEMA LEYDA SHANGDERPA in Gangtok
  • Published 2.09.02
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Gangtok, Sept. 2: It’s happening and happening fast. The capital that usually sees all its shutters downed by 8 in the evening, is seeing a transformation.

Thanks to the two ventures that keep the spirits of the youthful party hoppers “high” and “alive”. Barely months into business, it has already crafted a success story for the two entrepreneurs who aim to give “value for money”, when customers come for a night out.

It all began with the decision of the government in mid-2001 when a notification extended and rescheduled the foreign liquor bar timings from 8 pm to 11 pm. Everything else followed.

The town that normally saw only a few private parties now has two “pubs” and a “lounge” to enjoy good music and also boasts of Gangtok’s first discotheque with a disc jockey (DJ) to mix and grind the music.

The trend has been set and there are serpentine queues of hopefuls seeking permission from the urban development department to set up similar ventures.

Emboldened by the decision of the government, two youths determined to change the way the capital partied not only crafted a success story for themselves, but also gave the entertainment-starved capital something to cheer about.

For Karma Zimba, an electrical engineer-turned-foodie, running a pub-cum-restaurant called “Little Italy” that he opened a month ago here is not something new but an extension of similar joints that he runs in the Baga and Anjuna beaches in Goa.

He has temporarily shut shop in Goa to concentrate on his venture here. The clientele of “Little Italy” already reads like Gangtok’s Who’s Who. Frequented by Sikkim’s bold and the beautiful as well as the ordinary folks, most of whom want to have a good time, all go back with a satisfied smile.

Zimba, argues that the capital required a “lounge” with good food, drinks and most of all good music and this is where he came in to provide quality service and atmosphere.

People have the money to spend but the quality of food and the ambience in the existing restaurants that are scattered across the town has seen no changes apart from serving the traditional momo and thukpa. The situation demanded a change and this is where we decided to “barge in”, he said.

Little Italy attempts to give Gangtok a taste of Italian delicacies and the pizzas, pastas and spaghetti, they serve is already a big hit with the local residents. Apart from food, the music here is “mind-blowing” and a total sellout, says a middleaged government servant out to enjoy.

“Time Out”, a trendy sports bar in Daragaon, is another place where GenX lets its hair down every evening. “Time Out” is credited with being the first authentic discotheque with a DJ mixing the music. The brainchild behind this is another young entrepreneur, Vikash Gurung, who also doubles as the DJ and, like Zimba, had a stint in Taj Bengal, Calcutta, as an assistant DJ where he mastered the “tricks of the trade”.

He was already into organising private parties and letting Gangtokians jive to his beats before realising his dream of a “sports bar-cum-discotheque”.

The popularity of the place is evident from the crowd on Saturday nights, where the younger and the middleaged dance as if there’s no tomorrow. Adventure and sport gear, dresses and paintings make up the décor inside, along with a dance floor and a bar in different corners.