Global Cityhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/global-city/

Global City

Puneites Puneites are going international and participating in events such as ‘100 Thousand Poets for a change’ and ‘WordCamp’.

Puneites are going international and participating in events such as ‘100 Thousand Poets for a change’ and ‘WordCamp’ .

Seventy thousand views and still counting. The 30-second Harlem Shake videos have clearly caught eyeballs the world over. The ludicrousness and hilarity of people dressed in whacky costumes dancing their heads and limbs off has seen versions from the US,the UK,Japan and other countries. Soon,Pune will also join the club with its own Harlem Shake video.

Recently,over 200 Puneites gathered at High Spirits in Koregaon Park to shoot their own version for the Internet craze. They showed up in bizarre costumes,wearing eye-popping colours such as neon orange and green,with whacky headgear such as glow-in-the-dark horns and Mickey Mouse ears. Rhea Shetye,a participant,says,“ I first heard of the Harlem Shake from a friend in New Zealand. I watched videos from all over the world and thought,‘I want to do this too’.”

Earlier,content to simply read about global movements; now the city wants to be a part of it. “The video is making headlines all over the world and it’s great that even we get to be a part of something global. I feel connected with the participants from other parts of the world,just like social networks connect us to billions of people we have never met,” says Disha Mehta,another “Harlem Shaker”.

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But,it’s not just Harlem Shake that’s forging this cross-country connection. Over the past few months,with international events such as “100 Thousand Poets for a change”,“One Billion Rising” and “WordCamp” being organised,Pune seems to have found its place on the map. On February 23 and 24,the city’s first ever WordCamp organised at Modern College saw more than 230 participants.

“WordCamp is organised across 38 countries. Organising something like this has its advantages — the event is well-known,so more people are interested. It makes you feel part of a larger community in the world,a community of WordPress users,” says Amit Singh,the organiser.

The idea of feeling one with the rest of the world seems to be the driving force behind such events. Pioneered by Michael Rothenberg in the US,100 Thousand Poets for a change is a series of events across 115 countries to promote social change through poetry. Dipalle Parmar,who organised the event in Pune last September,in collaboration with Open Space,says,“One of the poets at the Pune event wrote a poem that was posted on the website. Later,she got a letter from someone in Chicago who really liked her poem and wanted to share it with others. This does not happen in a local event.”

R Raj Rao,a writer and professor at the University of Pune,who was a guest at 100 Thousand Poets for Change,feels events like these establish Pune’s status as a metropolitan city. “The more international events we host,the more visibility the city will have,and it will also be considered more cosmopolitan,” he says.