On July 22, 2017, Quora users of Nepal met for the first time at Taragaon Museum. John Shrestha (Yaatri) and Swapna Bizness had organized the programme on a very short prior notice via Quora and Facebook.
Until I reached Taragaon Museum that day and met Mahesh and John, I was dubious there was any programme. During the introduction session that day, John said how he conceived the idea for a Meetup in Nepal.
One day, he stumbled upon an answer in Quora which described a Meetup in a city of India. John was baffled. “Can we organize such a programme in Nepal?” He thought and found out how he could gather people.
“We had not expected more than eight participants,” he said. “But the overwhelming number of people interested in the event stumped me.” The number of interested people had reached over 200 within the few hours. It was unexpected because the number of active Quora users was very few. Probably, the phrase “first ever” had attracted people.
“I had thought of calling some people to a public park like Ratna Park but for 200 people, it would not work. The 1st Quora Meetup had to be exciting.”
He sought for sponsors, found Swapna Bizness. He looked for an interesting place and found Taragaon Museum. It is an art museum ran by Taragaon Hotel (Hyatt Regency). Despite that many interested people, only 39 gathered. John was relieved.
That day, all of them were strangers to me but strangely, everyone seemed familiar. We immediately bonded. That was the first time I had such an experience.
I was waiting for another Meetup to occur soon and the date had been decided but was cancelled because Quora announced the first ever official Quora World Meetup.
So, on November 11, 2017, the first Quora World Meetup was held in King’s College, Kathmandu. The original location was the Taragaon Museum but unfortunately it had been booked.
It took me no time to find King’s College. I could see it in front of my eyes, but the road I took never ended. I was walking along the left bank of Dhobi Khola. I had to return back, cross the bridge at Bijulibazaar and take the road on the right bank. I nearly missed the introduction session.
The second session was the Question/Answer session that was in spirit of Quora. Some of the questions were:
1. Who was the most influential teacher in your school?
2. What incident in life has affected you the most?
3. Do you think we dream what we desire? (The discussion for this went for almost an hour. There were many different perspectives and knowledge. I learnt for the first time that dream interpretations were subjective.)
After a short break, the programme recommenced. During the break, I saw that Quorans have mutual respect for each other and yeah, Sulav Karki, who answers a lot of questions about Nepal is largely popular.
The final session included debates on two subjects:
1. Should Kathmandu still remain the capital of Nepal?
2. Should Diversity Visa (DV) be stopped for Nepal?
Two groups were divided. We had a fewer number of people in our group but luck favoured us on both occasions as we won the toss and got to choose. We chose to support Kathmandu being the capital in the former and DV should be stopped.
In the first debate, when Sulav presented the points for Kathmandu remaining the capital of Nepal, Sushovan remarked, “Ten wickets in the power play.” Meaning, we had won the debate because they could not be negated by the opposition. And they really could not.
The second debate was more balanced. Several interesting points came up. It also took us to another question: Which is more important–an individual or his nationality?
At the end, there were no personal grudges, no fights, no accusations. The debate session ended as it should have. The Quora users of Nepal surprised me once again.