KUNGA TASHI

A skater taking a rest in a shade after a session of skateboarding.

A skater taking a rest in a shade after a session of skateboarding.

A DIY quarter pipe ramp made by the skaters.

A DIY quarter pipe ramp made by the skaters.

Two skater boys practicing skateboarding.

Two skater boys practicing skateboarding.

A portrait of a group of skater kids in front of a wall with graffiti.

A portrait of a group of skater kids in front of a wall with graffiti.

Portrait of Passang, 19 years of age. Currently he is pursuing history honors in a Government college in Gangtok, Sikkim.

Portrait of Passang, 19 years of age. Currently he is pursuing history honors in a Government college in Gangtok, Sikkim.

A wall filled with graffiti with the names of the kids and their group initial.

A wall filled with graffiti with the names of the kids and their group initial.

Portrait of Tenzing Bhutia, 23 years old. Tenzing has been suffering from pharmaceutical drug addiction for some time. Recently with him being involved in skating with the other youths, he strongly feels that this has led him to come out of this addiction, as the group has become more like a family and a place for everyone to feel safe. In the past couple of years, Sikkim has been facing a huge challenge with the increase in the abuse of pharmaceuticals drugs mostly among youths. The increase in unemployment and social norms are the major factor for this ever increasing number.

Portrait of Tenzing Bhutia, 23 years old. Tenzing has been suffering from pharmaceutical drug addiction for some time. Recently with him being involved in skating with the other youths, he strongly feels that this has led him to come out of this addiction, as the group has become more like a family and a place for everyone to feel safe.

In the past couple of years, Sikkim has been facing a huge challenge with the increase in the abuse of pharmaceuticals drugs mostly among youths. The increase in unemployment and social norms are the major factor for this ever increasing number.

Skater with her torn shoes rests after the practice.

Skater with her torn shoes rests after the practice.

Portrait of Norbu Bhutia, 15 years of age. Also one of the youngest skaters in the group.

Portrait of Norbu Bhutia, 15 years of age. Also one of the youngest skaters in the group.

A DIY flat bar rail made by the skaters.

A DIY flat bar rail made by the skaters.

Skaters practicing in an empty terrace, their usual spot in Gangtok, Sikkim.

Skaters practicing in an empty terrace, their usual spot in Gangtok, Sikkim.

Youths during one of their hangouts looking for a space to practice skateboarding in Gangtok.

Youths during one of their hangouts looking for a space to practice skateboarding in Gangtok.

Kids sharing lunch during one of their hangouts in the city.

Kids sharing lunch during one of their hangouts in the city.

Portrait of Cheche (16years) and Chung Chungla (21years). The only girls in the group.

Portrait of Cheche (16years) and Chung Chungla (21years). The only girls in the group.

A kid rests on the floor after a tiring day of skate boarding.

A kid rests on the floor after a tiring day of skate boarding.

Due to the lack of space in Gangtok and the way skateboarding is played, it is regarded by many in the society as a nuisance and usually carried out by the wasted youths. Facing problems from the police as well as the society.

Due to the lack of space in Gangtok and the way skateboarding is played, it is regarded by many in the society as a nuisance and usually carried out by the wasted youths. Facing problems from the police as well as the society.

  • 1

    A skater taking a rest in a shade after a session of skateboarding.

  • 2

    A DIY quarter pipe ramp made by the skaters.

  • 3

    Two skater boys practicing skateboarding.

  • 4

    A portrait of a group of skater kids in front of a wall with graffiti.

  • 5

    Portrait of Passang, 19 years of age. Currently he is pursuing history honors in a Government college in Gangtok, Sikkim.

  • 6

    A wall filled with graffiti with the names of the kids and their group initial.

  • 7

    Portrait of Tenzing Bhutia, 23 years old. Tenzing has been suffering from pharmaceutical drug addiction for some time. Recently with him being involved in skating with the other youths, he strongly feels that this has led him to come out of this addiction, as the group has become more like a family and a place for everyone to feel safe.

    In the past couple of years, Sikkim has been facing a huge challenge with the increase in the abuse of pharmaceuticals drugs mostly among youths. The increase in unemployment and social norms are the major factor for this ever increasing number.

  • 8

    Skater with her torn shoes rests after the practice.

  • 9

    Portrait of Norbu Bhutia, 15 years of age. Also one of the youngest skaters in the group.

  • 10

    A DIY flat bar rail made by the skaters.

  • 11

    Skaters practicing in an empty terrace, their usual spot in Gangtok, Sikkim.

  • 12

    Youths during one of their hangouts looking for a space to practice skateboarding in Gangtok.

  • 13

    Kids sharing lunch during one of their hangouts in the city.

  • 14

    Portrait of Cheche (16years) and Chung Chungla (21years). The only girls in the group.

  • 15

    A kid rests on the floor after a tiring day of skate boarding.

  • 16

    Due to the lack of space in Gangtok and the way skateboarding is played, it is regarded by many in the society as a nuisance and usually carried out by the wasted youths. Facing problems from the police as well as the society.

 

Days Of Summer (2019- Work In Progress)

Days of summer, is an ongoing project I started 7 months ago. Its focus is on the hopes and dreams of the youth in Gangtok, Sikkim. This project began when I met a group of kids who were pursuing their dream of becoming professional skateboarders. This work is also a direct response to my own youth and the connection I felt, having grown up with big dreams in a small town.

In the current chapter I’m documenting the journey of a group of enthusiastic kids as they stroll around the concrete mountain of Gangtok, with dreams of becoming a professional skateboarder someday. Their struggles, dreams and the hope to find a place in society and a place to call their own. The nature of this sport ensures that these kids often face problems with the police and society. They are regarded as nuisances and usually they are stereotyped for being wasted youth.

Through this project, I aim to bring attention of this community of enthusiastic kids and support them in making their dreams of having their own skate park a reality. Though society and the government may not consider this a necessity, if this sport helps the young channelize their energy positively, then I am assured, it will also address other underlying issues on which larger societal problems are based.

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