Let’s dance our way to New York

What is Pecha Kucha?

In March 2021 I had attended my first ‘Pecha Kucha’ event (pronounced “Petch-aa Koo-chaa” ) in Goa. Prior to that I had never even heard of the word. The name ‘Pecha Kucha’ is derived from the Japanese word chit chat. It was originally created by two bored architectures in Tokyo to make presentations more interesting and for presenters to remain concise. The speakers present 20 slides/images for 20 seconds each for total duration of 6 minutes 40 seconds. In a single event usually a dozen participants are called in to speak.

Meet Gautam Milna

During the event I noticed speakers picked a particular event in their travels that stood out for them .So what caught my attention was about Gautam Milna’s story. He was able to describe his entire life in just 6 minutes 40 seconds allotted to him. I mean it was phenomenal. The way he connected all the dots from start to finish was telling as to how great a storyteller he is.

He began his story with a childhood picture of him wearing his favorite New York shirt, smirking on stage saying you, “you guys better remember this, it will pop up later in the presentation.”

During his masters he needed money to support himself and the dance course he wanted to do in NY, so he began crowdfunding and actually gathered 25000$.

As a performing artist it led him to Germany, New York, Michigan. And as an educator he used dance as a medium to talk about the oppression faced by women.

Back in India he was inspired by the ‘Tibetan dance form’ which later led him to travel to Ladakh. At the age of 33 he did Vipassana, a form of mediation where the concentration is solely on the breath not on any visualization or mantra. As a performing artist his biggest accomplishment was playing Jesus who was later crucified in the dance. Inspite of that he found it symbolic since he was 33 when he played the role of Jesus who was crucified at the age of 33.

The Importance of Self Reflection

I loved his story and his clarity. I later realized the important role vipassana played in his life since I had done it a year earlier. It’s marvelous what one achieve without any external distraction, just you and your thoughts, no books or phones, paper or pens. It’s hard not to cling to thoughts and stay present in the moments. Through Vipassana and S.N Goenka, the teacher that brought Vipassana to India I learnt the past is any easy place to stay in, because we have control over the events and our emotions, while in the present there is a lot of uncertainty. Having listened to Gautam Milna’s story and the way he connected the dots from his childhood shirt in New York to actually going to New York or the other instance of the symbolism of the age 33 was truly something else. It’s through deep introspection that one can have such clarity that made this story stand out for me.


  1. The Concept of Slow Travel
  2. A Travel Meet in Goa

Picture Credit : Unsplash : https://unsplash.com/@lucabravo

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