Fueled by their passion for BTS, three 13-year-old girls from Tamil Nadu embarked on an adventurous journey with dreams of reaching South Korea. The K-pop sensation’s fandom, known for its fervent dedication, became a catalyst for these young fans’ determination. As they set out on this unexpected escapade, their story unfolds, reflecting the powerful influence of music and fandom on the aspirations of the younger generation.
The K-pop escape
Three schoolgirls, aged 13 and studying in Class 8 in a village of Karur district, found themselves on an unexpected adventure. Fueled by their passion for BTS, the renowned Korean pop band, these spirited fans embarked on a journey to Seoul, the South Korean capital, driven by the desire to meet their beloved stars. The path they chose was unknown, with little money and no passports, a testament to the powerful influence of music and the extraordinary lengths fans are willing to go for their idols.
A Child Welfare Committee reported to PTI, “They took a firm decision to somehow meet the BTS stars and shortlisted the seaports of Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh to take a ship to South Korea and they eventually chose Visakhapatnam.”
How did the minors managed to escape?
On January 4, the girls discreetly left their homes and traveled to Chennai by taking a train from Erode, situated near Karur.
Failing to find the girls at home, their parents filed a complaint with the Karur police, prompting them to notify authorities across the state and initiate search efforts.
View this post on Instagram
Despite having a meager Rs 14,000, their entire savings, the teenagers held the naive belief that they could successfully embark on their journey. Facing numerous challenges, they secured accommodation in a Chennai hotel on Thursday night, under the mistaken impression that they could travel to Seoul by ship without needing passports.
Exhausted from their futile efforts on Friday, the girls traversed through various challenges, draining their energy completely. With no alternatives left, they decided to board a train from Chennai to return home.
Counselling sessions for Die hard BTS fans
The head of Vellore District Child Welfare Committee, Mr P. Vedanayagam Said, “At Katpadi railway station, when they got down at mid night to buy food, they missed the train. Police personnel spoke to the children and Child Line authorities and we were alerted.”
The authorities arranged lodging for them in a state-run facility in Vellore district, subsequently summoning their parents for counselling sessions aimed at addressing the situation and its impact on both the children and their parents.
Discovering that the girls possessed in-depth knowledge about BTS, including details about the band’s fashion choices, demonstrated their profound inspiration. Their unrestricted smartphone access fueled their obsession, showcasing a strong desire for a life centered around dance and music. While recognising their aspirations, it was gently communicated that attempting to go abroad to pursue these dreams was a regrettable mistake.
Authorities advised the children to prioritise their studies as a means to achieve their dreams, emphasising the significance and value of education. “We told the children about the importance of education and its value and advised the parents to keep an eye on what their children do.” Parents were counselled to monitor their children’s activities, underscoring the importance of smartphones and the internet for educational purposes rather than everyday use.
Considering the family backgrounds, with one girl raised by a single parent and another having a mentally challenged father, the mothers working as farm laborers have limited time to monitor their children. Parents were urged to arrange adequate support and guidance. Following counselling, the children returned to their home district with their parents, traveling by train on the night of January 6.