KidZania – an experience beyond just entertainment
My youngest princess
all of 12 years, was excited the moment I declared at home that I would be taking
her to KidZania the coming weekend.


It was last Sunday, the
designated day, and for a change; I was woken up by my angel early morning much
before the alarm could ring in the advent of the morning. ‘Accha, we need to
reach on time’, she declared as she forced me up from the bed and in no time,
Dad and Daughter were out and on our way to perhaps the most eventful and
exciting experience of our day out together, much to the agony of my other
daughters, who sadly had outgrown the age to be called Kids as per their
definition, though they would be tiny tots in my eyes for ever.


We were there right on the
dot of time, and before we knew we were at the counter, getting our boarding
passes and our RFID bracelet, the entry to an experience beyond just
entertainment.


Just having stepped
inside, we realised that KidZania is a city in itself, complete with buildings,
paved streets, vehicles and real-life establishments. It was amazing to see
real world corporates and industries recreated in the city in the form of these
establishments, ranging from supermarkets, restaurants to theater, radio station,
TV station and newspaper, to general utility facilities like police station,
fire station, bank and hospital and even beauty salon, dental clinic,  car dealership, vehicle repair shop and more. To reflect the various culture and diversity that our country is
famous for, there is acting academy, a dance school, pottery school and even a
culinary school.


These establishments
enable the kids to directly interact and engage themselves in these activities
by way of learning the tricks of the trade thus offering an authentic and
powerful developmental experience. Such an experience gathered through real
time working in these establishments help the children understand and manage
the world they are growing up in.


At the entrance, my
princess was handed over a traveller’s cheque for 50 KidZos, the local currency
of the dream city. As was explained to her, she would need to earn and spend
out this money, which she could en-cash from the Bank and all her activities
would have to be undertaken using the KidZos that she has.


Having learnt that she
would need to earn first to be able to spend and splurge on her needs and
luxuries, she started getting engaged in earning activities ranging from being
a Dabba-waala delivering tiffin to being the courier person for delivering and
collecting packages from various establishments around the city.


She even tried her hand
learning how to repair a car and even did not mind being an apprentice to the
dentist helping a kid’s tooth extraction. She even learnt how to do tattoo and
in the process earned quite a good value of KidZos to be now spent on her
needs.


In her spending
activities, she learnt a bit of dancing, a bit of cooking and a bit of
everything she has raw dreams of becoming, when she grows up to be an adult.
The experience was truly beyond words as she through each of the activities
that she engaged herself in, learnt about how the society functions, and in the
process imbibed financial literacy experience 
adult professions, team work, independence, self-esteem and build her
skills.




KidZania also ensures
that while the Kids are engaged and enthralled, the parents accompanying them
are not left alone. Apart from the parents’ lounge where the parents can relax
throughout, the city also gets the parents involved with the kids in the Chocos Family Bond activity, where parents can join the kids in a treasure hunt. My team,
led by my daughter with me as the member were asked to solve a puzzle which
lead us to another location to solve another puzzle and again and another and
finally to the surprise chest where we were lucky to open the treasure chest
with our keys to get an exciting hamper.

While playing roles as
a dentist or a dabba-waala or a courier delivery person, I could see my child
emulate, re-enact these professions and in the process develop positive
educational, psychological and motivational benefits in her.


The safety aspects are
also so well adhered to in the city that my Kid wanted to go for the rock climbing
activity but was refused entry since she had not worn reasonably safe shoes
which would cover her toes.


The city also helps
inculcate the habit of savings in the kids by encouraging them to open a
savings account with Yes Bank with the KidZos left with them which would earn
them interest  on their savings and in
the process, get the their first ever personalised debit card perhaps.

The five hours of time
allowed in the city makes the kids and the parents leaving longing for more and
when we leave the city checking out at the immigration counter, we feel as if
it was a dream come true and a feeling to come back soon for much more to do.


With all the pros about
this wonderful dream city, the only con that I could find here was that the
restaurants served food accepting only real currency. I would have really loved
to see these establishments too enabling the kids to buy food for themselves
with their own earnings, perhaps something, that the management can surely look
into to be incorporated in this wonderful entertainment model.


Taking a cue from what
they themselves have to say, this city surely defines the 6 fundamental rights of the
Kids, the Constitution on which this city called KidZania has emerged – To Be,
To Know, To Create, To Share and To Play.


Special thanks to BlogAdda for enabling this wonderful day out with my little princess.

Watch out this space in a short while for my video interview with the KidZania Management.


This post is part of the KidZania bloggers meet activity conducted by BlogAdda and Kidzania.

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Rekha Bhardwaj Live in Concert – An enthralling musical extravaganza
When the renowned playback singer,
Rekha Bhardwaj was performing live, which music lover would like to miss this
opportunity? So excited, sure I was, as I was sent two VVIP passes for the
event by BlogAdda, the blogging partners for the event.
The electrifying live performance
was held at the European themed Dublin Square, Level -1 at Phoenix Marketcity,
Kurla, which had been the hub of entertainment having hosted a variety of
blockbuster events in the past. A venue which has witnessed events like
Vengaboys Live in concert, VinoFest a wine festival, live EDM performances by
international artists and theatre, it was perfect setting for the mesmerising
performance by Rekha Bhardwaj.
And what a night it surely was, with
Rekha having already wooed many hearts with her charismatic voice in many hit
Bollywood chartbusters, started performing her hit numbers like “Kabira”, “Darling”,
“Genda Phool”, “Ranjha Ranjha” among others.
As Rekha belted out these super dupe
hits, the audience swayed to her voice and the amazing orchestra accompanying
her kept pace with her mesmerising voice with every beat. It was indeed a great
pleasure watching and hearing a great performer live who has over 50 plus
Bollywood playbacks and numerous awards and accolades to her name. The
overwhelming response and the public peeping in to get a glimpse of the artist
who has been known in the industry for her distinctive voice, singing style and
unconventional choice of songs ever since she made her Bollywood debut in 2004,
was testimony enough to how popular she was among the music lovers and others
alike.
The ambience and alfresco setting
made the event even more exciting with Rekha’s mesmerising voice echoing
through the patio spreading far and wide.
Adding value to the setting was the
multiple dining options at the venue which included restaurants such as 212 All
Day Café and Bar, The Big Kahuma, The Irish House, Rainforest and Pizza Hut,
who were serving their best food and beverages to make this event the most
memorable night for the audience.

It was indeed not only a fun filled
and pulsating musical evening but the audience were also appalled by the
modesty of Rekha Bhardwaj while she introduced her accompanying artists on the
orchestra. Amidst repeated demands of “Once-more” for each and every one of her
songs, the songstress ensured that she would sing all our all-time favourite
numbers before she could close in for the night.
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The 11th Marketing Conclave – Untangling Marketing Convolutions
The 11th Marketing Conclave
was organised by IAMAI, the Internet and Mobile Association of
India at The Lalit, Mumbai on the 9th and 10th of June,
2015.


This conclave is an
endeavour by IAMAI to untangle the complexities, sophistication and intricacies
in marketing.

This conclave was held
for the 11th year in succession, having started off in 2007 from Mumbai as only a digital marketing conference. Since the 11 years of its travel
and travails, IAMAI has been able to shed the image of it being a simple
conference by converting it into a conclave which witnesses industry leaders
speaking on the strong emergence of the digital marketplace and the challenges
involved.

Though primarily
concentrating only on digital marketing, it emerged as a full marketing conference
in only its 5th avatar in 2009 and soon after took over the form of
a conclave in the very next year in 2010.


The #11MarCon witnessed
leaders from various industries speaking on how the online marketplace has
helped retailers with the brick and mortar stores to sell freely across the
country without setting up physical stores at all these places and at the same
time creating thousands of employment opportunities.


The conclave saw these
industry leaders brainstorming over various sessions spread over two days on
the changing digital marketing nuances. The conclave was addressed by the
biggest names across industries and perhaps the top brains of the marketing
world.


The main agenda for the
year’s conclave was to chalk out and explore an integrated channel strategy in
an era where digital space is becoming not only intriguing but also
challenging. Though the evolution of hyper mobility has created new platforms
for marketers, the sudden and quick shift from mobile first to mobile only era
has surely made reaching out to consumers more and more challenging and this
issue was addressed in the conclave.


The conclave commenced on
9th June, 2015, the first day, with a welcome address by TusharVyas, Chief Strategy Officer – South Asia, GroupM and followed up with eminent
speakers like Rajesh Jain, Founder and Managing Director, netCORE Solutions,
CVL Srinivas, CEO, GroupM – South Asia addressing the audience as also engaging
in captivating talk shows and conversations to keep the audience spell-bound.


The day’s session was
divided into Plenary Sessions and Fireside Chats. The Plenary sessions were led
by a moderator, and the panelists discussed on various issues ranging from the expanding
roles of a CMO, delineating the concept of a truly integrated cross-platform
marketing, the upsurge of video content and influencer marketing, to the
subject of readiness for the transition from mobile-first to mobile-only era.
The fire side chats involved one to one conversations between two experts on
topics relating to the relevance of digital marketing and on how to address the
already blurring thin line between traditional marketing and digital marketing
due to the increasing adoption of internet and smartphones by the consumers.


The second day’s
session on 10th June 2015 began as a highly interactive session with
high voltage leadership addresses by Krithiga Reddy, MD, Facebook India and
Satyan Gajwani, CEO, Times Internet.


The plenary sessions
for day two covered topics on whether the local language – Hindi has really
arrived in marketing, digital footprints’ data and automation in marketing
being the modern marketers’ success mantra, optimising one’s marketing efforts
for enhanced performance through programmatic marketing, simplifying the mobile
marketing ecosystem, and establishing a common digital standard.


All in all the conclave
was a grand success with a far greater significance being provided for this
year’s conclave due to the fact that the Digital Commerce marketplace which
stood at INR  81,125 Crores as at end of
December 2014 as per the IAMAI-IMRB Digital Advertising Report, 2014 is
expected to cross INR 1,00,000 Crores by end-2015.


The conclave
successfully concluded by promising to set up the agenda for the next big leap
forward by providing the key stakeholders opportunities to brainstorm and really untangle all
marketing convolutions.

It was indeed a great honor for me as a blogger to represent and partner Blogmint, the blogging
partners for the event, which saw sponsorship by netCORE as title partners,
Affle, Dainik Bhaskar and Affinity as Gold partners, Vserv as Mobile knowledge partner,
Dentsu Aegis network, Thoughtbuzz, Adlift and Experian as Silver partners,
Growzippy as Bronze partner and MSG91 as SMS partner.



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