Posts Tagged ‘Arun Manju 25’

Symphony – The Family Workshop

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

For designing the event we ask following questions to ourselves
a. What are the learning needs for the various members in the family?
b. How much do we know about each other since we started our independent journeys?
c. How much do we know our kids knows their cousins besides linkedin resume?
d. How much next generation knows about their previous generation and challenges they have faced?

With these questions in mind we start designing the workshop which now moved to 3 days instead of 2 days.

Design element #1 – Dividing the learning needs of the families in 4 groups

a. Above 50 – Where most of us have accomplished in our professional lives, where we have choices as well as resources at our disposal, what is holding us back to discover in child in us.
b. Age group 23 to 50 – Next working generation where they have dreams and wants to put their stamp in their own way on the world map, how to help them use their energies to create highest impact.
c. Age group 12+ to 22 – Teens with dreams in their eyes and fears of ‘going wrong’ as per parents belief systems, how to help them expand their ‘Perspectives’ of the world.
d. Age group less than 12 – Just fun loving kids – How do they express their talent to elders.

Design element #2 – Designing the Workshops

a. Symphony workshop #1 – Discover a Child In you – Talked our old friend and management consultant Mrs Renu Rajpal and Himanshu Joshi and requested them to design 7 hour workshop for the Group 1.
b. Symphony workshop #2 – Transformational Leadership – Talked to Prasad Kaipa, author of the book Smart to Wise and my personal coach over last 20 years in my journey for designing the workshop.
c. Symphony workshop #3 – Lead My Future – Talked to Soundari Mukerjea and her colleagues Meeta to design a workshop for teens.
d. Symphony workshop#4 – Express my self – Expressing the talents kids are having and providing them a stage for their performances.
e. Symphony workshop#5 – All hands and Head together – all 80 people in one workshop and having one dialogue. This workshop revolved around ‘Awareness of Conflicts’, ‘Reaction vs Response’ and ‘Magic of Genuine appreciation’.

Design element #3 – Designing the Fun

1. Big party in the evening with all extended family and friends of mine and Manju.
2. Collected all the nostalgic songs which we use to sing together in 70’s to 90’s and created a program – Gaane Hamare Jamaane Ke.
3. Designing food – We had opportunity to eat 2 lunch, 2 Dinners and 4 eat outs. We researched the delicacies of all indian states and requested people to share their preferences. Meena and Garima talked to chief chef of the hotel to help us designing where all state food from J&K to Kerala is served in various meals.

Design Element #4 – Gift of Learning

1. On whatsapp group we requested all the members of Symphony participants to share the books which shaped their individual thinking or inspired them or just favourite books.
2. All the members shared their inspirational books. Manju made a list of all books.
3. Divyakant requested Jain books to put up a stall on last day in hotel lobby.
4. Anyone can pick up any number of books to be gifted to others with their autographs.

Design Element #5 – Prayers Together

1. We visited old famiy temple together and performed ‘Samuhik Pooja’ in the temple where complete family read the Pooja together (may be after 30-40 years). It was nostalgic and humbling for all of us.

Design Element #6 – Documenting Our Stories

1. Biographies are written for big so called ‘successful’ celebrities. We believe everyone in our family is celebrity.
2. We requested one member of next gen to interview one of our sibling and write a biography.
3. We published a Coffee table book of Family celebrities – OUR STORIES on Symphony Carnival.

We completed Symphony carnival between 24th July to 26th July 2015. Next symphony is planned in June-July 2017.

It was an humbling experience with deep insights and learnings about the power of families and togetherness. We learnt from the many members of the family who committed themselves as Homemakers in structured way. We learnt the dilemmas and dreams of next generation. I cant capture all the learnings in this mail because all of us have different takeaways. Anyway it was 3 days worth spent in celebration and learning. I must thank each member of family to participate whole heartedly into this workshop.

I believe its a very small step in a right direction from ‘the challenge of families in 21st century’ to ‘The hidden opportunities of Families in 21st Century’.


Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Five months ago, I was having conversations with a few friends over dinner. The topic of ‘families’ and then parenting got triggered. Everyone was sharing his / her views on how’s the joint family system has broken in last few decades, what the benefits of joint family system in India are or where joint family system holds back. The topics moved on to explore that ‘our generation’ vs ‘next generation’ meaning that we were ‘more responsible’ or ‘more sensitive’ than the new generation. the topic of ‘Respect’ also come into picture along with influence of Mobile phones and information onslaught.

Since it was a dinner conversation, more people wanted to contribute and few wanted to listen. Even deeper insights didn’t find space and attention. It forced me to think that the topic on families is crucial for all of us who are passing thru this transformational global change yet as group we either don’t have a time for it or don’t have a commitment for it or still there is no serious platform to get into deeper dialogue into the topic. Obviously interrupted dinner conversation is definitely not a platform for such a valuable topic. Since this topic is experienced by all of us where we simultaneously experiment with our ‘dear one’s’ and learn from the results real time.

I broached my observations with Manju over the weekend walk in Madras club. We both agree that topic needs a platform and dedicated time for exploration. Coincidentally we were completing 25 years of our togetherness as a married couple in coming few months. Suddenly we came with the idea of celebration of togetherness with our friends and families in different ways. We used WhatsApp platform to share with all our siblings, nephews and nieces that we want to celebrate the event together where we can have lots of fun filled with lots of learning from each other.

Though we were skeptical to receive any inputs from whatsapp group but we found the participation was humungous. With that response we rolled up the sleeves and got to the design board. We named this event Symphony Carnival. The event started with 2 days to be spend together where all members of my family and Manju family to come together and stay together. The combined family including our next generation and their kids comes to over 85 people age group 2 year old to 70 years. The members spread from Delhi, Chennai, Rajasthan, Singapore, Australia, UK and multiple cities in US.

We gathered for the Symphony carnival from 24th to 26th July at The Oberoi, Gurgaon.

I am covering design part of the Symphony in next post.