My daughter Myra turned 4 few months back. Nothing better than to see her get all the love and attention. For me, just a hug from her means more than the world. And I would want to give her only the best. in the Birthday party at a popular outlet, the little kids were made to dance on Filmy item numbers. Some little girls even showed off the moves aping Katrina, Karneea and other ‘hot item numbers’. This certainly cannot be right. Kids need age appropriate content but in India what options do we have? In the early parenting stage I was often visiting the US & Canada and was exposed to the amazing activities that kids can engage in. India sadly has little to offer for PreShoolers.
I did play a lot of Mozart to her all through when she was in the womb, but like most kids, she was exposed to Rhymes and apps on the ipad fairly early. Alongside she also had her share of books, toys, exploratory, learning, development tools and more. By the time she turned 2 she knew what she wanted and was not narrow cast on TV or the tab only. Her interests were diverse but options were few. I started to realize how little India actually had to offer for preschoolers. Outings mostly were limited to the mall only!
At home, most content was non-Indian. Indian content was not good enough that I'd like to her to be exposed to. Products, toys, development & learning tools too seemed limited, if truly Indian. I knew Myra was deprived.
Working in the Media Industry, before Myra was born, I was to launch and head up a Kids TV Channel and several additional kids business vertical's in India. I had spent almost a year educating myself with what exists across the globe. I knew India was far behind.
Many like Myra only have the mall to go to or view some imported half demented shows on the TV (not all are bad), very little 'high value' culturally relevant Indian content and it’s the pits when they dance to Bollywood songs and ape the same inappropriate moves. It played on my mind. And by the time Myra hit 2 I had found a greater purpose to my life. I knew one thing, like any other preschooler she loved music, she loved to dance and sing and music means a lot more to kids. Music is education, abc, numbers, values, entertainment, dance, fun, development and much more. I had to do something with music.
I reached out to a former colleague Chin2 Bhosle. A musician, a father of 2 and grandson of the legendary Asha Bhosle.He was already doing a lot of work for little kids, educating Music and was equally frustrated with the quality of content and limited options kids had across all verticals. We shook hands to try our bit to make a difference.
A seed of a concept was born. Little kids love to jump and dance and sing along. Every song can throw them in the epicenter of a Rock Concert at a large arena. Ever seen teenagers at a rock concert - a headbangers ball? PreSchoolers do it much better, longer, harder and look much cuter doing so. And they can do it to Jack and Jill & 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. We decided to be their rock stars.
The personal target was that if ever a Pre Schooler is not having a head bangers ball, we are not doing it right. But then we wanted to use this connect for a far larger purpose; a purpose where it all began. To give them education, values, connect culturally and socially and regionally through music. We wanted to do it for the love of it and the great opportunity to make millions of Indian kids smile who perhaps cannot even afford a trip to the mall.
Chin2 and I knew that just the 2 of us were incomplete. Soon 2 of Chin2's dear friends; the adorable Fiona D'Souza, a grandmother and Pratichee Mohapatra (from girl band VIVA), a beautiful & talented singer, a wife and both passionate about kids joined us.
We toiled hard for over a year on how, what, why, where and W, X, Y & Z and soon we knew our ABC. Finally, with the collaborative efforts of the band members, some lucky meetings and dear friends and family and loved ones who stood by us through doubt, frustrations, challenges and impossible walls to leap over we launched our YouTube Channel in Aug. Further we were approached by the organizers of Bandra Fest to perform for kids on 29th Nov. And also came an invite for the Krackerjack Kids Karnivalthis December in Delhi. A leading Global Music Label has shown interest to sign us too.
I guess all it takes is little steps backed by true passion. While initial focus was on popular nursery rhymes to build affinity and connect with the core target audience, a lot of original content has followed. To follow is content in 2D, 3D, various kinds of puppetry and of course live action. The promise is to be there for those who can afford us and those who can't. We'll try and make every child smile. Just like Myra, they all look equally beautiful with their infectious 'ear to ears' irrespective of their gender, caste, religion, colour, size or family background. If its little kids, we want them to rock with us. If kids want to dance, there’s got to be more than just Bollywood item numbers for them.
There also will be an educraft vertical which while sold for a price will also be made available to the less fortunate to a social platform.
For no reason, just because it sounded right, having no meaning at all, we just coined a word and called ourselves CHIKARAKS. We are your child's first rock band.http://www.chikaraks.com/