Having gotten my VISA on the day of travel, I didn’t have much time to set expectations before landing in the beautiful city of Barcelona for my first visit to the Iberian peninsula.
Most of my expectation setting happened at 34000 feet above ground and despite being closer to the heavens, it was like a staple Indian rice dish, the Khichrdi!
Khichrdi It basically is a rice-based dish with lentils, vegetables and pretty much anything that comes in a hand’s reach, mixed up. So Khichrdi is a synonym for when things are mixed up, entangled, spiraled and so on. You get it! Incidentally it has a long lost cousin in the Spanish Paellla, but this I learnt only on my travels.
With 16 nationalities being represented in a group of 30, the average International-ness of the Practicum would put any leading International Association’ biennial congress to shame, that is almost every second attendee was of a different nationality! Try beating that!!
So, the expectations were mixed: Looking at the attendee profile, I knew there would be some learning in it for me, an opportunity to transform some long standing acquaintances into friendships, break new ground, make new friends and so on…
Meeting Design is a new discipline, one that I have placed my bets on, making it one of the solution pillars of my start-up agency in India solving attendee engagement and creating more value for meeting owners off their events. Like all new entrants, it is trying to find firm ground and develop an identity, all its own, and in years to come. It sure will. However, it is as experiential as it gets, so I would spare my reader of reading my personal experiences and learnings from these pages, urging them to close their eyes and rack the left side of the cortex (usually used for imagining things).
Since ‘taste’ was much the ‘rice’ (binding bridge) of this khichrdi, let me draw an anomaly that the International reader of this blog will be more able to relate to.
My Practicum experience was no less than the magic potion of Druid Getafix (borrowing a character from the Asterix series) and pretty much stood for what it is: No one really knows what goes in but what comes out is a magic potion with secret ingredients that give superhuman strengths to who drinks it. In other words, it provides tremendous unimaginable value personal to the consumer. This is pretty much my experience at the Practicum 2017, put up together by the indomitable Eric De Groot and his friend & partner Mike van der Vijver.
There were new experiences, some learning and unlearning, but what stood out was overarching moments – some abstract, some profound, some remote, some clear, some foggy, some relaxing, some unnerving. A high point was an inter-personal evening, a unique and fulfilling experience for all of us, and that really brought in the essence of this event and its design!
Lalit Chadha, CMP, is Chief Curator, for SEES, Strategic Engagement & Event Solutions, India