“It’s funny how every cliché rings true about motherhood. It’s literally like having your heart walk outside your body at all times. It changes one’s perspective and priorities completely, you transform into this super-efficient human being who can multitask and face any challenge head-on,” says Chandrika Behl, Director of the Exhibitions India Group, Krackerjack Karnival.
Exhibitions India Group was launched with an intention to play an integral role in India’s growth. Their core objective is to encourage trade, both inbound and outbound, by organising expos in India and abroad, and by taking Indian companies to participate at international shows to explore new markets.
“We act as intermediaries and guide our clients towards relevant platforms, which would help them achieve their business objectives. We take pride in the fact that we help international brands explore the Indian market, while also helping Indian companies establish themselves in the global market,” says Chandrika.
The growing up years
Born in Delhi, Chandrika attended Modern School and followed by a course in Global Management (Finance and Management) from the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California in Los Angeles. A two-year stint followed at a software company and that, Chandrika says, was one of her greatest learning experiences.
“The professional exposure was tremendous. Then there was working with colleagues who belonged to different nationalities who imbibed in me a sense of professionalism – learning to be efficient during challenging times and adhering to the deadline at the same time,” says Chandrika. This virtue stuck to her when she turned entrepreneur.
Krackerjack Karnival is no ‘mela’, says Chandrika
When the founders were planning the Krackerjack Karnival, the initial discussions revolved around the concept being a ‘mela’ of some kind, which Chandrika says it is not. It took the team quite some time to build the understanding within the market about Krackerjack Karnival – and also amongst visitors. But surprisingly, the concept picked up well and really fast in the target sector.
“We create a festival that serves as a perfect opportunity for quality family time in a comfortable and safe environment. For our exhibitors and partners it’s the perfect opportunity to connect with their audience on a one-to-one basis, conduct research and dipstick studies, network and build on their existing database,” says Chandrika.
And the company only plans to grow, with more shows being launched in different cities. But as they say, they are in no hurry to expand as they are more focussed on high quality.
Chandrika reveals that it is her kids Samaira and Zayan who are the real reason behind her coming up with the concept of Krackerjack Karnival.
As a parent, she felt it was unfair on kids that the only place they were taken to by parents were malls. “They need an environment that sparks their creativity that encourages them to think and learn,” argues Chandrika.
In India, until a few years ago, there wasn’t a single platform centred on kids and their needs. The need was for an environment which enables kids to learn new things while having fun, all in a secure setting under the watchful eyes of their parents.
As a parent of two young kids, Chandrika felt compelled to utilise the resources she had available to create the kind of events she would like. Today Exhibitions India Group is India’s leading trade fair organiser, whose expertise lies in conceptualising B2B international expos.
Being a mum is a full time job
“I have tremendous respect for stay at home moms, because it’s the most demanding and underrated job. Being a mom is certainly a full time job,” says Chandrika adding that she is one of the fortunate ones to have a strong support system in terms of her family, who have encouraged her to continue working even during some real difficult times.
“It’s a bit of a juggling act that you perform – you have all these balls in the air, and you can’t let even one fall,” she says. “I think we have to stop feeling guilty about the life choices that we make as mothers. It’s not about the quantity but the quality of time that you spend together as a family, and along with your children. Being a working mother, you have to multitask, and there will be family emergencies, missed school events, and crisis situations at work. But it’s all worth it in the end if you can take it with a pinch of salt,” says this mother. Also she believes that working mothers make great role models for their children, passing on the valuable lessons of being self-sufficient and resourceful human beings.
“I want to set an example especially for my daughter Samaira, for her to see that women should use their experience, education, and abilities for the benefit of their family and society at large,” says this inspiring mompreneur.
Creating a positive impact on kids’ lives
It is the belief that she is creating a positive impact in the lives of children and their families that motivates Chandrika the most. She would love to see Krackerjack Karnival as setting a precedent for world-class event for kids and says she is the happiest when parents walk up to her and say that they loved the show.
Chandrika and her team visit a lot of international events to be abreast of the latest products, services, and workshops available internationally for children, the goal being to incorporate best emerging trends and get it to an Indian audience.