Rock-climbing, Heritage walks, Mixology sessions, Art Walks, Ballroom bootcamps, Giveback initiatives, Wine-tasting, Photography courses, Pottery lessons .... The leisure activities segment is suddenly exploding in Gurgaon.
And a primary catalyst of this change is Get Alive Gurgaon, an online social activity and outdoors group that specializes in constructing offline, real-time, fun, learning experiences for its members.
"When we started a year ago," reminisces Namita Anand, the founder of the club, "the idea was simply to provide Gurgaon denizens a platform for exploring leisure options that went beyond the usual movie-ing, mall-ing, party-ing routine. Leisure options that allowed people to get out and "do" stuff."
"We decided we would organize interesting, offbeat, fun, learning-focused activities for our members in & around Gurgaon every month, month-after-month."
"Actually quite a few," says Pritha Dutt, co-directorof the club. She explains "Adults today have the time and inclination to explore different interests, learn new skills. Sometimes they just want to reconnect with their old passions."
"Yet when we look around us, hobby classes seem to be primarily geared towards children. And even if they are offered to adults, they are usually rather rigid and require major commitment."
"So when we offered people a format where people could access a sampling menu of activities, without any major commitment, at a time suitable to them, and with a like-minded group, the response was positive."
Today the group is already 400 members strong, and too only on basis of word-of-mouth referrals. Members appreciate the interesting activity mix and flexible format Get Alive offers. Also there is comfort in knowing that since the group follows a screening process, all members are on the same page.
So in essence, the typical leisure-related headaches - what to do, whom to do it with, would I really enjoy it...- are dealt with
Say you have been contemplating learning dance but don't want to commit to month-long classes; you could sign up for the Get Alive Ballroom Bootcamp. Two intensive sessions and you know whether you want to do this or not.
Or maybe there are one-off things you would like to learn - make-up, bartending, art appreciation; the club organizes sessions with leading experts, at interesting venues.
Typically members are discerning, active, successful urban professionals of vintage late 20s-40s. They might hail from diverse fields, but share at least some common interests. The group is open to both singles and couples. In fact, Get Alive makes it a point to organize at least one activity a month that is open to kids as well.
While earlier the group concentrated on introductory sessions, a great way to sample new activities, now on popular demand it is offering members longer courses as well.
Being a part of a group also helps people overcome inertia. Case in point - A "Fun & Games Day for Slum Kids," organized by Get Alive. Not only did members contribute generously to the cause; many of them came to support and cheer the children on. The group was able to raise donations to the tune of Rs 50,000 - in cash and kind - for the kids. And the only regret people seemed to have "wish I could have done a little more."
Goes to show the concept of leisure does seem to be truly changing in Gurgaon.