My first venture as an intern at The Fatsmeagol Collective was to be a part of the social media marketing team at The Lil Flea Market. I have always heard that name being bandied about a lot and it fleetingly conjured up past futile plans of attending the flea, having always ensconced an affinity for anything that involves food, clothes, jewellery, quirky games, workshops and live indie bands. I guess it was serendipity but when I finally got around to attending it this year, I got a chance to be both a part of it and work behind the scenes in making it the perfect weekend getaway that it is.
The first two days of The Lil Flea was every bit the snazzy, quirky, offbeat and fun amalgamation that I had envisaged. People loitering around dressed to the nines, in their glamorous, glitzy best amidst flamboyant stalls selling an eclectic mix of clothes, jewellery, home décor and dream catchers, coupled with the soft strains of the bands mellowing in the background offered the best possible distraction from the sweltering sun that did nothing to subdue the mirth and festivity inundating the festival.
Sakshi Kadam, Merolin Dsouza, Nikita Sharma and I were working tirelessly with various bloggers and personalities like Ayesha Adlakha, Madhura Bhogale, Aiana, Malvika Billa and Mumbai Foodie’s Ronak. Rukmini Guha oversaw the social media marketing efforts for these two days and ensured that every upload and post took place seamlessly. Sakshi was painstakingly trying to manage all the volunteers at the flea, whilst managing to do her own work. Nikita seemed pretty much distraught by the end of the day, with the prospect of all the work she had to do pretty much taking its toll on her, leaving her with a perpetual anxious face. Regardless of all that, she ended up playing the role of a guardian angel –literally-by reuniting not one, but two lost kids at the flea with their respective parents who were desperately trying to track them down. Merolin and I, on the other hand, had our share of fun by trying to juggle between different influencers, and instructions buzzing around us at the same time. Some of our common works involved going around doing errands, ensuring that the photography and videography unravels without any glitches and ensuring prompt, quick uploads and live videos on various social media platforms to lure and cajole people into being a part of the Lil Flea. Communicating incessantly with every other department and volunteers on walkie-talkies to ensure everything unfurls seamlessly was another task we, and the tantalizing aroma of the delectable food filling our nostrils throughout all these chores enhanced our exhilarating experience.
Next week’s Lil Flea also unravelled in all grandeur, with the jostling crowd remaining as indefatigable as ever, seemingly unscathed by the scorching sun and as keen on having a bash at the Lil Flea as before. The flea market witnessed new shops and food counters popping up, some serving to efface the previous week’s shops. Kommune, one of India’s most exciting arts forum, also joined the Lil Flea this week with some of their fervent sessions. The vibrant décor seemed as flamboyant as ever and the propelling water fountain near the entrance seemed to have grown more vigorous, with the occasional spritz of water from it acting to appease our frayed nerves, owing to the myriad instructions and orders whizzing past us. Ishita Shelat, our Chief Amazement Officer, also joined us this week to manage the social media marketing while also managing to bolster and liven our spirits. This week’s Lil Flea also saw other bloggers we are associated with making their advent at The Lil Flea like Shiksha, Hemal from What Wear How, Feroza Shaikh, Anjali Uppal, Nicole from Team Naach along with Malvika Billa, Sakshi Pradhan and Madhura Bhogale from last week. This kept Sakshi and Merolin constantly on the run, grappling to coordinate with everyone and promote their activities. Merolin, Ishita, and I were coordinating with Madhura, who also happens to be The Lil Flea’s Style Partner, as she sauntered around, occasionally getting drawn to check out different shops and food counters, while Yash, our photographer, clicked away relentlessly to get those coveted, perfect shots. Apart from partaking in the mirth of shopping and trying out different food, Madhura also interacted with her contest winners from Instagram who were at the flea, which was overseen by Madhura whilst Sakshi was trying to handle the Kid’s Stop Press’ promotion efforts, which was happening in another, far-flung corner of Jio Garden. A glitch with the walkie-talkies ensued to add to the conundrum of handling and coordinating with different influencers and bloggers at the same time, which was fraught with the incessant clamour of voices emanating from the walkie-talkies. Besides our coordination with the bloggers, yet another major task we had was to handle the social media command centre for live interactions and constantly curate and supervise the content for The Lil Flea, along with instructing and coordinating with other volunteers for this. Rayyan Rashid Shaikh, our Tribe Chief, supervised and oversaw all of our collective efforts to keep all social media platforms abuzz with the wonders of The Lil Flea and our coordination with the influencers. Through the combined efforts of the social media command centre and the bloggers’ interactions, the collective reach that we managed is as follows:
Total Reach- 1,07,000
Total Engagement- 8,479
After an arduous day of working, we would take a quick break by joining the rest of the thronging crowd at night, lying down on the green, artificial turf or seeking a more private, cosy solace inside one of the many resplendent, snug little tents intermittently spread across the sprawling grounds. There were also those swathes of spaces between the shops, under the iridescent bulbs swaying in the night breeze, where we would meet and exchange pleasantries. Watching and partaking in the fun, nonchalant atmosphere, gobbling food, watching the bands and other performances, gazing at the colourful fountain spiralling up and down and attracting a horde of awestruck kids, the cacophony of the many games and workshops, the skittish shopping efforts to get one’s hands on the best trinkets, clothes and the other joys of the flea market offered a perfect leeway from the relentless work of the day. The midnight movie watching session at the end of every day’s events served as the ultimate stress buster to culminate our hard day’s work. All in all, The Fatsmeagol Collective worked, relished, built relations and breezed our ways through the Lil Flea, adding one more memorable event to our work itinerary.
Photos by: Yash Maheshwari