Celebrating the seventh edition with seven elements of nature
When the Hospitality Purchasing Managers’ Forum (HPMF) decided to celebrate their seventh anniversary in September in Jodhpur one would have thought it would be just another Association planning up the number game … quite the contrary.
From the very start, team HPMF announced the celebration via word-of mouth and then via social media. The information was detailed with messages on WhatsApp and email. In the weeks that preceded the event, there was a continuous communication from the team and its inimitable Founder and General Secretary, Nitin Nagrale. The leader and the team dedicated time and effort to build up the suspense in the days to leading to the event. The flawless planning of the event at Indana Palace was evident and reassuring to all those who had to travel to Rajasthan for the event. It could not have been an easy task co-ordinating the travel and stay of delegates and guests from across the country.
Day one was intended to create an experience of Jodhpur with a trip to the historical Mehrangarh Fort and a taste of the delicious Pyaaz ki Kachori and tea. A visit to Umaid Bhavan, the home of the Maharaja, where part of the palace is operated by the Taj Group of Hotels followed and then on to the Bijolai Palace for cocktails and a royal sit-down dinner where guests were seated on mattresses and served in thalis on ‘bajots’ by staff in traditional attire. There was traditional entertainment for the evening and interaction between all present – a good start to the event. The Managing Director of Ginger Hotels, Rahul Pandit; Giriraj Singh Lotwara and the CMD of Nimrana Hotels Aman Nath were among the 350 people who attended the three-day convention. Speaking to Clean India Journal at Bijolai Palace, Nitin Nagrale, the Founder and General Secretary and the brainchild behind the entire planning, said, “It is the seventh anniversary and everything revolves around the number ‘seven’. We have weaved in the seven elements of nature… we will be wearing the seven types of (safas) turbans, calling in the seven sarpanchs (village heads) and honouring them… everything is associated with the auspicious number of seven.”
Day two was the start of the Convention and commenced with stating the strength and objectives of HPMF. The Forum today is a group of 1,500 procurement professionals spread across India. “We have chapters now in Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kochi and Goa. In fact, we have crossed borders, and are setting up the chapter in Dubai. We already have 98 members and will be launching the chapter in January next year,” Nitin Nagrale said in the opening session.
The Guest of Honour, Giriraj Singh Lotwara extended a warm welcome to the participants and congratulated HPMF for bringing their 7th Anniversary Celebrations to the state of Rajasthan. He said that though everyone knows that HPMF stands for Hospitality Purchasing Managers Forum his version is Humanity Promotion Managers Forum!
With the vision to change the way hospitality purchasing is viewed, Nitin Nagrale is steering the procurement fraternity on the path to success with the compass of knowledge and direction. With a strong focus on knowledge sharing, networking and B2B interaction, the sessions of the second day had some passionate speakers discussing some unique topics. They included Ram Kumar Karb who is carving a niche in organic farming with a focus on eco-friendly and healthy sugar. Pankaj Mehta detailed the qualities and tools requires to be a Game Changer. While most environmental concerns focus on Green practices, the need for constructing Green Hotel was established by Mala Singh. This was followed by a successful round of B2B meetings where there was a fruitful interaction between partners and delegates.
The entire delegation travelled to Mathania, a village about 75km away from the Indana Resort, where the seven Sarpanchs (village heads) who are managing a population of 3500 were felicitated along with the seven stars of HPMF. But the starry, starry night did not end there! On to Camp Thar… the desert destination!!! The journey was a long and arduous one. By the Camp encompassed 600m area of desert which was transformed to replicate a village fair with meticulously planned food stalls serving local cuisine, other local handicrafts on sale, the hookah experience, camel rides, alcohol in earthen glasses, music and dance with a local flavour and a seating under a canopy of stars and sand beneath our feet. It was a perfect display of hospitality in its ultimate crescendo with the exception of the drone hovering overhead doing what it was supposed to do!!! It would be clichéd but true to say that everyone returned tired but happy!!!
Day three commenced with the tying of the ‘safa’. Pleasant hues were chosen providing a vibrant start to the morning session with a myriad colours in the conference room. For most people, the daily routine is a race to complete essential tasks and more often than not failing to savour the moment. In the opening presentation, Inseeya Khambati urged all the delegates to focus on the awareness of the mind. ‘Learning from the leaders’ was skilfully moderated by Marcel Parker. Mentors and mentees interacted in a discussion on following a career path to climb the ladder. The panel members were Dr. Celina Joy, Sanjay Goel, Sunil Kuttan and Nitin Nagrale.
Viewing the Vande Mataram video created for HPMF was a measure of the solidarity of the group! The crowning glory was the arrival of HH Maharaj Gaj Singhji of Jodhpur. With a guard of honour formed by all the delegates that extended from the entrance of the hotel into the ballroom, the Maharaja was escorted onto the stage amidst fanfare and a shower of petals. The protocol of introduction and felicitation complete, there was a hushed silence in the audience to listen to his message. In a heartfelt and genuine speech, he thanked HPMF for bringing the convention to Jodhpur and expressed a sincere appreciation of the efforts taken for organizing the convention. Unfortunately, the outdoor photo session had to be re-scheduled. In a city where rain is a rare occurrence, it was as if the heavens were showering blessings on the event. The event also found a place in the Asia Book of Records with 311 people wearing the turban together organized by the HPMF. A special word of praise to the photographer who managed to capture the entire group wearing turbans and some with swords, in one frame. This was printed and displayed later that evening.
Creating Asian record of highest member of Safa’s worn by 311 delegates
The word ‘transformation’ is usually associated with the word ‘awestruck’ as was the case when listening to the speech by Amar Nath on ‘How Neemrana turns utter ruins into Hotels!’
The Grand Finale at the Pratap Niwas Palace was a fitting conclusion to the convention. Dance, song, a ramp walk and on-the-spot contests were interspersed with the presentation of awards. There were seven Procurement Excellence award winners. There was a Lifetime Achievement Award and the Living Legends Awards. HPMF also presented awards to seven Indian Achievers from different walks of life. The American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute have specially designed a certification for Purchase Managers. Those who successfully completed the course were presented with the certificates. Cocktails and dinner continued late into the night, new friendships were made and connections discovered and everyone was in high spirits as the event concluded.
There were adequate moments converted to memories, but we loved the perfect pair of puppets gifted to us by the HPMF team which we carried home – a memento that will forever be the reason to narrate the story of the Seventh Anniversary Celebrations of HPMF in Jodhpur!