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Colaba going child-friendly

Friday, 2 May 2014 - 8:40pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Is Funville in Colaba the answer to many a harried SoBo parent’s prayers? dna downtown finds out

How often have we heard parents of toddlers and young children craving for some ‘me-time’? There is no dearth of parental love there, but having plunged into parenthood, one cannot stop being everything else. Most parents (if not all) need some time off from their 247-parenting schedule. This is where a safe and well thought out indoor play area like Funville comes to their rescue.  

Conceived by Anees and Hina Jumani, Funville is the Jumanis’ first entrepreneurial venture. After a successful career in the financial sector at Goldman Sachs, Hina started working in a Montessori in the US. The concept of Funville came to the Jumanis when they shifted to Mumbai in 2011. Pregnant with her second child, Hina, much to her chagrin, found that there was no place where she could uninhibitedly keep her older child–a place where he would be safe without she keeping an eye on him. This made Hina realise the need of indoor play centres in South Mumbai.

On being asked why they chose Colaba, Hina promptly says, “Colaba is the tourist hub of Mumbai. It is centrally located and is in close proximity to the Taj Mahal Hotel, the Gateway of India, Colaba Causeway and the Radio Club. We have planned Funville such that residents as well as tourists can leave their children to play here in a safe and secure environment, while they go around shopping, dining, sightseeing and generally enjoying themselves in SoBo.”

The Jumanis have thoughtfully incorporated elements for children as well as for the parents. The soft play area is segregated into a Toddler zone and Junior zone, based on the age of the child. Grown ups and older children can play air hockey, foosball and video games here. Along with this, adults can also relax at the café, avail the free Wi-Fi or catch up on their reading at the library corner. Hina shares, “We think mothers and children will really appreciate the importance of this concept during the scorching summer and the intense downpour of Mumbai monsoons.” 

Elaborating on how such an indoor play area can add to the overall development of children, Hina says, “Play and learn is very importance. We have seen how children in the west are more practical because they believe in the concept of play and learn. Children need time to develop their play.  They like having indoor and outdoor spaces, and often enjoy playing with other children and adults. They also need props such as toys and child-friendly equipment. They love to make choices about when, what, where, how, and with whom to play.”

The Jumanis conducted intensive market research on indoor play areas around the world and surveys with local mothers before coming up with the concept of Funville. Hina says, “Being a mother of two little darlings, I know that this kind of a set-up was much needed in the area. My husband and I have put much thought behind Funville’s offerings, thanks to our shared experiences and learning from parenthood. We are sure every parent in this neighbourhood and even beyond will find this to be a compelling idea.”

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