Childhood Chronicles: MediaCom’s Navin Khemka walks down memory lane

Yeh daulat bhi le lo 
Yeh shauhrat bhi le lo 
Bhale cheen lo, mujhse meri jawaani 
Magar mujhko lauta do bachpan ka saawan 
Woh kaaghaz ki kashti, woh baarish ka paani...  

Poignant words that portray a longing for one’s childhood days. On the occasion of Children’s Day this year, Adgully and Discovery Kids speak to some well-known names in the M&E industry to relive their childhood days and share the experiences that have shaped them. 

Featured first is Navin Khemka, CEO, MediaCom. Khemka has over two decades of experience across various categories and brands as well as a nuanced expertise in media strategy, planning and buying. He joined MediaCom as CEO for South Asia in July 2018. 

Khemka started his career with DDB Mudra, and has worked with agencies such as Mindshare, Carat, Cheil Communications, ZenithOptimedia, and Wavemaker. A skilful problem solver and a people manager, capable of handling both creative and business fronts, Khemka brings his balanced perspective and invaluable knowledge to the company. 

A childhood memory which is unforgettable?
My first holiday in Puri, when I caught the glimpse of the Bay of Bengal for the first time. It was a magical moment to see the sea, sand and blue sky! 

A childhood lesson you learnt that still motivates you?
Discipline is critical for success. Have seen it in my school and also at home. I firmly believe that only if we are disciplined can we be focused in our tasks – personal or official. 

A hobby that you still have?
I used to collect stamps and first day covers. Since we do not receive any physical letters nowadays, I keep adding to this collection when I visit a new country and go to the Philatelic Bureau. 

A person you looked up to or a mentor who shaped you as a person?
I would not name a person. I was lucky to have a great set of teachers who did this for me. 

As a child, the one thing you and your friends used to do that children today no longer do?
We used to spend a lot of time playing games and also just having an ‘adda’ session. There were no mobile phones and we were never distracted. 

What were the shows that you watched on television as a kid?
As a kid I would love watching the ‘Knight Rider’ (Bangladesh TV) and I loved ‘Lucy’. 

When it comes to kids’ content, what do you think is the role of the broadcaster?
Content that will shape the kids’ future – intriguing, safe and encourage them for a lot of outdoor activity. 

How do you see the evolution of kids’ content in India? 
A great deal of investment is going into this space. Earlier, most of this content was dubbed/ imported. Now, broadcasters are investing in local content that is well researched. 

What are the 3 things from your childhood that you feel should return? 
Simplicity, carefree days and a childhood full of experiences. 

How do you see children of today impacting buying decisions of the family? 
On products that they will consume, children are decision makers! On others, they are influencers.


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