The evening was settling in the aftermath of the rain, it was the cyclone that was impacting the weather cycle of the city. I was blog hopping as usual when I come across the IndiBlogger page with a banner which read as “60 IndiBloggers get a chance to travel to Goa”. Being a travel enthusiast and also a loyal follower of the IndiBlogger events, this wasn’t something I was going to miss. Though the selection part was secondary, but I had to apply, after all it was GOA we are talking about!
It was a lazy afternoon, by lazy I mean I was lazying around without doing any actual work. While #TheFlash was testing his speed, the phone buzzed. It was an unfamiliar number. And I don’t make them wait, hoping that it would be girl. Yes, too high hopes, but can you blame me? When I heard the word IndiBlogger, I started smiling. I knew what it was about before the caller had even mentioned about it. But, I assured myself not to get too excited since I have a knack of running into bad timings and unforeseen circumstances forcing me to cancel the plans I had so wished not to miss. I kept myself from even thinking about it. But the Twitter and Whatsapp was abuzz with the news and people started pouring in their excitement. I was excited beyond reproach, yet I maintained my calm. No, it is not because I am always silent.
Fast forward one week, people’s concern for the tickets and the incessant rains in Chennai disrupted the plan for a few, including me. But nevertheless, the tough times didn’t stop the crew behind the scenes from getting the things sorted out. A few minor setbacks were expected while managing a huge group, but nothing that couldn’t be solved.
I realized my name was misprinted. Oh, snap! I know right? After a few exchange of emails and the airlines were informed and a plan was set. Like I said, nothing that couldn’t be solved. Though I had a feeling that I just might have to head back home.
It was a cold morning and thankfully it didn’t rain. Because then I would have had to worry about my shoes as well. I reached the airport just in time. By in time, I mean an hour early. By an hour early, I mean an hour early than the time it is necessary. I don’t like missing the flight and most importantly I don’t like being late . So, better careful and go early than sorry, keeping in mind the morning traffic at Bangalore. I was set to Goa. There was a genuine sigh of relief when I got through that. As I was following the updates of the fellow bloggers, I just hope to not get late. Guess what, the flight didn’t take off at the scheduled time. I was still waiting while hey announced that due to certain legality issues, the flight take off was delayed. A couple of minutes later, it was announced that the flight crew was changing. After waiting for over half an hour, the flight finally started moving. Finally, GOA.
Dec 5, 2 : 20 PM
Touchdown. I was supposed to reach at 1:30 PM. And by this time more than half of the people have already reached and even had their lunch. I so wished that I was on the same flight as others were. May be that could have given more chance to interact (am I exaggerating too much?) with and get to know before we even landed in Goa. I was greeted by the Tata Zica team and was escorted to the Alila Diwa Hotel, alone. It felt like I was getting the VIP treatment. It took me close to thirty minutes to reach the hotel. And the first look at the resort did not disappoint me at all.
Alila Diwa Resort
Dec 5, 2:55 PM
I finally reached the resort and met the Indiblogger team, well Anoop to be exact. After the details and the luggage taken care of, I went to have lunch. I met Sid for the first time who had just finished his lunch and has warned that the food was in less quantity since it was already so late assuring that he wasn’t the reason for that. And he wasn’t kidding either, I grab whatever I can and head to sit down when I was given a warm welcome by BlogwatiG. It was warm, alright but wasn’t expecting anyone to recognize me. So, was taken aback a bit trying to sink in the feeling that someone knows me. Though she did ask whether she scared me, I assured her that I was a rather strong guy despite the looks. After lunch, I was on my way to the room where I heard my name. That shocked me yet again. Who knows my name? And it was a girls’ voice. I was already day dreaming. I had been having these deja vu’s a lot lately. I look around. No one. Then, I see Ankita (Anks), the curator of the WhatsApp group who brought the people (ahem Bloggers) closer to avoid the first time meeting (I-don’t-know-you) barrier (Ok, I just made that up).
The Room at Alila Diwa
Anoop had quite a shock before the event even began. While we were being whisked away in a Car, Anoop was sitting along with us (three guys) in the back.
Guy 1 : So, you are with the Zica team ?
Anoop : Totally taken by surprise thinks what to answer.
Me : *trying to help* He is Anoop from IndiBlogger.
Guy 2 : Anoop, how did you come up with the idea of IndiBlogger?
Guy 1 to Me : *wishpering* He is the founder of IndiBlogger?
Me : Yup.
Guy 1 was so embarrassed, he apologized all the way to the beach.
The sun kissed sea in its splendid attire, the blue sky overhead, the cool breeze of the ocean was just the thing we all needed. And who doesn’t love beaches, when they are super clean. I had been in Visakhapatnam for four years. My college was just beside the beach, yes, you read it right, the beach was just across the road. But only that it wasn’t as clean as we wanted it to be. [Back to reality from flashback] The wind was blowing through the hair, spoiling it. Argh, I hate it when I spend half an hour on hair and it just takes one second for the wind to disrupt, destroy and make mess of it. After sinking the feet into the ocean waves, I mean chilling the best we could, we had a soccer match. After all, Lionel Messi is the Brand Ambassador and a football match is a must. It was a pretty intense game and thanks to the sand, running was one hell of a task. A couple of matches and after winding up with everything, we headed back to the hotel for the next item in the Day’s agenda.
The story frozen in moments :
The #fantastico Movie shoot still #314
Roshan with two senoritas.
Take Number 30, Anoop getting frustrated
How many times do I have to tell these guys ?
The Dilwale story continues …
Ankita’s Reaction to the shot.
Oh no no, I can’ see this ! – Sammya
Need to add car flipping scene here. Anoop to Vineet
The Perfect Shot
Someone’s in trouble – Anoop
My Nikon Battery. – Ankita.
Dec 5, 6 : 00 PM
The bloggers after relishing their time at the beach were all set for the high tea where the central idea was to meet and interact with everyone. Anoop from the IndiBlogger team headed the interactive session about all the blogging stories. The evening was beautiful with the people laughing and talking while the host of the day took the mike and made a quick round of blogger introductions and discussed about the plan for the next day. We were split into 20 teams with three members in each team and we were supposed to choose a variant to be driven. Ekta, out captain, erm driver, chose a Petrol variant of Tata Zica. I was along with Sid and Ekta, two of the great bloggers were Team P3.
Dec 5, 7 : 00 PM : Lockers Room
The locker room is a typical replica of the Locker room we usually find in the Soccer stadiums, only that the lockers had awesome goodies – A Tata Motors – Messi Jersey, a Sip up bottle, Messi’s jersey replica Pendrive-Keychain combo, a notepad, a carryon bag and a file with the Product details. After admiring the goodies we had a surprise in store. Our coach for the had arrived and it was none other than Cyrus. Cyrus had a one on one with Delna Avari, who met Messi and got him to be the Brand Ambassador for Tata Motors. She explained how humble Lionel Messi was and how he was truly #madeOfGreat as a person in spite of his career achievements in Football.
Cyrus then introduced Pratap Bose who gave a walkthrough on the design aspects of Tata Zica. He explained the journey from the inception of the idea through the clay replica to the actual manufacturing of the car. It was then time for the technical aspects of the car. The backbone of any car lies on how efficiently can the car deliver and meet the user’s expectation. The more economical, the more a person would prefer a car. Anand Kulkarni gave us the indepth walkthrough on the design features and the technology that has been used in the car, about how it is next generation.
Vaishaki, Zainab, Abhi and me. Wait, Why the hell did my Hair go Clark Kent on me ? PS : I am SuperMan. Shhh!
Finally the curtains were raised and the much awaited car was finally revealed – Tata Zica. It takes the name after the advent feature of the car that it being Zippy – Zippy Car. There were counter set up describing each feature of the car. There will be six variants of the car in the following months. One of the best feature is the customizable air vents, the color of which can be user defined. After learning about the different aspects of the car, its features and breaking it down part by part though photos, it was time for dinner, as we call it socializing.
The evening settled in the slow music while the calm atmosphere gradually witnessed the clinking glasses and laughter of the people. The delicacies were set and the people mingled with each other over words, jokes and rap battles. We had some great karoake songs with Maitreni, Vishaki, Anita, Cyrus, Pratap and our own Yo Yo Honey Queen BlogwatiG (Vinita). The karaoke ended with a Hindi number while everyone joined the dance floor to shake a leg while the champagne followed the rhythm of the steps and beats.
The agenda of the day was over and as you might have guessed, everyone was already tired. But no one was willing to hit the bed, just yet. There was so much to talk, so much to learn, so much to do, yet the time was against us. Yet, most of us made the best of what was available. After clicking a few pictures, I settled into my bed, the comfiest it could ever be. I usually sleep at 4AM, and given the things that I did, I should have slept by 2AM, the concession for the tiredness, but the bed had a different way of relaxing the lazy bones. I did sleep at 2 AM, though I had no plan of shutting the eye that night, but it was too relaxing and I gave in.
The morning started as usual, by me hitting the Snooze Button for 2 hours straight. Eventually I got up and put on the oversized Jersey. The breakfast section was swamped with a variety. I had a hard time deciding what to eat and ended up picking up everything one by one. I finally ate a month’s’ lunch. My mom would have been very happy to know that. Just as then, Sid caught up with me along with Ekta and the Team P3 was ready to roll, I mean drive. It was time to head out and experience the Zica drive. After the rules had been set and the instructions handed out, 20 Zica cars with 3 bloggers each headed on a 20km drive. The drive included challenges, of course and the winners would win vouchers. This was a pretty decent deal to win vouchers.
The cars were lined up and waited with their engines roaring. The flag was waved off and the race began. The GPS navigation lady was doing pretty good for a few minutes when suddenly we realized that we took a wrong turn at the previous intersection. It was the start of the “Take a U turn when possible” repeated over the surround sound system. But we were pretty swift with following the map, despite the technical difficulties put forth by the voice navigation. We along another team were perfectly following the directions without getting lost. It was a pretty smooth ride, with the surround sound rocking the car. The car was pretty swift at taking sharp turns and the U turn with no hassle.
We headed back slowly troubling strangers while completing challenges one by one. We had already checked out of our rooms in the morning and we were provided two rooms to get refreshed. Now I had my lunch early before the stock got over. And before we knew, it was time to head back to the Airport. After the hassle of Airport was done, I met Ragini Puri, and I am pretty sure she didn’t even recognize me. I also met Ankita Singhal for the first time at the airport. I attempted the Spock Hand which is her go-to emoticon, but she high-fived me. Umm, okay that works too. After waiting for another hour or so, we finally boarded the flight and landed back in Bangalore.
The trip was over but the memories will stay on and will be cherished forever.
Now, I have to say this : All the bloggers, I repeat every blogger I had met / not met out there are truly #madeOfGreat ; handsDown, Mic Drop, Period.
The #Fantastico Squad
Ankita Bhatia Dhawan
(The Admin of the WhatsApp group, without whom half of us would have been lost)
( The Selfie Queen ruling with a Spock Hand Emblem)
( My Roommate )
Vinita Bahl aka BlogwatiG
(The Rapper in disguise, the center of attraction, the Everything-in-One package)
( The Funny tooth )
( Who is Anoop ? Wait, is he the founder of IndiBlogger ? )
( BlogBuddy @ BlogChatter, Photographer )
( The bahu everyone is looking for)
( Photographer in competition. Dude, get off my turf okay? )
( Team mate, Former F1 driver and a combination of fun and team spirit bundled in one )
( The Foddie, foodie, foodie [damn my keyboard got stuck and it’s repeating the words] , a photographer and an equally talented writer and COOK [emphasis on this word] )
Roshan – PythoRoshan
( The Doc with a knack of operating words with humor and well, looking after patients in his part time )
( The fun is in the house, wait did you say Food? )
( The combination of fun and funny)
( Where there is no limit to talent , creativity and fun)
Now, the IndiBlogger Team is equally #madeOfGreat too.
( Always the one to introduce me to fellow bloggers. Always the on to remember me, even if no one does )
( The support during the logistics and a great photographer )
Give it up for the smile.
( The logistics expert )
And last but not the least Lionel Messi ( My dear Friend ) ahem ahem, I mean The Tata Motors Team for inviting and giving us the first preview of the Zippy Car.
Before I wrap it up, I must apologize for all the people whom I haven’t met. Really sorry about that. I hope to meet and interact with you all next time. _______________________ This post is written for IndiBlogger in association with Tata Motors #madeOfGreatby Me since I have so much time in my hand.