It was another hectic day at the workplace. The keyboard was being put to good use, when the net connection snapped without warning. A few frantic calls later, order had been restored. With the inbox overflowing with messages, there was one that grabbed the attention. The wonderful folks at IndiBlogger had mailed in to say that the ‘HexaExperience’ was on for the weekend.
Tata Motors, in conjunction with IndiBlogger was inviting 60 bloggers from around the country, to have a go at their latest flagship offering – the Hexa! Ever the unabashed wheels-man, I began to drool at the prospect of taking Tata’s finest effort so far & putting it through its paces before the car hit the showrooms! Not wanting to let this opportunity get away, I took a shot in the dark, filled in the details at the end of the link & hit the submit button. Boom! Dark deed done, it was time to get back to the pending work. Forgot all about the ‘Hexa Experience’ application & flamed out late into the night.
New day dawned, same old routine. Fired up the pending emails & spotted something that had me do a little dance at that early hour in the day. The good folks at IndiBlogger had responded, saying that I was in. Yes, that’s right, I had made the cut-off. Yippee.
There was still a tonne of work waiting, plus the weekend spent driving meant that I’d be working for three weeks on the trot. None of it mattered. From having seen the Hexa at the AutoExpo in Delhi earlier in the year, to sampling the car on the company test-track, I’d been following the Hexa rather closely. To now be driving it on public roads, way before its commercial launch, was sweet progression.
Packed in the bag only hours before heading out for the flight, there was equal parts excitement & pre-drive jitters. Waiting to board the flight, I tried to look out for the other bloggers from Bombay, but didn’t know anyone by face, so ended up sitting quietly in my seat.
The thing about Twitter is that we interact with a ton of folks, typically knowing them only by their handles & their words. But put us face-to-face, and we end up struggling to recognize the person. This happened to me on the flight into Hyderabad with published poet Ashwini Dodani. As I responded to his Tweet calling out blogger from Mumbai, I realized he’d been sitting a row behind. Yep, my face did meet my palm back there. Pleasantries exchanged, we got back to our seats & strapped in for the ride. It was only later that I’d know about a slight twist in this part of the tale.
Thanks to a partial runway closure, the flight took off over 30 minutes late. This meant that by the time we landed in Hyderabad, the first lot of bloggers had already checked in at the Novotel. What saved the day was the fact that the hotel is a mere 10 minutes away & we were at the reception before we knew it.
Walking up to the registration desk, the IndiBlogger team was already set-up with the rooming list & the assorted documentation for the drive. Went around the block in search of the room, but not before stopping to snap up the gorgeous corridor at Novotel. The room looked splendid & our welcome kits were smartly displayed at one edge of the bed. When I realized that my rooming partner, Sanjay Thampy had been sitting in the same row two seats away on the flight in, it was time for the second ‘face meets palm’ moment of this trip.
Blame my terrible memory (Volatile Memory Disorder, as I like to call it) or whatever, but I usually take a fair bit of time warming up to people. Till then, I’ll struggle with my name-place-background reference data to embarrassing effect. Which is why, when I walked into the hall for the product & driving safety briefing, I was a bundle of nerves. But thanks to a few familiar faces & the dimly lit ambience, I got away once again!
Caught up with the ever so funny Giridhar and also introduced myself to the mighty Atul Maharaj. Funnily enough, I ended up using my real name & the blank look that appeared on his face was proof that I’m not alone on the whole name-face-location-reference thing. A quick ‘theangrysaint’ drop & a huge smile appeared – yes, another online-offline conversion had been made. Nihal kicked things off for the evening, getting us to do some insanely silly stuff.
It was then time to belt-in, as Ashish Sahni Head – Digital Marketing at Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles took the stage and the product briefing got underway. Richard Windsor, from the Design Team at Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles, gave us a highly educating peek into the design journey of the Tata Hexa. Vivek Srivatsa, Head – Marketing at Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles too was part of the product briefing team on stage.
Some of the key touch points of this ‘HexaExperience’ session revolved around the IMPACT Design journey, the four driving modes collectively called ‘Super-Drive’, the innovative Auto-Transmission with its ‘Race-Car’ mode, the specially designed JBL-Branded multi-speaker infotainment system, the dedicated Smart-Phone apps and the gorgeous 19-inch Alloys that the car sports. More on these things in the Driving Impression that’ll follow this one.
Hunger was starting to creep up, but before we made our way to the buffet, it was time to partner up for next morning’s drive. We were to be 3 Bloggers to each Hexa with a Tata Motors team member joining us to make sure we don’t run amok! My co-passengers turned out to be Priya Shiva – ex-IT HR turned Food & Travel Blogger and lifestyle blogger Burhanuddin. With that thing sorted, it was time to head to the lawn & gorge on the food. Tata Motors had an interesting mix going out in this section too. Two highlights of this part were the caricature artists, and Biswa Kalyan Rath who made me laugh so much, I nearly forgot about food! Had a quick fill & called it a night thanks to the early wake-up call the next morning.
Thanks for stopping by.