Friday, 14 September 2012

Vodafone Speedfest with IndiBlogger and Lewis Hamilton


"Are you the fastest IndiBlogger?" they asked.
"Here it is" I said.

Wait, that didn't make much sense right? Well I was supposed to write a post being asked as above. I'm expected to be hilarious and at the same time the fastest too for getting a chance to not only meet Lewis Hamilton but also get a ride with him this Sunday. Since he will be the one who is driving and if I'm lucky will get to ride with him in his MP4-27 F1 "car", I wonder if I can sip a bit of vodka while at it.
If I were them I would name it "Vodka with Indiblogger and Lewis Hamilton" which is just so me because that is precisely what I would have done! Vodka Speedfest sounds so much cool right? But hey I love Vodafone, (considering that is the carrier I have used for the longest in my life) and I'm not gonna mention the other side of story just because I want to sound nice you see. (the dark side is ever tempting)

Coming back to vodka I think that should be sponsored too. Is Grey Goose still around?
 I'm in no way advocating drinking and driving with what I said, in fact this came to my head:

"Eat well if you love God (and yourself). Drink and Drive if you want to meet him"

Alright I totally made that up inspired by the Jesus memes which is a internet sensation these days among countless others. But note to self: Eating while driving doesn't seem to a constrain (as long as you have eyes on the road) though.

Coming back to answering the question- why should I be the lucky IndiBlogger to go on a lap with Lewis Hamilton? That's because I love speed and putting my head out like a dog and experiencing the sheer joy of it (and yelling some random stuff at the same time)

This reminds me of this very scene from one of my all time most favourite movies The Dark Knight:

"I'm like a dog chasing a car, I wouldn't know what to do if I catch one!"

So looking at me, that would make another epic scene right? Me instead of the joker (I have the right kind of 'rainforest' hair and look too!), and instead of a police car which one sees quiet often (more precisely jeeps here), in a cool car with the man of the would be hour Lewis Hamilton driving it!

If that is not convincing enough, at least I didn't go for the mainstream response "I'm such a huge fan I should be the chosen one!" like everybody does, so that should pave me the way shouldn't it?
Heck I was the first person (ok technically second, if you consider Vineet the organizer too) to register for the event which you can see here and the first person to submit (this) entry.
It helps since I'm a hardcore gamer so I'm pretty 'fast' too.

Disclaimer: All this was written within some minutes after I first received the email (sent to me 0 minutes ago at the time of seeing it, right when I logged in. I always had a knack for right timing you see) So this should be a small example of my instant thinking or more precisely instant writing as this is purely instinct not thoughts.

So that is why I'm your man! See you guys at the meet!


Part 1: The Day - The IndiMeet

So finally the day had come. Despite some problems, especially the rains managed to reach Hotel Grand Hyatt, in Kalina, Santacruz East, Mumbai. While going I passed by University of Mumbai which gave me a hiccup which was just some 5 min away before my destination for the first half of the day. Managed to reach first and loiter around the place, met my buddies from the IndiTeam, friends and familiar faces.

So before the meet begun, spent time catching up with fellow IndiBloggers, and meeting new people at times. Everyone were busy indulding themselves in conversations, tea and taking pics especially of this beauty outside.

There were others who were trying out the feeling of being an F1 driver in a hot seat and 3 multiscreen arcade setup by Vodafone. Before the meet and during lunch for the less appetites I should say.

 When not clicking, he drives- The Magic Eye Deepak being a virtual F1 driver for a moment

crowd slowly settling in

Finally after the wait, the meet began with Karthik welcoming the crowd who was the host for the day. I was privileged to sit (in front, I'm an early bird remember? haha!) with the one and only the beggar poet of Mumbai, Firoze Shakir and the amazing Deepak with the magic eye. (Majority of the pics of me and overall are taken by these two and they are dam awesome! Real pros here no messing around)
Thus came what I was (actually) looking forward to the most - the IndiWelcome!

Hell yeah!

IndiBlogger meets cannot be without such a awesome meeting of amazing folks

So with the signature power pack start and  after everyone got seated, announcements were made about the day's dynamic agenda and regarding the giveaway and of Lewis Hamilton of course who was the to be star of the show. There were people of whom were new faces, many who were F1/Hamilton fans who couldn't miss this opportunity so joined the club (and I hope they stick around! welcome to the wonderful blogsphere!) and relatively old timers of course. It began with goodies for different people of various criteria. Vodafone keychain/USBs were for grabs. There were people from Pune, Ahemdabad, Bangalore and from as far as Nainital and Kerala. WOW! All these fellas got the USBs while the folks who came from Navi Mumbai asking whether they can nab them too haha. With it came my 5 seconds of glory (something is good right?) I got honored with one for being the first one to register for the meet. :D

All the folks who wrote a post for the contest (see above) got one too (making my count to 2, and total nabbed 3 by the end of the day!)

For the first time there were 2 IndiBlogger meets happening on both the sides of the planet, one which we were a part of in Mumbai and the other in New York, hosted by Vikas Khanna who hosted the previous meet with one of the IndiHeads Anoop Johnson. I (and Firoze too) missed him, we became fast good friends and he was my alien-brother (remember?) But dam I did tell him to next time sponsor my flight ticket too when I spoke to him some days before the meet(s).
We guys made a small video for the Indifolks there, greetings to NY from Mumbai which you can watch on facebook here.

The online marketing manger Mr. Shasi came in to greet all of us and said how Vodafone was trying to make this event work out since the past 4 months and finally it is happening. Told us to enjoy ourselves and have a great time and entertained questions, "constructive criticism" and feedbacl (we kinda figured how it would go) But it was cool and nice of him to join in. Afterall this would have not been possible without Vodafone India. Thank you to them.

It was time for bloggers' 30 seconds of fame. Randomly selected participants name pops up on screen are given 30 seconds (well give or take, latter in which one can "go to jail") with the most interesting and funny ones get the same goodies. It lasted for quiet while, was interesting to hear from different people, what they do and blog about. I must say we had many fashion bloggers in the house. Also amazed by the fact there were many of my engineer/engineering brethren too. One even scored because he was one in the first place, well all the rest jumped up too after him but with no luck unfortunately :P (in case you are wondering, no my name didn't pop up, how sad right? no love for me)

After a good time hearing from many people, and some scoring stuff for their innovative/hilarious introductions, and secretly stomach craving for food, it was time for lunch. Hooray! :D
Well the secret didn't last long with many (including me, sort of) were looking forward to the food :D
Awesome food, dug in the chicken and paneer. Yum. Not to mention the huge assortment of dessert. I'm hungry again just thinking about it. Just had one thing which bothered me and quiet many- the dam plates were dam heavy, not to mention already being heavy with the food on it. I had to switch my hands thrice while eating, this was the first time I did something like that, and both my arms were aching just because of holding the "heavy" plate. I mean seriously that was ridiculous.

Great food friend of all

After filling up my tummy with the splendid food and desert, it was time for some more interaction and a contest. Everyone were given sketch pens and a banner, and the task was to meet fellow bloggers and get your banner signed. Initially the goal was to get 20+ comments/signs and guess who did it first? Yours truly :D
After getting my 3rd, I was debarred from future contests (for winning too much?) :P
The bar was raised higher to 30+ and eventually to 50+
The hall was filled with people going/running around talking, writing, signing, meeting each other. That was the whole point of the exercise, to meet, befriend and interact with more fellow bloggers.

The poet at his work

Thats me with 50+ both sides filled. (Thanks a lot for your comment Addy) But hey where are all of you folks now? forgot me already?

After a exciting and tiring time of soul searching, the time had come for the most awaited moment of the day - Lewis Hamilton who had entered with his crew of bodyguards, media and others. He got the IndiWelcome "HO HO!" and was very happy with it and us. It was funny to see how such a 'civilized sophisticated' crowd (check - bloggers) turned into a hoard of a hungry mob for a moment :P

He entertained questions from the fans and some which were tweeted earlier. It was a short meeting (dam flight delays and other bull crap!) but the time spend was awesome. He was cool, and spoke casually to all of us. Still wish we got more time though but worth it!

If you remember by now there was a contest where one lucky blogger would be dam lucky to sit with Lewis for a hot lap during the Vodafone SpeedFest, and it was.. not me unfortunately. :P
The winner was Wafa who came from Pune, a F1 fanatic who well deserved it for a dedication. (well otherwise seeing all other factors I could have but yeah I wasn't a big fan anyways so as I always tell myself next time.)

The lucky new IndiBlogger winner with Lewis Hamilton (gosh she almost started crying when I congratulated her. Was it my hair? Nah)

So with that Part 1 of the day ended with them leaving. All of us got our tees and VIP Passes for the SpeedFest scheduled later in the evening at Bandra-Kurla Complex.
So for many of us who came didn't have our own means of transport, 2 buses were arranged for us through which we headed for the venue. After a bus ride, walking, searching and more walking (with a bit of fear as soon entire crowd following us and didn't want to get kicked if headed towards any wrong way) luckily we reached our designated place which was near the starting position.

Part 2: The Road of Mumbai on Fire

After we reached the stands, receiving some stuff viz pamphlets, earbuds (that so came in handy) and plastic "raincoats" just in case if it rains. Mumbai after all. We were among the early ones to arrive, and were settling in. I set out to have a view of the place and enquire for stuff like water, after a 10 minutes of loitering around or so, my mobile fell down breaking into 3 pieces (don't worry its not a 'smartphone' an old faithful nokia 'dabba' you might call it) As I picked it up, I got a mini heart attack when I realized my already hopeless camera fell out of my pocket somewhere on the way. But thankfully that lasted only for about 5 minutes as 2 girls saw me searching and called me out with one of them showing it. I was relived seriously (despite also being a 'dabba') they apologized for turning it on and looking it into some of the pictures to verify whose was it, thats how they recognized me from far. (yeah say what you will I'm not gonna shave/cut my hair ever, another instance of why it helps me more than people's advice) Though this was not worth mentioning, I did felt morally obliged to do so, so whoever you were random citizens/Mumbaikars I love you.

So after a very dam long wait, slowly as day turned to dusk, after the crowd was too much to bear from hardly anyone, began 'something' finally. The show began with a mini-parade which was fun.

After which that happened which didn't happened since morning when I left. Yes, welcome back Mumbai Rains. Those cheap plastic bags in the name of rain coats given did prove useful. Thankfully the small shower ending soon, which pretty much made the roads (and people possibly) wet, with some (horrific) jokes being cracked on like "Ye lo barish ayi, vo kahenge saale lap cancel" (thanks to the rains now those buggers will say the event is canclled) But truly it was sort of perfect, as if the Mumbai Gods themselves gave a welcome to Lewis Hamilton and all of us gathered!
What was the most anticipated event of the day was mere moments away with the countdown (and ongoing annoyance by those 2 radio jockeys) and the sound of the engine (those earbuds did come in handy oh boy) which was perhaps music to F1 fanatics and car lovers, witnessed something which never before ups so close...

Yes he drove by this close! Amazing

It was phenomenal. He did 4 laps with donuts by fan demand and burnouts, set the road on fire (yes we could smell the burning rubber) After an incredible 10 minutes or so (alas so short) he took the lucky winners (including IndiBlogger Wafa who got to ride shotgun for being the lady, not only to the envy of her entrie social circle but I guess to the other "lucky" winners as well) and then went on for another spin for us on the road on his McLaren F1 car. It was seriously awesome!

Instead of a thousand more pics of him riding and burning the road, here is a neat edited video by Mahafreed of the laps + a funny moment with Lewis at the hotel during the meet.

So in all another very successful meet thanks to IndiBlogger, Vodafone for the opportunity and all fellow bloggers for making it another memorable day.
All amazing pics by Firoze Shakir, Deepak's Magic Eye, BlogwatiG, and IndiBloggers. And Myself.

Looking forward to next time!



Deepak Amembal said...

:) Well documented! Kept me smiling all through!

Devashri said...

Hey Aditya, superb post! Actully, I missed the same Indi meet, but after reading urs post, I felt like I was there enjoying with all u guys n gals :)

Aditya Iyer said...

thank you sir :)

Fatima said...

Nicely done...reminded me of the day yet again :)

Take Care

Akshay Iyer said...

Well done Aditya! Made me relieve the experience. :)

Aditya Iyer said...

thank you! you too!

Firoze Shakir said...

Fabulous.. a documantary that includes the supersonic speed and sounds of Lewis Hamiltons racer care thanks very much Aditya ,,,you are blessing and a disguise

Aditya Iyer said...

thank you for the kind words

Mahafreed said...

wow! That's a nice, long and detailed post. Thanks for embedding my video! :)

Aditya Iyer said...

thank you for the kind words and for your video :)

Corinne Rodrigues said...

I chose not to come for this, Adi. However, reading your account made me feel like I was there! Fab. :)

Aditya Iyer said...

thanks :)

Dr Roshan R said...

totally jealous :) looks like it was an awesome awesome event !!