This time an early morning message on the phone from Rahul was my intimation guide about the latest Indi meet. Although I had an early warning from Anoop after he read my thank you Indi post but simply put I could not decipher it. The day being Wednesday, everybody got into applying for leaves. Do I miss this event??? Not until now. Haven`t missed a single one in Delhi in the past year. All 12 attended, this was the 13th. The venue was different this time – Pragati Maidan. On the day, I got down at the metro station and started my walk towards gate no. 8 (the nearest one) under the assumption that I can find the hall no. 7. So wrong…there was just no entry.. I kept walking and walking in my own version of the Dandi March. In between I was acting as the Google navigation for Dipali, Alok ji, Yogesh bhai, Priyanka Dey. Everyone was asking me on the phone which gate to enter and I was clueless. Just near the National Stadium when I was about to return and ask the policeman near entry 4 the way to entry for hall no. 7, I saw Aditya coming up. You cant imagine the relief a known face brings up at times like these.. Forget all gates, our entry was gate no. 1. I was dead tired in this heat walking all the way from the metro station. The people used to say , “ पास में ही है ” and I was thinking, “ इस पास पास के चक्कर में कहीं मैं दुनिया से ही पार न हो जाऊँ ”. I was dripping in sweat just like I had taken a dip under a waterfall. We saw Nihal at the entrance and then collected our visitor pass tags and thankfully there were shuttle buses available to take to the hall.
Reaching at the venue hall , there was a long line of people for registrations. Took a few minutes to realize that it was a proper launch event where Indi was also a guest here. The people from Asus, media persons, Indi and even other invites. It really looked people in excess of 400. Entering after the registration it was tough to see inside the hall, too blue light and it took me time to adjust to the surroundings. While I got my breath back, knew that the place was not too condusive for point and shoot cameras.
A dance performance started which was good and then came the host..no it was not Anoop but Rashmi Nigam. Yes she was beautiful but we were so used to see either Nihal or Anoop host events that it seemed a bit different.. plus she spoke little and shouted more.
|Rashmi nigam was glowing in a glittering dress|
The graphics and animation of Asus seemed like Transformers 5 and indeed the sound effects were the same. I was tweeting to indi to come and take charge asap. In short me and Dipali made life tough for them. Then came the CEO of Asus Mr. Jerry Shen who talked about the company and the Zenphone – its features etc. and then he declared the sales open of the Zenphone in 3 price ranges – Zenphone 4 for 6000, 5 for 10000 and 6 for 17000. The media went crazy for the pics and the tech bloggers too got excited. I get excited only when its an exclusive launch event, when it’s a mix of blogging and phone launch rest be assured that I can forget all about phone.
This time we had a surprise surprise – a celeb. So in came Arjun Kapoor and Dipali sitting besides me went absolutely crazy and bonkers. In full swayamvar mood. She was like all wow, wow, wow. A few more technical people from Asus came and began explaining the tech features and I got busy on twitter with my tweets. After the launch he went away and we all broke for lunch. Vineet got hold of me and told me to relax as the blogging part was yet to start and to go easy on the tweets asking for Indi team. The lunch place was the area where I met all the lot at ease – Alok ji, Our very own Dr. Manoj and family, Tikku ji., the Khandujas, Arsh etc. Be it breaking the line for food or dessert it was really fun. After the food came the demo area for the phones where we just clicked pics. Who cared about the phone? Not me.
|The group selfie- a norm with us now|
As with all the recent meets and a regular feature now with us there was another group selfie with a min. of 8 people here. After that it was pure craziness with all which I cant define. Only Alok and Poonam vats are the witnesses to what happened there. Back to what we do best the Indi team took over now.
Karthik came as a fitness trainer and asked us to do moves which only he could do on stage and we couldn`t try in the small space we had. The number game started and dipali got to choose between truth and dare. She got the dare to give her intro in Hindi which was easy. Next was a guy who had to talk in 2 different accents for 30 secs. as a part of a conversation, finding your way back to your seat blindfolded, another no. choosing went for a Zen like pose.
|Karthik- the fitness trainer|
|Away the t shirts gooooo|
A few people were called up on stage and then they were made to throw some t shirts in the crowd ( damn bad one T shirt went diagonal to my outstretched hand), the throwers were favourable to either the left side or straight. Now the ones who had caught the t shirts were called on stage and made to dance and surprise surprise..Arjun Kapoor is here again and all those winners on stage have a selfie with him and 2 things happen- Dipali goes crazy ( again), I curse beneath my breath at having missed the catch although I am no Jonty Rhodes, but as with my luck at Indi meets I don’t know which way it would turn. The technical team of Asus comes up again on stage one by one and simply me and Dipali, Ankit get into fun making mode so much that Manjulika who was sitting infront of us had to hush us to be quiet. मगर हम कहाँ मानने वाले थे ??
|Testing the camera|
They call up others to test the camera quality of the Zenphone vs some other phones. After this techno jargon goes on for sometime and when it finally ends, it’s a drink break. Just before it started, Rashmi gave an invitation to people to have a selfie with her. Not to mention that this time the bar was empty and you can easily imagine where would be the crowd.. now who lets go of a beautiful chance? The Asus people were looking for the sale figure of 2.5 mn handsets, had they given one each to every person sitting there, it could have easily taken care of 500 handsets there and then.
|The musical band|
After the drinks break it was some music by a Mumbai band. Just don’t ask me how it was. Only the Guitar player out of the 3 was playing well, rest two on the console and the tabla were playing less and grooving more to the remix music. In between I had to bear some sarcastic remarks by Prachi and Priyanka dey. Its tough. For a welcome change, Indi put the floor open and we really did discuss that how Blogging / Indi has changed the way lives have changed of bloggers or how has their writing style changed. I wanted to speak but I refrain knowing that I wont be able to put my story in words and would get emotional. My lost catch redeemed itself in a very strange way. There was a twitter contest which has asked bloggers to name the things which can be very well seen in the dark and my tweet won the 2nd runners up prize for being the wrong answer. Surprised?? Even I was that how can it be wrong…maybe it was interpreted in a different way.
The tweet simply meant that a person can see the way to his room very clearly in the dark when he is returning home late and is drunk so that the family members don’t come to know. So Anoop which way did you understand that?? Wrong or right but what the heck.. I won. At the last meet I had narrowly missed out on a voucher and this time it was redemption – a backpack. Prayag got the phone though. Dipali too had won a backpack for her intro. After a few more mins it was group photo and tata. A few of us stayed back to get some individual pics clicked and I had an individual agenda of my own- I needed a pic with the whole Indi team. It was my payback I was looking forward to. After bidding adieu to my friends and almost instructing Alok ji to take care of Poonam ji ( she had high fever and yet she was there), me and Dipali witnessed what we had not seen before.
|Packing up after being mobbed|
After collecting our Indi T shirts we witnessed utter chaos coz we were the last ones to take them. The media persons (what media persons if you ask me, looked like some 70 + old clerks in govt offices with a camera), sweepers , waiters etc also lining up to take / snatch their Indi t shirts. It was not theirs and neither they were entitled but भारत में फ्री का माल कौन छोड़ता है ? Swati, Vineet , Nihal and the others were virtually mobbed for t shirts. Only me and Dipali were there with them. No bloody management person from Pragati maidan / ITPO was there to oversee the worker staff. It was a event which got over now why the hell should Indi give T shirts and stuff? Salary नहीं मिलती क्या ? The team was close to being mobbed so Vineet had to quickly put the remaining stuff in a sack and made a headway to a safe spot. That time me and dipali were thinking reinforcements but unfortunately there were no one left. When things got a bit under control, I got my most treasured pic – A group pic with the whole Indi team.
|My most memorable pic|
So this was the latest meet where Anoop had a bit different fact to state about me to all ... " So here is Shwetabh who has been to all 13 meets, he complains, but still comes". Later on I told Nihal the reason for the same and he must have understood that. Nihal and I had a little chat with regard to Indi and then I was off lost in memories… the 13th in a row.
Indiblogger : A phone launch, some memorable moments and utter chaos #IncredibleZen Reviewed by Shwetabh Mathur on 1:43:00 PM Rating: