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Friday, May 08, 2015

Indiblogger #FollowtheGenx Tata Nano Easy Shift drive in Pune!

Update: This post has won "Best blog post" title from Indiblogger for the event. Thanks Shubam for informing.
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I don’t have a great history of winning online contests. I am neither good at creating fake hype through creatively planted tweets/updates, nor I have inclination promote the brands day in and day out in order to garner lots of votes and hope a win. So most of the online contests I usually skip.

Last week got an indiblogger mail about the Tata Nano Genx meet and drive. Being a close follower of Tata Nano’s evolution since 2010, I was very keen to attend this. But this was in Pune and last minute flight ticket costs in the range of INR 10000, which is not easy to justify spending. Then I noticed that there is a twitter contest where I had to write about what defines GenX and stand a chance to win tickets to the event. 

Almost instantly I put a tweet and then got busy with other things. But with few days to go, I got confirmation from Indiblogger that I am one of the winner through twitter (Anaamika from Kanpur is the other winner). Luckily I had made no prior plans for the long weekend. They sent me the ticket and I reached Pune on Saturday evening, after a stint in Mercs in the morning.
Bloggers participating in the drive
I was probably the first participant to arrive at Lake House campus of Tata motors- it is a beautiful facility adjacent to a lake filled with birds, Tall trees, fountains and cool breeze that can mesmerize visitors instantly. A set of 8 shining Sangria red Nana Nano AMTs welcomed me, parked at the corner and waiting to be driven. Keys were hanging from the door and it was very tempting to take off right there, without waiting for all the stupid formalities, but I controlled my urge and went about exploring the campus a bit, had some chat with Tata motors and indiblogger staff Vinit and others at the venue. 
Met a few bloggers from Pune-Nikhil from Technary,  Saurabh and Pragti. A little later bloggers from Mumbai arrived, around 20 of them. It was 11 AM by the time briefing session started. We got a presentation from Tata Motors (Sachin) on the key enhancements made in the new Nano- the new front look, about the automatic transmission, colour options, boot space, interiors and other the increased fuel tank size (I’ve detailed these features in my detailed review of the Nano). It is interesting to know continuous effort and investments by Tata Motors to keep improving the Nano each time. Compared to 2010 version, current gen Nano is way ahead. Next we were told about the drive by Debanjan, which will take us around the city and outskirts, a lunch break at Mezza9, a visit to Tata Motors showroom and then back to lake house campus.

Mumbai team arrives

Any Indiblogger event ensures participants get lots of goodies. This one being very exclusive, we all were given a powerbank and a selfie stick with remote, for use during the drive. We collected the goodies, signed the indemnity bond (relieving Tata Motors and Indiblogger of any liability in case of accidents) and were set to take off. As there were 8 cars and around 24 participants, teams of 3-4 people are made. My team consisted of Magali whom I had met in Coimbatore early this year, Divsi Gupta and Neha Sharma. We were assigned car F.

While myself and Neha were eager to drive, Magali and Divsi opted to relax at the back. After a quick trial run to familiarize ourselves with the cars, we were flagged off.

We drove from Lake House to Hinjewadi area. Neha took the wheels initially. As we started, challenges for us started pouring in from twitterati. Excited followers posted a wide range of challenges- some of them which were practical and feasible we took up- such as making a video of us dancing in-front of the car, taking a selfie in the mirror, banging heads in the rear seat and so on. As we had to drive in a convoy and didn’t have the liberty to divert too much or do things as we please, certain challenges couldn’t be entertained (Example: Brake hard from 60kmph). Indiblogger team monitored the challenges and qualified good ones which were practical and could be tried. If it was me alone, I would have probably ignored all the challenges and simply indulged in driving, but the girls in the team were very creative and enthusiastic about the challenges, so we managed to complete a good number of them. I put in some simple dance steps on public road in front of the car, posed for a selfie with crazy face and so on. It was fun.
Above: Executing challenges assigned by twitter followers... Archana Kapoor and co dancing in public in front of Nano
Below: Neha making full use of selfie stick and remote

Above: Who's got the longest selfie stick? My arm vs selfie stick
Below: Me clicking myself in the mirror for one of the challenges...

I took to the wheels little later. Easy shift is literally easy to shift. No side-ward movement needed like in competition AMTs, engine response is very good for city usage, electrically powered assisted steering (ePAS) makes turns fun at the fingertip, console is pretty informative with dual trip meter, distance to empty and instantaneous fuel economy. I tried both manual and auto modes, drove in varying speeds and city/highway conditions. The Nano didn't give any reason to complain. Read my detailed review of the Nano)

We had couple of pit stops around Hinjewadi for photo session, including the big TCS office and reached Mezza9 for lunch. I finished lunch early, came out and did my own photoshoot. Below are some photos I clicked during the lunch break.


Owing to time constraints, visit to Tata Motors was called off. Of late Tatas have put lot of effort to revamp the customer experience at the showroom- the look and feel, training for the staff and many other improvements have been made, which you can experience by simply walking into any of their showrooms.

The last bit involves driving in a test track specially made for Nano. Short one but with sharp turns was designed to help us understand easy maneuverability in the Nano. Nano has shortest turning radius and it makes turning easy. With ePAS, steering can be rotated with fingertips. Active return eliminates need to rotate the wheel in opposite direction. I had good timing driving on this track, I went for second round after everyone else were done.(watch the video)

After that we drove back to Lake House and got off the car. The drive was over.

In the evening we had a surprise- Varun Venkit from Taal INC played drums for us and after than an even more surprising thing happened. We were asked to take seat in a circular fashion with a drum each infront of us. He taught us simple beats and made us play nice sequences and dual. Beating drums in decent synchronization (if not perfect sync) in large group of first timers is indeed an achievement. This was a fun filled session to end the day, which everyone enjoyed to the max. Beating drums never seemed so simple and exciting.
We collected our gifts, bid goodbye to each other. Mumbai team returned home in their bus while rest of us left for airport with sweet memories to cherish for. Thank you Tata Motors and Indiblogger, thanks Magali, Neha and Divsi for the great company. Great effort put in by Indiblogger team, with Vinit, Swati and others to make the event a grand success.

Watch this 5 min video that I made, which effectively summarizes our day last Sunday at Indiblogger Tata Motors GenX Nano easy shift drive in Pune.

6 comments :

Sonal said...

Wow, must be one of the best Indiblogger events...

divsi said...

Superbly written Shrini! :) excellent and detailed coverage! Was so much fun being a part of this team:)

Nisha said...

Congrats. Saw that you guys had lots of fun.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Sonal: Yes it probably was.

@Divsi: Thank you.

@Nisha: yes we did..

Shubham said...

Congrats for the best post award :)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Shubham. I wasn't aware of it.. Learnt it only through your comment...